Food

Which DC Steakhouse Power Scene Is Right for You?

If you’re seeking an attorney…

Photograph by Michael Williamson/Getty Images.

Head to: BLT Steak

The scene: Lawyers from nearby firms (O’Melveny & Myers, K&L Gates) crowd BLT—you’ll see partners feasting on $92 Wagyu rib eyes in the dining room and young associates packing the bar for happy-hour martinis. Any-one looking to court clients should ask for Michelle Obama’s booth: The restaurant is a haunt for the White House inner circle.

If you’re seeking an US Weekly-worthy sighting…

Photograph by Stacy Goldberg.

Head to: Bourbon Steak

The scene: The Georgetown Four Seasons is prime celeb-spotting territory—many Hollywood A-listers stay in the plush suites upstairs, and its Rihanna-playing lobby steakhouse is where they often dine. Tom Hanks, Justin Timberlake, and Denzel Washington have all eaten here. Merely famous-for-DC folks can be found breakfasting downstairs at the hotel’s other restaurant, Seasons.

If you’re seeking GOP bigwigs…

Head to: The Capital Grille

The scene: This Orlando-based chain’s downtown DC branch is known as the unofficial Republican cloakroom—where legislators and lobbyists hold court and summon wines from personalized liquor lockers. Red-meat aficionados don’t laud the steaks as the best in town, but there’s something to be said for a familiar crowd, a veteran waitstaff, and a quick commute from the Capitol.

If you’re seeking Veteran politicos (and a whole bunch of lobbyists)…

Photograph by Jay Westcott/Getty Images.

Head to: Charlie Palmer Steak

The scene: This quiet dining room sits in a lobbyist-heavy office building near the Capitol. Gone are the days when the two worlds met over $300 lunches, but the crowd is still heavy-hitting (Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi). As one lobbyist notes: “If I had an executive in town who would get off on running into someone from Meet the Press, I’d take them here.”

If you’re seeking administration insiders…

Head to: Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

The scene: The DC spinoff of Miami Beach’s Joe’s Stone Crab has been open less than two years, but its blocks-from-the-White-House location has helped it draw big names—plus plenty of lawyers and Mall tourists—from the start. In its first month, Michelle Obama had a girls’ night there and former Obama chef Sam Kass was Spotted at the bar. The President finally dined there later in the year.

If you’re seeking gray-templed journalists…

Head to: The Palm

The scene: Little has changed since the early days at this Dupont Circle institution, when Woodward and Bernstein penned notes for All the President’s Men in a back booth. Nowadays, there are still gratis notepads on every table and Bloomberg’s Al Hunt and CNN’s Wolf Blitzer—plus plenty of flacks—are common faces. “It’s like a club,” notes one regular. “It’s what makes the Washington steakhouse transcendent.”

And if you still can’t decide, check out the 10 best steakhouses in DC.

This article appears in our November 2015 issue of Washingtonian.

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