There is an aura of class and prestige that surrounds many landmarks in the United States capital, Washington DC, and Charlie Palmer’s steakhouse is no exception. The restaurant is classy, sophisticated, swanky, and sexy, while also being unpretentious and very inviting. Once inside there’s this upscale, yet calming feeling of being on a luxury cruise line. Tables are clothed in pristine white tablecloths, there’s an ornate, eye catching bouquet of flowers in the middle of the room, and the entire restaurant is painted in blue and yellow hues. Outside light illuminates the dining room during the day from the many windows aligning the walls, while soft, dim lighting is the focus in the evening.
The bar itself is perfect for a romantic evening, happy hour with coworkers or just a single drink at the bar solo. The perfectly ‘L’ shaped bar is complete with a mahogany bar, comfortable plush bar seats, and an enclosed wine rack to the left of the bar that would impress even the Koch brothers (except that all of their wines are from the USA, but hey, California wines did beat French wines in the 1976 Judgement of Paris, but I digress). Behind the bar is a peaceful man made pond that comes complete with the serene sound of running water in the background, leaving dining patrons feeling relaxed and comfortable.
Aside from the exquisite dining and bar areas, the restaurant also has a separate ‘meeting’ room for conferences and events and an outside rooftop area with spectacular views overlooking the Capitol Building. It’s perfect for booking a work luncheon or client sponsored happy hour.
Although the restaurant is considered a steakhouse, the menu offers an excellent mix of seafood, poultry, and vegetarian offerings as well. The Executive Chef, Michael Ellis, is extremely talented and very consistent, and therefore, all dishes here come highly recommended. Looking for suggestions? Try the jumbo shrimp scampi, the grilled Spanish octopus, and the beef carpaccio + tartare. Also, do try the gazpacho if it is available.
The jumbo shrimp scampi comes with one giant shrimp atop a piece of toast, lots of cherry tomatoes and a boat load of garlic. The sauce is absolutely to die for. The dish really needs to come with a whole loaf of bread because it’s nearly impossible not to scoop every bit of sauce up as if it were soup. Outstanding dish.
The Spanish octopus’ dish is another exceptional dish with fresh octopus charred around the edges ever so perfectly. The octopus is not too chewy and pairs wonderfully with the fingerling potatoes and the avocado puree.
Some excellent dinner suggestions include: linguine and clams, elephant trunk scallops, Ora King Salmon and truffle-roasted Joyce Farms Poulet Rouge. Do give the new potato + grafton cheddar gratin a try too as this side dish is a true winner! The linguine and clams entree is filled with so much flavor as a result of the uni, pecorino cheese, truffles, chili flakes and garlic. It’s such a flavor explosion of salty, sweet, and creamy from the cheese and a sharp garlic flavor to finish it off. Put your carb diet on hold for this dish! I mean, just look at this!
The scallop dish is also phenomenal. The dish is very hearty and the six giant mouthwatering scallop’s pair perfectly well with the squash risotto. The scallops are cooked perfectly with a slight browning on both sides and the risotto is mouthwateringly good, filled with cheese, a pinch of black garlic, and lots of fresh corn.
You can never go wrong with Ora King salmon anywhere you go. This exquisite farm raised salmon from New Zealand is always top notch. The salmon is cooked with a small piece of skin on top and slightly brown on the outside, but nice and pink and moist on the inside. The dish comes with tasty root vegetables in a light apple cider vinegar red wine reduction.
The truffle-roasted Joyce Farms Poulet Rouge entrée came highly recommended from Chef Michael. One glance on their website and you can see why! Joyce Farms prides itself on being ‘the best tasting chicken in the world, according to many elite chefs. The chicken in this dish is braised for many hours making the meat juicy and tender. It’s paired nicely with polenta, which as you may or may not know, was what Italian families used to cook when money was tight. Now it’s used as a main ingredient in top notch restaurants across the country. The dish is finished off with a marsala wine sauce and fresh trumpet royal mushroom. Heavenly.
Then there’s dessert…
Another great addition to CP’s steakhouse is its pre-fix lunch menu. Three beautifully selected courses for $25, how can you go wrong? Add some wine into the mix, and well, you might as well just call out for the remainder of the day. As you might expect, the menu changes seasonally based on what local ingredients are available that time of year.
Overall, the service is exceptional, as is the food. The ambiance is also second to none. This restaurant is worth a splurge if you’re looking to take someone special out, and highly recommended for a work function as well. You won’t be disappointed!
More food pics!