Sunday, March 27, 2011

PREVIEW: Brunch at Medium Rare

I was graciously allowed an early bite today as Medium Rare, Cleveland Park's new steak frites bistronomie, put their staff through a dress rehearsal.

Brunch sticks to their simple menu theme and is affordable at $14.50. Each item comes with their soft-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside rustic bread and your choice of yogurt parfait (suprisingly good!), fresh fruit or salad. Currently, the brunch line up includes Steak Frites (with a poached egg if you so desire), Medium Rare Benedict (steak, portabello mushroom, poached egg, red pepper & hollandaise) or Egg Frites (three perfectly poached eggs topped with their secret sauce (gravy-ish) and fries. Those were all solid choices - and if you're a meat and potatoes kinda gal/guy, you are really going to dig this joint.

I'm not, but I still think I'm going to like it. (Vegetarian options nightly will include portabello mushrooms topped with red pepper and their secret sauce, plus frites)

First off, the staff was incredibly welcoming, gracious and astute. They rarely missed a beat and I already feel at home in the warm, chic space (Yanni, who?). I adore the red exposed brick walls, inviting windows and smart bistro tables. The bar invites you to pull up a stool for a glass of wine or pint of beer. And, the bloody mary was one of the best I've had in recent memory (if you are a horseradish slore like me, you'll go nuts on it).

Lastly, though in my book it might go first, desserts. We tried the carrot cake and the apple pie. I think my live tweet said it best: After I have my way with Medium Rare's carrot cake, I want to go home and spoon it. It's huge, so there's another serving in my fridge and I just might do that.

My only complaint was that the menu wasn't sourced. I like knowing where my ingredients come from and the staff couldn't tell me what farm their beef came from. Nerdy locavore question, I realize, but if I had one thing to improve upon that would be it. Either way, I'll be back for more.

As the sign on the door today says, "Show opens and lines form Monday March 28th, 5pm."

Bottom line: Check it out.

Medium Rare is at 3500 Connecticut Avenue NW at Ordway Street. Brunch will be served every Saturday and Sunday. It less than a stone's throw from the Cleveland Park metro stop. Make a reservation, follow them on Twitter and let me know what you think!

Disclosure: Part of my meal was complimentary as this was a dress rehearsal and the restaurant is not officially open. That said, it's worth the hard earned dollars in my bank account. ;)

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  1. Sounds awesome, I'm excited. But I might wait a couple weeks as I guess it will be super crowded for a while! Next up, Tackle Box and the former Cereal Bowl!

  2. Yeah, it's always best to give it a few weeks for the staff to get in the groove. Felt like a fun crowd too, so could be a fun neighborhood bar spot.

  3. At first I was excited about the place until learning about their menu. "Simple menu theme" really means low overhead cost and scrimping. All they are doing is bulk ordering a few things (not the best cuts of meat, potatoes, eggs, etc...not expensive items) and then passing on tremendous cost (relative to the input) to the patrons. To me this just screams wedding catering turned into a restaurant. I will give them the benefit doubt and try them, but I will tamp my excitement in their "specialization" of steak frites unto they merit comparison to an eatery on the Rue Paul Bert

  4. Have you tried em out yet? Medium Rare seems to be doing a solid crowd. I love the patio tables and plan to pop by again soon and investigate the vegetarian option.