Power dining in the heart of Georgetown
If you want to spot a celebrity or visiting VIP in Washington, chances are, you’ll find him at Bourbon Steak DC, located within the city’s only Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel, Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C. This contemporary American restaurant specializing in steaks and seafood with a farm-to-table influence draws business and pleasure crowds night after night with its buzzy bar and see-and-be-seen ambiance.
The dining room at Bourbon Steak is decidedly modern, all muted leather chairs, rich woods and metal accents, with large-scale windows to let in natural light. It certainly doesn’t feel like your average “boy’s club” steakhouse. One of our favorite spots is the newly renovated front bar, where you can perch on banquettes and nibble on warm mixed nuts while savoring craft cocktails or, in nicer weather, move outside to the brick patio with its oversized fireplaces and modern sculptural art adorning the walls.
Bourbon Steak might have celeb chef Michael Mina’s brand, but the real magic comes from executive chef Joe Palma, formerly of local favorites like Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert. We love some of the tweaks Palma has made to the D.C. restaurant’s menu, including an added highlight on seafood and French technique (no shock, given that he previously worked at big names like Le Bernardin, Le Paradou and Citronelle). So while it may seem out of character at a restaurant with “steak” in the name, definitely go ahead and try that sea bass. It’s pretty excellent.
You’d expect the meats to be the menu’s star — and they certainly are. Choose from by-the-ounce Waygu, 36-day dry aged, grass-fed or corn-fed beef. The ribeye and bone-in strips are our picks for maximum flavor, particularly when paired with a trio of delectable steak sauces and shareable sides like crab hush puppies with jalapeño and coriander or black truffle mac and cheese. Don’t decline the from-the-chef treat, a trio of spice-dusted frites with matching dipping sauces like housemade ketchup and “cool ranch.”
Prefer something lighter for your main? Fish dishes hold their own — we love the traditional preparation of tableside-mixed tuna tartare as a starter. Be sure to save room for dessert, too — “Arnold Palmer” citrus-glazed doughnuts and a chocolate-and-bourbon-filled candy bar are standouts. The portions are generous and, on a recent visit with a large party, not a single dish missed the mark.
The Buzzy Bar
This is a craft cocktail bar that locals love. New head bartender Torrence Swain has infused the always-popular bar with fresh flair, keeping the same influence on classic cocktails as well as adding a new emphasis on seasonal ingredients found in the hotel’s own 500-square-foot outdoor garden.
We like the BSDC Potomac, the house dirty martini with white-truffle-infused vodka and housemade truffle brine with a truffle pecorino olive. Otherwise, choose one of the 25-plus classic cocktails that can be made just as you like it. Newly reopened after a light refresh — the space sports stained white oak flooring, leather-covered tables and a Marrone marble bar — this Georgetown staple is here to stay.