With a fusion of club-worthy elements (dark lighting, beats by a talented DJ and plenty of comfortable lounge seating), STK (1250 Connecticut Ave. NW) has brought to Washington, D.C. a unique -- and frankly welcomed -- dining concept.
"This is not like anything in D.C.," a guest to the newest restaurant in the D.C. scene proclaimed upon walking in, and it's a fair assessment. No other steakhouse in Washington, D.C. has a focus on making sure guests are enjoying both the quality of food as well a party atmosphere.
From the expansive restaurant views -- wherein the bar in the center easily blends into the dining area to the right and the curved booths staged higher to the left -- it's like Miami married D.C., and we're hanging out with both of them in their tastefully appointed loft apartment.
If you've made a reservation, don't be distracted by the standard square tables and chairs. Instead, wait for the maître d' to seat you in the white leather, curved booths on the left. Staged a few steps higher than the rest of the restaurant, on an elevated dias of sorts, this is the place to take in the scene at STK.
Then, it's on to the food and beverages.
Cocktails to fall in love with include the Cherry Cosmopolitan and the Cucumber Stiletto, which resembles a fresher mint julep.
While waiting for the drinks to arrive, definitely order the Tuna Tartare ($18) from the appetizer menu. In a fun presentation, the Tuna Tartare is built to resemble the abstract spirit of a Frank Gehrig-designed building. On a bed of soy honey emulsion, chopped avocados anchor the chunks of tuna. Finishing the dish is a hat of three taro chips covering the length of substance below.
Now, this being a steak house, it's natural to order steak; however, for the diners who don't eat steak but still want to visit, there are alternative choices. But really, a steak should be mandatory.
STK has three categories of steaks, divided by size. I chose, from the "Medium" section, the 14-ounce bone-in rib filet ($57), which arrived perfectly cooked medium rare.
There's also the option to order eight different kinds of dipping sauce at $2 each: chimichurri, au poivre, horseradish, blue butter, béarnaise, red wine, STK, and STK Bold.
I ordered all eight to give them all a try; I'd say my top two favorites are the chimichurri and the STK Bold. I was not a fan of neither the too-thick horseradish nor the too-thin blue butter.
As for the side dishes ($9 each), I really loved the broccolini. Surprisingly, it is very rich in flavor, having been seasoned to be spicy! For the contrasting reason, I also enjoyed the sweet corn pudding for the touch of sugar to soothe the taste buds after the Cajun kick of the broccolini.
If there were a possibility to eat more food at this point, I would go ahead and order either the mac and cheese or the truffled parmesan french fries -- but whatever you do, skip dessert. I found both desserts I tried to be disappointing.
The Birthday Cake was almost flavor-less and not sweet enough, if that's even possible for a dessert. As for the Carrot Cake, it just didn't resemble a carrot cake in look or taste.
Fortunately, the entrees and sides were more than enough for a satisfying night out.