D.C.'s see-and-be-seen steakhouse
As with everything in Trump International Hotel, Washington, D.C., in-house restaurant BLT Prime by David Burke goes big. Designed as the high-end sibling of already posh restaurant BLT Steak, the surf-and-turf spectacle off of the main lobby has a personality as big and bold as one might expect from an eatery in a Trump hotel.
Climb a short flight of stairs to seating areas that are perfect for those who want to see and be seen before starting on “clothesline” candied bacon (wooden clothespins fasten thick bacon strips to a wire), followed by a decadent seafood tower, and then move on to steak, including a 22-ounce cowboy rib-eye.
Drinks are plays on classic cocktails (the Manhattan Tea Party gets kicked up a notch with tea-spiced vermouth), and the overall ambiance is one of joyful excess.
• Absent are the rich velvets and gilded accents of the hotel. Instead, expect simple but elegant wooden tables with comfortable leather seats, white grained marble touches and a wonderful view of the skylight-topped lobby below.
• In addition to impressive lists of craft cocktails and international wines, the restaurant offers a wide array of flights, from light sips of rosé to a deep dive into bourbons, scotches and whiskeys from names like Buffalo Trace, Van Winkle and Macallan.
• Despite the “see and be seen” culture of the Trump hotel, it’s actually quite easy to score privacy at BLT Prime. Just request a table away from the railings overlooking the main lobby and you’ll find yourself neatly hidden from view, but still able to observe what’s going on around you.
• Despite the high ceilings and location, the volume feels low, even when the restaurant is full — meaning you never have to shout to hear your neighbor and off-the-record conversations can stay just that.
Things to Know
• BLT Prime serves three sumptuous meals daily, plus Sunday brunch, but it really shines for dinner — many guests visit the lobby restaurant, Benjamin Bar & Lounge, for more casual bites from morning through evening.
• The BLT Prime name is no stranger to the Trump brand — another location of the same restaurant is in Trump National Doral Miami.
• Steaks are served three ways, dry-aged, salt-aged and wet-aged, which gives each cut a different flavor and texture. While “top hats,” or sauces, are a decadent complement — think tarragon lobster fondue or blue cheese with caramelized onions.
• Of course, the steak and seafood are divine, but it’s the sides that really shine, like the “hipster fries,” topped with Parmesan, shishito peppers and beef jerky.
• The restaurant is the only one in Washington to dry age its own steaks in pink Himalayan salt, sometimes for as long as 100 days before serving.
• The “Prime” designation certainly applies to the quality of the meats at this steakhouse, but seafood is a highlight, too, from the lobster scramble on the brunch menu to the “clock tower” seafood display, a nod to the hotel’s signature clock tower, which holds the Bells of Congress.
• The popovers, a BLT signature, are well worth the calories. Don’t miss starting your meal with one of these fresh-from-the-oven treats. You can even take the recipe to-go.
• Located a few steps up from the Grand Lobby, the D.C. restaurant boasts soaring ceilings and abundant natural light, thanks to the atrium's 1,000-pane skylight.
• The building housing the Trump-branded hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so almost no renovations could be made to the original space, resulting in an open-concept restaurant that feels as if it holds court over the lobby itself.
• This isn’t a stuffy steakhouse; gleaming wood tables are topped with woven blue placemats that pick up the rich blue velvets of the lobby below, and a sleek marble bar offers a sophisticated backdrop.