Power and Popovers Rule at BLT Steak 


Power dining in a welcoming, contemporary setting is the lure at the recently renovated BLT Steak location near the White House. Spacious half-moon-shaped, buttery leather-lined booths hug the dining area’s far wall. Generously spaced tables throughout the room include inviting group seating by the front windows. A sophisticated palette of earthy browns, tans and slate gray sets the tone. Wall and ceiling sound paneling facilitate conversation. Its remodeled bar is well-suited for happy hour gatherings.

While steak — ranging from Black Angus, USDA Prime and American and Japanese Wagyu beef — is front and center on the menu, the rest of the menu is enticing as well. Longtime Executive Chef Michael Bonk prides himself on his sourcing. He is one of only three Washington, D.C., chefs able to serve beef from locally raised Randall Lineback cattle. Look for the flavor-packed cut in a Cherry Blossom-inspired preparation. Topflight tuna is literally flown in daily, Bonk explains. The salmon comes from Scotland and briny Chesapeake oysters are seasonal now. Asparagus will be on the menu all spring as the crop moves north from Georgia to local growers.

Chef Bonk’s charcuterie-making skills enable him to make the most of the expensive ingredients. He turns “scraps” from Wagyu beef into chorizo and makes steak tartare from the distinctive Randall Lineback meat. His Polish heritage can be tasted in pierogi filled with house-made cheese. Menu specials provide additional outlets for his creativity.

No story about BLT Steak would be complete without a shout out to its popovers. Huge, piping hot and irresistible, they are a complementary start of every visit, along with signature duck pate. The soon-to-be-introduced happy hour menu will feature them with other tempting accessories. They are baked throughout the meal service in a dedicated oven.

It is tempting to ask for more popovers in lieu of dessert. But that would mean missing other treats. An airy soufflé-like crepe — filled with an ethereal pastry cream and served with a passion fruit topping — is a notable example.

Looking ahead, Bonk welcomes warmer weather when he expects the sweeping, sidewalk patio to host a buzzy crowd at 1625 I (Eye) St. NW.

Chef Michael Bonk at BLT Steak DC in 2019. Photography by Clarissa Villondo of Karlin Villondo Photography.

 

 

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