Lost Society: Strong on the Ambience, Stronger on the Drinks

Can the name of a restaurant produce a visceral reaction even before you walk in? After all, why name a place "Lost Society" if you didn't want to evoke the last vestiges of society, something hedonistic and sinful? But in this instance, the two-story boutique steakhouse Lost Society (2001 14th St. N.W.) tries to harken back to the Victorian society and its mores.

The space is undoubtedly gorgeous -- compliments of architect Olvia Demetriou and her team led by Melinda Nettelbeck -- with its dark ambiance, but I didn't think Victorian when I walked in. I just thought, "Wow. Dark beauty."

This atmosphere is deliciously enhanced by the generous servings of the wine and cocktail list. I ordered both the Sidecar ($13) as well as a Dark and Stormy ($10), and both drinks contained as much alcohol in one serving as most other restaurants give in five.

If the goal is to drink deeply, then I assure you Lost Society is your venue; however with the Sidecar. a little more temperance would have been appreciated. The Dark and Stormy was perfect, though.

As a boutique steakhouse, the menu is most solid with (go figure) the steaks. Just to mix it up a bit, I ordered the steak sandwich" ($15). Made with brie, shitake mushrooms, green onions and the chef's recommended cooking of the steak (medium rare), the entire presentation was flavorful... if messy.

I wouldn't recommend ordering the steak sandwich on a date. The steak was sliced just beyond bite-size, in the awkward medium between two bites and three, so that with each attempt of the sandwich I was left with steak dangling from my mouth. Very unattractive.

The accompanying french fries were ideal. Salty, evenly cooked with no burned edges, and just thick enough to taste the potato inside the fried exterior. I was also particularly impressed on a supremely busy Saturday night, the food came out quickly and piping hot.

I was too full to order one of their desserts, but I can tell you that the folks at nearby tables looked thrilled with their selections.

When your food's gone, take a short walk upstairs to the second level to find another bar and covered outdoor seating. But if you drink more, plan on calling a cab. The upstairs bar is even more generous than the main dining area.

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