Capital Grille

Where DC players pow-wow over steaks and Cabernet.

Want to know how to separate the men from the boys? Check to see who’s got a private wine locker at this swaggering, Republican-friendly roost. The quality of the wines inside? Almost beside the point. Status is in the having.

The close proximity to the White House – a short, ten-block walk away – means that some of the most influential people in the world can be found settling down to lunch in one of the sumptuously padded banquettes with a vodka martini. The machismo is palpable. Indeed, the place often seems more manly preserve than restaurant, with its stuffed animal heads, its dark wood and low lighting, and, not least, its show window of dry-aging beef. Power players (and wanna-be power players) feast on hefty slabs of sirloin, porterhouse, and the rib eye. Even the sides are meant to impress – the mound of Lyonnaise potatoes looks to have been swiped from a buffet table.

Finishing everything on your plate isn’t the point of coming here; most likely, you were brought here to be wowed. The size, the scale, the excess – they’re all part of the ongoing transaction.