The following review appears in The Washington Post’s 2016 Fall Dining Guide.
“We’re a South American steakhouse, with a difference,” says our server. “Everything has an element of smoke in it.” No kidding. Grilled hanger steak garnishes my cocktail, and dessert brings rum cake with smoked vanilla ice cream. Three years after he alighted in Chinatown, Victor Albisu is still playing with fire and still pulling me in with the likes of rack of lamb edged in a fine chorizo crust. While meat is the lasso, there’s plenty else to keep diners in their leather seats: flaky empanadas swollen with velvety mushrooms, scallops and burnt red chilies splayed on a bed of corn, and succulent Peruvian-style roast chicken with fried yuca. Octopus ceviche ought to shed its limp fried squid rings, but more, please, of one of the best side dishes now playing: spinach-green mashed potatoes punched up with jalapeños and cilantro. Pain, meet pleasure.
2 1/2 stars
Del Campo: 777 I St. NW. 202-289-7377. delcampodc.com.
Prices: Mains $22-$55.
Sound check: 77 decibels / Must speak with raised voice.