Washington has never been short on dark, wood-paneled steakhouses where power players broker deals over porterhouses and sides of creamed spinach. But in recent years, a glossier type of steakhouse has emerged—and each boasts a celebrity chef’s pedigree.
Manhattan-based chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten brings the latest offering. Today he’ll debut J&G Steakhouse in the just-opened W Washington, D.C. hotel. Like Bourbon Steak’s Michael Mina and BLT Steak’s Laurent Tourondel, Vongerichten has a number of different restaurants and concepts in his repertoire, which extends to Shanghai and Bora Bora. There’s already a J&G Steakhouse in Scottsdale, Arizona, and another will open this summer in Mexico City.
J&G’s main dining room is a 96-seat, beige-and-brown space accented by lipstick-red booths. Atop the 20-foot-high walls sits a silvery-gray ceiling mural whose circular images are meant to evoke the US Treasury, which is across the street, as well as cherry blossoms.
On the basement level, there’s a tiny, narrow wine bar. The long, windowless space feels more intimate—it has only 33 seats—and sexy than its buttoned-down counterpart upstairs. It’s equal parts modern (bright-orange barstools) and rustic (a 20-seat wooden communal table).
Philippe Reininger, a chef who has opened six restaurants for Vongerichten across the world, will oversee the menu; J&G won’t release it in full until July 16. In addition to the usual steaks (eight-ounce filet mignon, 10- and 16-ounce New York strips), there are dishes that speak more to Vongerechten’s light, Asian-influenced cooking style: a frisée-and-goat-cheese salad over pickled peaches and crystalized wasabi; barbecue lamb chops over potato purée with sweet peas; slowly cooked salmon over mashed potatoes with truffle vinaigrette; and crabcakes with Champagne mangoes and ginger-lime vinaigrette.
And forget creamed spinach: On the side are Champagne-fried onion rings.
J&G Steakhouse, W Washington, D.C., 515 15th St., NW; 202-661-2440; jgsteakhousewashingtondc.com. Open Monday through Friday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner. Reservations will be taken starting July 13; until then it’s walk-in only. The wine bar is open daily for lunch and dinner.