Food

Charleston’s Oak Steakhouse Opens in Alexandria With a Bourbon Steak Alum at the Helm

The modern chophouse has more than just meat on the menu.

Oak Steakhouse opens in Alexandria (pictured: a small shellfish plateau). Photography by Rey Lopez courtesy of Oak Steakhouse

Washington used to be a steakhouse town, but it’s quickly becoming a not-quite-a-steakhouse town. At least according to the new breed of chophouses like St. Anselm that aim to stand out from the traditional meat-and-potatoes set with a diverse menu and unstuffy vibe. The newest: Oak Steakhouse, a dapper restaurant from Charleston’s Indigo Road Hospitality that opens today in Old Town, Alexandria.

“We’re a steakhouse but not a steakhouse,” says chef Joseph Conrad, a former sous chef at Bourbon Steak who also worked with the Mina Group on the west coast. “We’re like a St. Anselm—they have a lot of affordable stuff on the menu, they have a lot of stuff you don’t see on steakhouse menus. That’s how we’re rolling.”

The house burger with secret sauce, lettuce, tomato, American cheese, bacon, and grilled onions.

The 110-seat restaurant is the sixth Oak Steakhouse for the southern hospitality group, which also recently opened Japanese spot O-Ku near Union Market. Though a chain, each Oak location has a different seasonal menu and feel. Conrad has plenty for vegetarians and pescatarians, whether appetizers like corn agnolotti with smoked butter and chilies; salads such as fresh Hawaiian hearts of palm with avocado, grapefruit, crispy shallots, and nam prik (spicy Thai chili sauce); or entrees like bigeye tuna with grilled lemon and smoky eggplant puree. Guests can also order shellfish plateaus from a raw bar.

Grilled octopus with house-made merguez sausage, green harissa, fried chickpeas, preserved lemon, and smoked eggplant purée

Of course, there’s steak. Conrad and his team butcher Angus beef from Nebraska for cowboy ribeyes, New York strips, and filets. There’s also a selection of Kansas City dry-aged cuts. The meat is cooked simply on a hot grill and often basted with red wine compound butter. Guests can mix-and-match sauces, butters, and sides. (For something indulgent, try the baked-and-fried potato smothered in American cheese sauce, bacon, scallions, and pickled chilies.) Meat prices are on par with downtown chophouses (think $50-plus) though there’re more wallet-friendly finds among the entrees like a butcher’s steak frites with au poivre sauce for $26.

The restaurant, which also has a 36-seat outdoor patio, is open for dinner and will start lunch in the coming weeks. 

Oak Steakhouse. 901 North Saint Asaph St., Alexandria.

Check out the dinner menu:

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Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.