I’ve long been a fan of Medium Rare—I even loved the French toast at brunch when I was a vegetarian. Nowadays, as my boyfriend and I are paleo, it’s one of the only places we can dine happily. We were there for date night last night, in fact.
As there’s little I find more satisfying than steak frites, a glass of red wine, and good conversation, I often suggest Medium Rare for dinner. Following my suggestion, I’ve found the answer is most often a resounding yes. So, it’s become my go-to spot for girl dates, date nights, and double date nights.
Like so many others, I am a repeat offender at Medium Rare because the restaurant provides a consistent, high-quality product: damn good steak frites.
At dinner, the restaurant serves a notoriously affordable set menu of white rustic bread, a mixed green salad, and steak frites for $19.95. The French fries are perhaps the best in the world—and the secret sauce is heavenly. The rustic, warm French bread is devoured by anyone without immaculate willpower, leaving your heart and tummy happy and your lap filled with crumbs. Then, you’re served two rounds of steak frites—the second piled on your plate as soon as you’ve finished the third. There’s a simple wine list of about a dozen reds and whites by the glass, and a cocktail menu. For dessert, you will lose willpower, caving in and ordering either the hot fudge chocolate sundae or the key lime pie.
Medium Rare is inspired by Le Entrecote, a Parisian restaurant that I visited on my trip there this fall. The similarity is striking: same menu (but in French), similar decor, similar dessert options. The one difference is that the steak sauce at Le Entrecote is a frightening green with a flavor that pales in comparison to the sauce at Medium Rare. And, the Parisian location was filled with snotty French waitresses so I’ll take the American upgrade.
Beyond the quality product, there are actually quite a few more things I love about Medium Rare. The charming French brasserie décor. The reliable and affordable wine list. The Double Bubble gum served with your check at the end of your meal. But, what I most is enjoy that I am taught French over the loudspeakers in the bathroom. Yes, in my many trips to Medium Rare, I’ve learned to say “I love you,” “Will you go out with me?” and “You look beautiful” thanks to the sexy man—let’s call him Pierre—whose voice radiates out of the walls.
As it had been awhile since our brunch at the Cleveland Park outpost, we decided to brunch at the Barracks Row location. Both locations have patios, which are perfect for bottomless brunch with a group of friends. On this uncharacteristically warm November day, I sat on the patio with Annie, our Social Bitch. We were warmed by heat lamps, coffee, and chatter—the perfect start to a Saturday.
Brunch at Medium Rare provides a similar set menu, with more options than in the evening hours. This is great, as a Bitch loves her options. The $23 inclusive includes bread, appetizer, entrée, and bottomless beverages: Bloody Marys, Screwdrivers, mimosas, or orange juice for the teetotalers. Yes, you read that correctly: $23 for bottomless mimosas and two courses.
The meal begins with the irresistible white bread and butter. There’s literally nothing better. The waiters are quick with the mimosas, which are brought to the table in pitchers. While the service was a bit slow with the food, they’re quick with the mimosas—priorities, people.
Within the set menu, you have three choices for an appetizer: the mixed green salad, which is served at dinner, a fresh fruit salad, or a vanilla yogurt parfait. We had raved about the parfait and fruit salad years ago, but unfortunately the fruit salad has gone downhill. Rather than berries and the good stuff, the cup was filled with grapes, cantaloupe, and honeydew. Nobody likes honeydew, and Bitches hate it. Annie was disappointed and I decided it was too pitiful to warrant a photo.
I opted for a sure bet—the mixed green salads, which was perfect as per usual. I’m not normally fussed about a side salad but this one hits the spot.
By way of entrées, Medium Rare offers steak frites, steak and eggs (with frites), an Eggs Benedict with steak and Portobello mushrooms, sausage and eggs, or French toast.
I selected my usual order: steak and eggs, served medium rare and scrambled. I was pleased to discover the dish was also served with French fries.
Annie was less impressed by her sausage and eggs, which she said was good but nothing spectacular. The fries and eggs were top-notch, however.
We opted to share the French toast, which is a must at Medium Rare. The French toast is made from the restaurant’s bread, soaked overnight in a cinnamon, milk, egg batter. The toast is then fried, powdered with sugar, and sprinkled with strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Covered in Maple syrup, the French toast provides satisfying comfort with each warm, moist, vanilla and sugar-flavored bite.
We left Medium Rare as most who visit the restaurant do: satisfied and content, without having broken the bank.
The Bitches say: A-. The food, ambiance, and bottomless price can’t be beat. We’re a sucker for steak frites. Just fix the fruit salad.
515 8th St. S.E.
Medium Rare serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays at both Barracks Row and Cleveland Park locations.
BitchBiz: Bitches Who Brunch partners with Medium Rare. While this article was written independently by Bitches Who Brunch, we do receive compensation from the company.