Steak with a view: Charlie Palmer

Feb 16, 2012 by

Steak with a view: Charlie Palmer

Saturday night we dined with seven friends.  A couple were steak and potato types, while others preferred lighter cuisine.  Charlie Palmer has a nice mix of both offering steak and venison, while also featuring chicken and fish options.  On cold nights like that, valet is just essential.  We walked inside and were warmly greeted by friends at the bar.  The hostess checked our coats for us, checked us in, and offered to take us to our table, even though one in the party was stuck in traffic.  Upon being seated we were warmly greeted, drink orders were placed and drinks arrived shortly thereafter.  Our server graciously inquired whether we wanted to order anything before the last guest arrived.  We went ahead and ordered appetizers.  A selection of nice crusty bread was served, as well as, an amuse bouche of turnip soup.

I ordered a selection of oysters, they were all fresh and briny, they came with a wonderful sorbet of “cocktail sauce” with was cool and very pleasant with the oysters, old bay crackers and lemon.  Hubby had a beautiful shrimp and chorizo dish that was bright with color and flavor.  Our guest arrived shortly after our appetizer, a drink brought to him within moments.  All orchestrated without a problem or fuss. We were very pleasantly surprised to see Mountfair Vineyards represented on the wine list, one of our new favorites in Virginia.  We ordered a bottle for the table.

Dinner orders were taken.  I had a beautiful petit filet done to a perfect medium rare.  On a very modern and pretty stainless steel lazy susan in the middle of the table were placed our sides: hen of the woods mushrooms, fingerling potatoes with pancetta, asparagus, béarnaise sauce, twice baked potatoes.  All of the sides were very good.  I have a particular soft spot for the hen of the woods mushrooms- fresh and meaty, without much fuss just allowing their simple flavor to shine through.  I also was very happy they had a potato option without cream on the list of sides.

We ended the night with coffee and dessert.  Service was so good, it was like a carefully orchestrated ballet, you saw the steps, but it was a smooth performance as a whole that really impressed you.  I have dined there at other times and it seemed the service Saturday night was really a step above.  It was so nice to have a leisurely meal with great friends and be able to enjoy their company in such a beautiful setting, with ease.   There are a lot of new, fancy restaurants in DC, but sometimes when you go back to old standbys you remember exactly why they were old standbys.  And this is probably the best food in DC with a view.

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