While we’re usually Bitches Who Brunch, we do enjoy a power lunch or two. After all, there are only two holy days of brunch—but many more friends to catch up with over a meal. The preferred place for a Bitch to lunch? If it’s not an Instagrammable café or bistro, than a bougie downtown steakhouse will do. We appreciate a great steak, the large portion sizes, and the acceptance of our tendency to drink in the middle of the day.
I was due for a catch up with my friend Natalie, the beauty behind the ever-so-popular fashion blog, the Fashionably Broke. We opted to try Rare Steak, the new downtown outpost of a Midwestern restaurant group. Rare Steak is yet another steakhouse for power lunches that’s opened downtown—and it’s to no surprise the location is at 16th and I Streets N.W., adjacent to the White House and every lobby shop in town.
We enjoyed our two-hour lunch filled with fresh seafood from the Chesapeake, oysters, and inventive takes on steakhouse fare.
While Rare Steak is another steakhouse, it hails from Wisconsin, which means it brings the addition of good cheese and Midwestern hospitality.
1. The aesthetic. The vibes at Rare Steak are seriously sexy—the big, brown leather booths, the mahogany wood, the gorgeous marble bathrooms. It’s an elevated, refreshed take on the classic steakhouse—the space stays true to its identity—it’s not trying to be anything other than a steakhouse. But, it’s a seriously gorgeous space. I’d love to host a massive birthday dinner there, or stage a fashion shoot, positioned in the wing-back leather chairs beneath the gallery wall.
2. The no frills approach to food. Rare Steak has quality food without pretense—the cheesy pretzels are just that—hard Synder’s pretzels topped with cheese. The restaurant vetoed the classic seafood tower (too pretentious) opting instead for a spread of dishes and a wooden carrier of sauces that’s reminiscent of crab bakes on the Eastern Shore.
3. The seafood. The seafood spread is a must order—with platters and bowls of oysters, mussels, clams, and tuna tartare overtaking your table all at once. This is a feast for the seafood lover—the oysters were incredibly fresh, and we even enjoyed the clams. If you can convert two gals from loathing to liking clams, you’re doing something right.
4. The cheese. The Wisconsin cheese curds are a must-order appetizer—the dish is just too good to pass up. Hot, dense, cheesy curds packed with flavor that melt in your mouth—can’t beat Wisconsin cheddar. The Wisconsin cheese comes along with Midwestern charm—friendly, authentic service, and generally happy people.
5. The desserts. Steakhouses have to bring it home with decadent, enormous desserts—and Rare Steak certainly does. As a Florida girl, I approved of the key lime pie, which doesn’t always happen. It was crisp, tart, satisfying—and uniquely plated, which while not necessary, is worth noting. Meanwhile, Natalie went nuts for a coconut-chocolate parfait that reminded us of an almond joy in a sundae.