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 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.
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: