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First Look: Bond 45

A Tony Award-winning set designer created the look at Bond 45. Photograph by Chris Leaman.

Look out the windows of Bond 45 and you’ll see the neon lights of nearby restaurants. Were it not for that, you’d never know you were in National Harbor: Even though it’s new, this Italian-themed steakhouse feels as historic as the Times Square original it was modeled after. The dark, clubby interior, which looks like the backdrop for a scene in Citizen Kane, is the work of a Broadway designer. He has cloned the big-energy atmosphere of the Manhattan location with a glass-fronted meat locker, paintings in mismatched gold frames, and Art Deco light fixtures.

To get to the main dining room, you pass an antipasto bar with no fewer than 20 choices, among them a bubbling eggplant Parmesan, creamy house-made burrata, and broccoli rabe with raisins. The menu claims that the selection of New York steaks is “the best beef in the world”—a little hyperbole, but the meat is satisfying enough. Better is the dish described as “a lot of shrimp scampi,” its star ingredient splashed with a knockout lemon/white-wine sauce over white beans and pancetta.

There’s no reprieve from excess at dessert—from hulking portions of chocolate-covered panettone to puffed-up profiteroles to chocolate mousse with crème fraîche doled out from a pair of bronze buckets. Best of all is a softball-size scoop of ice milk covered in slivered almonds and dotted with candied orange peel—as over the top as the surroundings.

Bond 45, 149 Waterfront St., National Harbor; 301-839-1445. Open daily for dinner. Starters $6 to $22, entrées $19 to $52.

This article appeared in the April, 2010 issue of The Washingtonian. 

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