Dish: Makeover for J&G Steakhouse

Food critic June 10, 2013

GOING UNDER THE KNIFE: One of the top-grade spots to enjoy beef in a city marbled with options, J&G Steakhouse is closing Aug. 4 for a redesign. The plan is to make the upscale restaurant, which opened in the W Hotel in 2009, “more playful and energetic,” says John Leinhardt, the restaurant’s new general manager.

New York-based Elemental Interiors is in charge of the redo. “We inherited a space that was a white envelope with muted colors,” says Megan Downing, a partner in the company. The soaring space is being rethought with giant hanging lanterns, darker walls, more banquettes and an abstract photo of the Capitol dome where fabric art once hung. In response to customer feedback, the dining room is gaining an intimate bar of its own. Named for the restaurant’s address, Bar 515 will feature six stools and a communal high-top table on the ground floor.

Weaned on a beige buffet a la “Fargo” in Minnesota, Tom Sietsema is the food critic for The Washington Post. This is his second tour of duty at the Post. Sietsema got his first taste in the ‘80s, when he was hired by his predecessor to answer phones, write some, and test the bulk of the Food section’s recipes. That’s how he learned to clean squid, bake colonial cakes and distinguish between nutmeg and mace. View Archive

Previously, if diners wanted a pre- or post-meal drink, they were shown to the downstairs Wine Bar. Leinhardt says he hopes the lower-level retreat, which also will be called Bar 515, becomes “a hideaway for locals.” Both cocktail spaces will debut with light fare including crab fritters and steak tartare sliders.

Leinhardt is no stranger to the region. Although he comes to the steakhouse from the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, where he oversaw the property’s food and beverage program, he previously worked in Virginia at the Inn at Little Washington and at 2941 in Falls Church.

J&G is expected to show off its new look in mid-September. “The sooner the better,” says Leinhardt, echoing the sentiments of steak lovers.

Tom Sietsema

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