Charlie Palmer's wine tower has come to Capitol Hill, as the wide-ranging restaurateur behind Aureole opened his Charlie Palmer Steak restaurant in Washington, D.C., last month.
A smaller version of the wine tower showcased at Las Vegas' Grand Award—winning Aureole is featured at the new D.C. restaurant, along with the eWineBook, a touch-screen computer that allows diners to run electronic searches for the perfect wine with their meal. The eWineBook also allows diners to e-mail questions to the chef or sommelier from the table.
The second rendition of Charlie Palmer Steak (the original is housed in Las Vegas' Four Seasons Hotel) features an all-American wine list with wines from more than 25 states. Steak house standbys are prominent, such as Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley The Montelena Estate 1999 (94 points, $216), Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Special Selection 1991 (99, $570) and Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 1994 (91, $378). But the list also includes such out-of-the-way bottlings as Cap Rock Cabernet Sauvignon Texas ($32), Barboursville Octagon Virginia NV (83, $62) and Tiger Mountain Cabernet Franc Georgia 2001 ($64). The restaurant expects to have all 50 states represented by July.
Executive chef Bryan Voltaggio's menu is based on the classic steak house formula, though it also reflects Palmer's straightforward New American approach. Appetizers emphasize seafood and lighter fare such as a cold prawn cocktail ($13) and East Coast oysters with cucumber jelly ($15). Main courses bring on the meat, from grilled filet mignon ($27) to New York shell steak bone-in ($31) to the veal porterhouse ($26), all of which can be accompanied by à la carte side dishes such as asparagus ($9) and roasted morels ($12).
The restaurant's all-American approach -- which should please many Beltway power brokers -- is even reflected in its corkage policy: Diners can bring in American wines for no charge, but if the wine's not from the U.S. of A., it'll cost you $25 per bottle.
Charlie Palmer Steak
101 Constitution Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
Telephone: (202) 547-8100
Open: Monday to Friday, lunch, 11:30 a.m.— 2:30 p.m., and dinner, 5:30 p.m.—10 p.m.; Saturday, dinner, 5:30 p.m.—10:30 p.m.