Food

100 Best Restaurants 2009: Charlie Palmer Steak

No. 41: Charlie Palmer Steak

Cuisine: Culinary titan Charlie Palmer espouses a brawny aesthetic—precious arrangements and portion control be damned. But this steakhouse, one of 11 restaurants in his empire, isn’t all dry-aged, salt-crusted slabs of beef and trays of shellfish on ice. Palmer and his protégé, chef Matt Hill, give equal time to tuna tartare, roast chicken, and other bistro-leaning dishes.

Mood: It’s hard to find a more majestic space to dine in, particularly at night—the glass along the front wall allows for glimpses of the glowing Capitol dome. And there’s prime people-watching, from politicos in the bar to fat cats springing for bottles of cellared Cabernets in the dining room.

Best for: An expense-account lunch or dinner.

Best dishes: Seared foie gras with apples; coriander-crusted Kona kampachi; fresh oysters on the half shell; bone-in, cowboy-cut rib eye; porterhouse for two; side dishes of Parmesan-tomato gnocchi, sautéed hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, and potato purée.

Insider tips: The lunch deal—three courses for $25—is among the best in town.

Service: •••

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

See all of 2009's 100 Best Restaurants

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.