* Click here for rating key
Charlie Palmer Steak Restaurant Review: Yes, that was a secret service agent with the telltale earplug hovering around the front door. And over there that burly guy must be some politico's bodyguard. Such is the power play just blocks from the Capitol at Charlie Palmer Steak. The outside entrance is so discreet that, but for the bodyguard, you might walk past without noticing. Indoors, all stainless steel and steely-blue, with its extravagant glass-encased wine cellar and pond splashing water, you might be anywhere but in the lap of U.S. power. No surprise, the menu is just as powerful as the restaurant, and the food, even at lunch, focuses on beef---hanger steak, tenderloin, burger, filet mignon salad---with a few seafood offerings to round out the selections. But take a cue from the restaurant name: order beef. And order it dry-aged. You can order several starters (butter-poached New Caledonian prawns with chive risotto) or sides (baked Parmesan gnocchi or Brussels sprouts and chestnuts) and make a meal of them. Either way, from the crispy breadsticks and soft rolls to the comprehensive all-American artisan cheese list, you'll find a Charlie Palmer meal rich in its detail, and the service quiet, discreet and very efficient. Besides, the tony atmosphere further underscores how this place aims to please the nation's most powerful folks. The prix-fixe lunch is a steal at $20.