Food

Pair Steakhouse Classics With Build-Your-Own Martinis at the Wharf’s Newest Restaurant

Mi Vida chef Roberto Santibañez opens The Grill.

A pork chop is cooked on charcoal and pecan wood. Photo by Rey Lopez.

Dining at the Wharf is akin to exploring the international pavilions at Epcot; Along a single strip, you can taste Korean, Thai, and Filipino cuisine at Kaliwa, Afro-Caribbean dishes at Kith and Kin, and Italian trattoria specials at Officina. But amazingly, the waterfront lacks the one kind of spot you can find all over DC: the steakhouse. Now Mi Vida chef Roberto Santibañez and restaurant group Knead Hospitality + Design are helping bring charcoal-grilled steaks and build-your-own martinis to the Grill, currently open at the Wharf.

Palm motifs bring Miami to the Wharf. Photo by Rey Lopez.
Palm motifs bring Miami to the Wharf. Photo by Rey Lopez.

DC has been shaking off its steakhouse reputation, but the Grill leans into it with charred filet mignon and bone-in tomahawk steak. Cooked on a Josper grill imported from Spain, meat and fish can be ordered with classic sides like creamed spinach and twice-baked potatoes. The menu also features seafood dishes like oysters Rockefeller and crab cakes.

Shrimp scampi is made with orzo for a risotto texture. Photo by Rey Lopez.
Shrimp scampi is made with orzo for a risotto texture. Photo by Rey Lopez.

Santibañez wants dishes to be instantly recognizable—”simple food, but just a little drama,” he says. Shrimp scampi gets a risotto-esque makeover with creamy orzo and a tomato-based sauce Santibañez uses in his fideos secos. Mac and cheese has the nostalgic orange glow of Kraft, but imbues a smoky flavor thanks to pimentón. 

Keeping in the steakhouse spirit, martinis are the drink of choice at the Grill. You can order the restaurant’s signature martini with olive bitters and extra-dry vermouth, or build your own. Select the base spirit from a list of vodkas and more than 100 types of gin, before choosing styles like “filthy” or “up.”

The Cosmo Blanc remixes the classic Cosmo. Photo by Rey Lopez.
The Cosmo Blanc remixes the classic Cosmo. Photo by Rey Lopez.

If martinis aren’t your thing, bartenders remix classic cocktails like the vesper and Manhattan, as well as zero-proof cocktails. The restaurant’s aesthetic is pure South Florida—palm motifs, a wraparound porch, and touches of Miami Vice pink — but many of the 200 bottles of wines focus on California varietals.

The restaurant plans to offer lunch and brunch in the future.

The Grill. 99 Market Sq., SW. Open Monday through Thursday 4 PM to 11 PM, Friday through Saturday 4 PM to 12 AM, Sunday 4 PM to 10 PM. 

 

 

 

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Daniella Byck

Daniella joined Washingtonian in August 2018. She is a University of Wisconsin-Madison grad and lives in Logan Circle.