Did D.C. need another steak house? No. Is there a demand for steak houses a few blocks from The White House, right off K Street? Absolutely. Should it be a destination for the BYT reader? Actually, yes.
Good steak is good steak. RARE serves fantastic steak, but that’s isn’t very surprising. Most steak houses that cost this much present excellent cuts. So if you’re going for the steak, you won’t be disappointed. But you’re probably not reading this to know if the expensive steak house serves good steak. You’re most likely reading this to know how it fits into the D.C. dining scene and how it might fit into your plans.
RARE is essentially three restaurants. Upstairs is for The White House and K Street crowd. It features the steak house staples like big chairs and big booths and very, very attentive service. If you’re looking for an old school place to take visiting parents or older client, this room should satisfy.
The first floor of RARE is more our speed. It’s not gimmicky (Anyone miss STK?) or trying to target a specific type of diner. It’s just more comfortable. It still features large booths and lots of leather and wood but it also has a good looking bar, a slightly different menu and a very, very good happy hour.
Now that you know what it serves and how it looks, we’re confident letting you know Executive Chef Marc Hennessy and Executive Pastry Chef Jacqueline Suter are putting slight tweaks on classics. And they’re very good tweaks. The best example of this is their garlic and parmesan rolls. Every steak house has rolls or bread. It’s indicative of the type of service and food the restaurant serves. If they stand out, it’s a good sign. If it’s re-heated rolls from a nearby bakery, hopefully you’re not paying. These rolls are a collaboration between the chefs and they’re just great. Some of the best bread we’ve enjoyed in 2017. It’s a very good way to begin a meal at RARE and hints at everything else on the menu.
Once again, the steak is great. No shock there. If you’re not in a red meat mood, the channel bass was more satisfying than a bass should be.
The steam pots are really good for sharing. The $20 Chef’s Pot, featuring that day’s oysters, clams, mussels and whatever other fish goodness is in the kitchen, is actually a good deal in a steak house.
There are the classic steak house sides, spinach, potatoes, mushrooms, etc. Our favorite we tried was the grilled onions. Multiple types of onions in a pretty presentation that pairs well with red meat, it’s yet another slight tweak on a classic.
Executive Pastry Chef Jacqueline Suter’s deserts are just as indulgent as the $48 filet. Similar to the steam pots, they’re good for sharing.
We didn’t think we’d enjoy RARE as much as we did. It’s a steak house. Steak houses are steak houses. But this one does most everything really well. And this one has multiple menus so you’re not stuck ordering just expensive cuts of meat.
We alluded to the very, very good happy hour. Every day from 5 to 7 p.m. you can order $1 oysters, $2 garlic and parmesan rolls, $5 walnut brownies, $8 to $10 Chef’s Pots, $5 beers and signature cocktails and more. That’s a great happy hour. That’s shockingly good happy hour a few blocks from The White House, right off K Street.