You don’t have to like meat to warm up to the city’s best steakhouse. While grilled beef is the centerpiece, chef John Critchley stocks his menu with all sorts of temptations from field and stream. The simple-sounding “market” salad bears the stamp of an artist with its landscape of edible pinks, greens and golds, while local rockfish teases the tongue with chermoula: Maryland hooking up with Morocco. Steamed clams with house-made bucatini, green and clean with toasted nori and (trend alert!) plankton, is amazing; the broth of cod consomme, preserved lime zest and brown butter keeps spoons busy until nothing remains but smiles. Critchley has a winning way of combining flavors without going overboard. Paella in a steakhouse? Try it, and you’ll swear you’re in Spain.
Shades of brown in the room boost Bourbon Steak’s beefy theme and remind me to tell you that the coarse-cut beef tartare with Parmesan crisps and butcher’s tender from Virginia help nudge this hotel restaurant in Georgetown to the top of the heap. Creamed spinach is the obvious side dish, but even better is harissa-kicked sweet-and-sour eggplant. Bourbon Steak nails all the extras.
The cocktail menu is encyclopedic, and the service runs Four Seasons-smooth. Only the loud and raucous bar detracts from the meat of the matter.