The temperatures have settled into the mid to low 60s and your light jacket collection is finally getting the appreciation it deserves. We’re doing a lot of different things to celebrate the change of the season. We’re watching horror movies every night and actually wearing pants to bed (shout out to my landlord for not having the heat on yet). We’re taking Instagrams of hot coffees instead of iced coffees (or warm teas instead of iced teas). And we’re eating more. More meat to be precise. Light, crisp and cool dishes are the purview of summer, when the only thing we want to do is sit in the sun and drink gin. But fall is here and we’re craving something a little more substantial, drinks that will warm us up before our Metro rides home and dishes that will take us right to food coma dream land as soon as we slip into bed.
Which means it’s prime steakhouse season. With their dark wood interiors, booze forward cocktails and slabs of delicious meat, these restaurants are at their most appealing when the temperatures start to dip. Rare, one of the city’s newest steakhouses, is already gunning to become a D.C. classic. With their new fall menu highlighting table side delicacies (like steak tartare and bananas foster), chef Marc Hennessy’s in-house dry aging and their new vintage spirits menu, it’s an easy recommendation. If you’re looking for a full on, over the top steakhouse experience, you’ll have a good time here.
Kicking off with the starters, go for the dinner and a show option with the tableside steak tartar. It’s made for two, which means it’s absolutely large enough to share, but I would also have no shame ordering a cocktail and feasting on this by itself. Meat, fresh baked bread and truffles are always a winning combination. If that’s not enough to sate your group (or you’re really looking to make your wallet cry), a visit to the raw bar is more than welcome. I’m never going to say no to eating handfuls of oysters, lobster, shrimp and mussels.
Just make sure you save enough room for the most delicious thing on the menu, the garlic and parmesan rolls. A cross between a popover (hey BLT Steak) and a cinnamon roll, this heavenly combination of garlic, cheese and bread will cure anything that ails you. It’ll make your hair shinier and your teeth brighter. It’ll make your enemies respect you and your friends love you even more than they did before. If I could walk up to Rare and order these to go, I’d be in trouble. We all would.
But enough about bread, you’re looking for some solid meat recommendations. Luckily for you, chef Hennessy has made that easy, almost everything we tasted satiated our steakhouse cravings. If you’re a tradition diner and just want a filet, you’ll do well here. If you’re a serious meat fiend who needs a pure hit of wagyu, chef Hennessy also has your back. We were most impressed by the rib cap, which was so tender, I wrote the word down in all caps and added far too many exclamation points in my notes. Want a break from beef? A surprising favorite was the spiced Long Island duck, which is perked up with a little hot honey. Side-wise, the carrots and pistachios should be at the top of your list. Between those and the rolls, you won’t need anything else.
If you didn’t follow my instructions and end up having room for dessert, pastry chef Jacqueline Suter’s tableside bananas foster is a killer way to finish it all off. Pair it with one of Rare’s vintage drinks (I’d go with the Hennessy, but that’s just me) for a full on fire experience. Your eyebrows might be singed and your throat will definitely feel the burn, but you’ll love every minute of it.
Rare Steakhouse is located at 1595 I St NW.