Washington D.C. is known for its quintessential steakhouses; however, unlike its counterparts in New York or Chicago, the District is still emerging as a food city. When dining at steak restaurant certain expectations are placed upon the service, ambiance and most importantly the quality of food. Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, part of the Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group, steers away from the cliché stereotypes of overhyped steakhouses and delivers with delectable food.
Why We Came: In the newly designed CityCenterDC development, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House sits on the corner of 9th and I Street NW. As one of the most luxurious neighborhoods in Washington D.C., this is one of those restaurants you want to be seen either sipping on a cocktail or dining amongst friends. The Prime Pair promotion is genius as you get to sample some of the best selections of what the restaurant has to offer for a mere $55.
Who's in Charge: Originally conceptualized in Dallas, Texas, the Del Frisco’s Group consists of three restaurant concepts: Del Frisco’s Grille, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, and Sullivan’s Steakhouse. However, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House is the most exclusive with only 12 restaurants located throughout the United States. Executive chef Scott Kroener has more than a ten year history working within steakhouses from his time at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and additionally with the Fireman Hospitality Group. Graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Kroener understands how to present strong flavor profiles without being overly aggressive in his approach.
The Look: Decorated with mahogany wood and a green and gray color palette, the similarities to a stuffy steakhouse end there. Large windows wrap around the first and second floor, allowing amazing light to enter the restaurant from almost every vantage point.
The Vibe: As soon as you enter, a friendly hostess will either guide you to the bar area or upstairs to the dining room. Efficient and seamless, the attentive wait staff dotes on your every need but allots you enough space to enjoy your meal uninterrupted. The open kitchen gives those who are dining upstairs a bird’s eye view of your meal being prepared.
The Peeps: A mix of tourists, steak enthusiasts, wine connoisseurs, business women/men as well as residents who live in the development mainly compose the dining crowd. And although a dress code isn’t enforced, it is simply understood that one arrives in his/her best attire.
Service: With the wine sommelier on hand, any questions about wine are thoroughly answered without any snobbery. Attentive to filling up your wine and water glasses, clearing dishes once the entire table is done, and making sure that the sides remained warm, the wait staff provides an enjoyable experience. Though we would have loved to know a bit more about where the beautiful cuts of meats, seafood, and produce came from the execution of correct temperatures and pairings of wines solidified we were in good hands.
What to Drink: Equipped with an extensive wine list (1,200 labels), the semi-heavy Cellar Can Blau of the Gil Family Estates is complex beyond its 12 months of aging which is evident in its deep, red coloring. Also consider the Guillon Bourgogne Rouge Les Graviers 2013 as the nose of this French wine is delightfully perfumed by blackberries and other red fruits such as cherries and raspberries.
What to Eat: When one comes to a steakhouse you expect various cuts of meats, seafood, and sides that complement each other. Del Frisco’s does just that by offering nine protein selections. We tried the eight ounce filet mignon, cooked at medium and medium rare respectively. The temperature of each piece came out as desired, and its robust flavor came simply from freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt. The slightly charred outside gave way to a butter-like interior.
Accompanied by a seafood selection of choice ranging from plump, lightly seared lemon garlic scallops, a sautéed crab cake sauced with a Cajun lobster cream, or the barbecue spiced jumbo shrimp tossed in NOLA sauce similar to a remoulade, the possibility of making the wrong choice is slim to none. However, we were partial to the jumbo shrimp as the smoky barbecue spice rub and perfectly cooked succulent shrimp did not disappoint.
Each side arrives to the table, piping hot, in small cast iron skillets to ensure their temperature remains constant during the meal. If there is one side to rave about, it has to be the mashed chateau potatoes. Bits of the potato skins whipped with butter, parsley, and bacon elevates this dish to a new level of comforting satisfaction.
To complete your dining experience, you absolutely must order the butter cake. Not listed on their website which is a shame, the composition of this unassuming dessert is what makes it so special. Its crunchy exterior and soft, moist interior (think of freshly baked cookies), due to culpable amounts of butter is phenomenal. A scoop of butter pecan ice cream is placed atop the cake and drizzled with a rich, but not excessively sweet caramel. This dessert is one of the best is the District, hands down.
Jai Williams is The Daily Meal D.C. photographer, Editor-in-Chief at Girl Meets Food, as well as a freelance culinary photographer whose work has been published by Globe Pequot Press a part of Rowman & Littlefield. You can follow her on Twitter @januarijai, on Instagram @januarijaimedia or visit her website.