Annie's Paramount Steak House

American
$$$$ ($25-$34)
Annie's Paramount is a no-apologies steak restaurant.
Mon 10 am-11 pm
Tue-Wed 10 am-midnight
Thu 10 am-1 am
Fri-Sun 24 Hours
(Dupont Circle)
Dupont Circle (Red Line)
202-232-0395
76 decibels (Must speak with raised voice)
'

Editorial Review

2010 Spring Dining Guide

By Tom Sietsema
Sunday, May 23, 2010

This long-running gay mecca in Dupont Circle took a turn for the chic when it upgraded its interior two years ago, trading in aged wood and tile elements for stained black tables, plantation shutters and a sleek and silvery second-floor bar and dining room called Upstairs at Annie's. (Customers griped then about a corresponding hike in prices, which a poor economy ultimately dialed back.) Too bad the kitchen missed out on the revise. "Do you think they have a chef back there?" a lunch companion asks after trying a plate of overcooked trout lined with stringy, less-than-"imperial" crab. The "Annie" hamburger is cooked as we asked, but the dull patty needs every bit of its bacon and cheddar to give the beef even a marginal lift. Subsequent dinner visits, both downstairs and up (the menus are the same), yield further culinary miscues. The gloppy Caesar salad makes airplane greens look positively gourmet. Two hefty pork chops appear impressive, but they're juiceless and vapid. The fried seafood platter yields clam strips, shrimp and a crab cake with french fries, all of which appear to have originated in Mrs. Paul's kitchen: a smorgasbord from a food factory. And a waiter shrugs his shoulders and laughs when I ask what makes the stiff chicken tenders "handcrafted," as the menu describes them. However, here's what you can also expect at Annie's: great service on the phone, potent cocktails (the $4 Manhattans at happy hour are especially good), homey mashed potatoes, crisp coleslaw, decent Cajun-spiced rib-eye, and more air-kissing than you see at fashion week in New York, London, Milan and Paris combined. Named after 17th Street icon Annie Kaylor, now 82 and living in Virginia, Annie's is perhaps best viewed as a community center that happens to serve booze, or as a last resort for an omelet in the wee hours (the joint is open round-the-clock on weekends). I didn't research a pal's verdict, but I have no reason to doubt him when he claims that the 62-year-old Annie's "tastes better with a half-quart of vodka, and when it's 2 a.m."