A Prix Fixe Steakhouse Will Replace Stable, DC’s Only Swiss Restaurant

The H Street fondue spot was just too wintry for this world.

Steak Frites DC will serve entrecôte steak, fries, homemade bread, and salad. Photograph courtesy of Steak Frites DC.

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Steak Frites DC, 1324 H St., NE. 

Switzerland isn’t all wintry snowscapes and fireside après-ski fondue sessions. In the summer, Alpine resorts become verdant hiking destinations, and their restaurants either shutter for the season, or switch from fondue and raclette to Aperol spritzes and other warm-weather fare.  

But on H Street, Northeast, it can be hard to recreate that vibe. The owners of the seven-year-old Swiss restaurant Stable have discovered that when DC diners hear “Swiss,” they think of wintertime food. And as many H Street restaurants have closed their doors—and the cold, cozy season has been shorter—Stable has suffered. 

“We’ve established ourselves so much as this après-ski winter chalet, hot-pots-of-cheese kind of restaurant,” says Silvan Kraemer, Stable’s general manager. “It kind of bites us in the ass once it gets hot outside.” 

Now, Kraemer and executive chef David Fritsche are switching gears. Stable closed last week. In its place they’ll open Steak Frites DC, a Swiss-inspired steakhouse, on Thursday, April 18. 

It’s a complete rebranding: Kraemer and Fritsche will keep all of their staff, but will pare down almost everything else. No more Swiss comfort foods like raclette, fondue, and Stable’s signature rösti with Alto Adige speck. Steak Frites DC will instead focus on a simple, Medium Rare-esque prix fixe: homemade bread and butter, a seasonal green salad, then a 10-ounce entrecôte steak, served over a slathering of herb butter, with shoestring fries. 

That meal will go for $36.95, but there will be a la carte options too: appetizers like poached shrimp cocktail and chicken-liver paté, and mains like a burger and asparagus risotto. Steak Frites DC will continue Stable’s brunch service, with simpler, steak-ier options. Cocktails, which range from $13 to $16, will include a range of martini variations. 

Chef David Fritsche and general manager Silvan Kraemer are rebranding their seven-year-old Swiss restaurant, Stable. Photograph courtesy of Stable.

DC hasn’t lost its only Swiss restaurant: Steak Frites DC is still—Kraemer and Fritsche say—inspired by the cooking of their home country. One restaurant in particular inspired Steak Frites DC: Geneva’s Cafe de Paris, a century-old institution where entrecôtes are served over a house herb butter that slowly melts into a sauce as you eat. 

DC’s high prices, the pandemic, and crime in certain commercial areas like H Street have contributed to many restaurant closures in the past few years. Sometimes niche, unique eateries take the hit first, rather than crowd-pleasers with obvious, year-round appeal. 

With Steak Frites DC, Kraemer and Fritsche want to adapt, rather than succumb to that phenomenon. Though they hint at possibly reopening Stable as a winter-only concept in the future, they think the steakhouse will be a better bet. 

“Switzerland is still embedded in our hearts, but we just feel this is something people know better,” Kraemer says. “It helps us with labor costs, with food costs over the summer months. It’s easy, it’s approachable.”

Ike Allen
Assistant Editor