This restaurant is not for the dainty. Only the real meat-eaters need apply. Carnivores? Yes. Families? Definitely, but come ready to eat and eat a lot.
Smith & Wollensky has been dubbed the quintessential New York Steak House, and after eating there you will wonder why you didn’t go to school in the Big Apple.
Luckily you can get the New York-style steaks you and your family are craving right on D.C.’s 19th Street. White Christmas lights adorn the trees leading to the entrance. If the weather is nice, sit outside.
But let’s get down to the beef-that’s what you came for after all. The menu features a wide selection of USDA prime grade steaks that have been dry-aged for 28 days and are always cooked to perfection. Some of the cuts offered are double sirloin, chateaubriand (for two), filet mignon, filet au poivre and sliced steak Wollensky. The filet mignon and sirloin are always favorites, but the 22-ounce porterhouse is for the real meat eaters at the table.
A commoner might call this cut of meat a T-bone, but a real beef aficionado will know that this noble steak consists of half filet mignon and half sirloin. You get the best of both worlds with the two cuts and their distinct flavors.
If 22 ounces of steak is too much for you, order the smaller filet mignon. Eat it all and you’ll leave satisfied. But remember that it is still a thick piece of meat. Get it medium rare so the outside isn’t too charbroiled and dark.
Beef is definitely the main attraction at this downtown restaurant, but fresh seafood, poultry and lamb are also offered. If you are going to try surf instead of the typical turf, get a three-pound lobster.
Any dish is incomplete without something on the side. All side dishes are a la carte and include favorites such as whipped potatoes, creamed spinach, onion rings, French fries and baked potatoes. The whipped potatoes and creamed spinach are both perfect compliments to any dish on the menu and are just the right size to share.
Since you are out with your family, you might as well enjoy a bottle of wine with Mom and Dad. You deserve it after four long years of toil and sweat at GW. Smith & Wollensky is known for its wine selection, and boasts a well-chosen and reasonably priced wine list that will easily complement any dish. You can spend anywhere from smaller change for a glass, or you can milk graduation for all it is worth and order a bottle.
To finish your meal off the right way and enjoy the full S&W experience, get a dessert. As a New York steak house, you can trust the New York cheesecake is good. Its smooth texture is complemented perfectly with fresh sliced strawberries. The “Six Shooters” has no description on the menu, but the shooter glasses are served with ice cream or sorbet in each. The shooter bar has shots of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream, as well as banana, mango, and raspberry sorbet. This is a good dessert to share, but the best part is the presentation.
The carrot cake towers with at least six layers. The cake and cream cheese icing served here is a perfect rendition of the old favorite. Get ready to share, though, because after a big steak dinner this dessert will be entirely too much to finish.
The service is usually very good, even with a large party. Make a reservation and have your parents take you out for the fine after-graduation meal you deserve.
If pounds upon pounds of red meat doesn’t seem like the perfect graduation dinner, then try these other D.C. favorites:
Buca di Beppo
1825 Connecticut Ave., NW ~ 232-8466
This Italian family-style chain is perfect for those families that just can’t keep quiet. The place is full of personality – you’ll see a portrait of the Mona Lisa with a full-out smile and even more cleavage. Some may find this place tacky, but for the family with a good sense of humor, the atmosphere here is perfect.
You’ll also get piles and piles of pasta, so come hungry. Buca di Beppo serves huge helpings with a wide variety of sauces-but bring the mints, because the spaghetti sauce is full of garlic.
3000 K St. NW (30th and K streets) ~ 944-4200
The setting at this riverside restaurant is beautiful. Sit outside and eat while looking over the water at the Kennedy Center. Sunset is the perfect time to take advantage of what this restaurant has to offer.
But for this beautiful view, you’ll have to pay the price. A nice dinner with family and friends on the patio overlooking the river will be a perfect end to graduation night.
The Melting Pot
1220 19th St. NW ~ 857-0777
Fondue is the one and only menu choice at the Melting Pot. And it’s not just cheese and chocolate here-you’ll have four courses with some of the best fondue you could imagine. The first course starts with the cheese fondue. There are four varieties, so you won’t be left with only Swiss to dip the chunks of bread, apple and raw vegetables in. The next course is a salad, sans fondue. The main course is a meat fondue with a bullion broth to dip your assortment of meats, seafood and vegetables in. Try a mix of surf and turf, because the steak, lobster and shrimp are delicious. Finally comes dessert-cheesecake, marshmallows, strawberries, bananas and crumb cake all to dip in your choice of a chocolate fondue. Go plain with milk chocolate, or try the flaming turtle if you like pecans and caramel.
Make sure to call ahead and make reservations so you don’t miss out on this great find.
2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW ~ 296-7700
You’ve walked by Kinkeads a thousand times – on your way to the Gap or Tower Video, but no one would have guessed that a restaurant right next door to campus could be so good.
This restaurant was voted D.C.’s Most Popular Restaurant for a reason – its menu of delicious seafood and its superior wine list makes it a favorite for the D.C. elite (Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, dined at Kinkeads this year). Any of the seafood dishes are delicious and the chefs make an unbelievably mouth-watering steak. Save room for dessert, because they are just as luscious as the main courses.
Plan to make a night at this restaurant – make reservations, get dressed up and take advantage of this amazing restaurant tucked away in 2000 Penn.
617 New York Ave. NW ~ 393-9393
This restaurant is all about the environment-with true Moroccan d?cor, you’ll feel like you are walking into another world. Once you get to the restaurant (take a cab, it’s easiest), you will see the bright orange building with Arabic letters on the front. You have to knock on the door, and then a small door is open for you to step through. Make reservations, so you don’t have to wait on uncomfortable benches around small, short tables.
This meal is seven full courses (there’s no menu to choose from), so plan to eat a lot. The best courses are bastila (chicken pastry), cous cous with steamed vegetables and very sweet tea at the end. But you’re not only going to get a meal – first you get your hands washed, since they serve as your utensils, and then there’s a belly dancer who performs during your meal. Finally, make sure to venture to the bathrooms, where you will get to see all the pictures of celebrities who have dined at Marrakesh – including multiple presidents. Make sure to bring cash though, because Marrakesh does not accept credit.