100 Best Restaurants 2010: Charlie Palmer Steak
No. 23: Charlie Palmer Steak
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Cynthia Hacinli, Ann Limpert, Kate Nerenberg, Rina Rapuano
Comments () | Published January 1, 2010
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Charlie Palmer Steak
Address: 101 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-547-8100
Neighborhood: Capitol Hill
Cuisines: Steaks, Modern, American
Opening Hours: Open Monday through Friday 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM and 5:30 to 10 PM, and Saturday 5 to 10:30 PM. Closed Sunday.
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Nearby Metro Stops: Union Station, Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter
Price Range: Very expensive
Noise Level: Intimate
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Foie gras; Kona kampachi; head-on prawns; rack of lamb; porterhouse for two; Alaskan halibut with crab-and-asparagus risotto; side dishes of Parmesan gnocchi and potato purée; a tasting of six sorbets and frozen custards; a trio of crèmes brûlées.
Price Details: Lunch appetizers, $11 to $21; entrees, $13 to $41. Dinner appetizers, $8 to $58; entrees, $23 to $68.
Special Features:
Wheelchair Accessible, Valet Parking Available

Cuisine: Charlie Palmer was the first of the celebrity chefs to come to DC with the idea of reinventing the steakhouse, and his Capitol Hill restaurant, with its winning blend of convention (big portions, big flavors) and innovation (modern accents such as fava-bean purée), created the template for the expensive experiments that have followed—BLT Steak, Bourbon Steak, J&G Steakhouse.

Mood: There’s nothing dark or clubby about the high-ceilinged space, which dispenses with conventional steakhouse trappings. From the pools of water lined with stones and the warm tones of blue and brown, this might be an upmarket sushi bar. Despite its proximity to—and views of—the Capitol and a regular clientele of power players, it offers a relaxed dining experience.

Best for: Wining and dining clients; dinner for out-of-town guests who like to geek out watching Meet the Press.

Best dishes: A buttery duo of foie gras; coriander-crusted Kona kampachi; head-on prawns; roasted rack of lamb; porterhouse for two; Alaskan halibut with crab-and-asparagus risotto; side dishes of Parmesan gnocchi and potato purée; a tasting of six sorbets and frozen custards; a trio of crèmes brûlées, including a knockout espresso version with cinnamon foam.

Insider tips: There’s free corkage for up to two bottles of American wine—the restaurant stocks only American wines, with at least one from each state. The sommelier might offer to bring your wine to the proper temperature, compliment you on it while pouring, and expertly steer you toward other excellent choices from the list.

Service: •••½

Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner. Very expensive.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 01/01/2010 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews