Dallas-based Del Frisco's Grille opened its very first DC location on Pennsylvania Avenue a couple of weeks back, complete with a wall of wine, an indoor/outdoor bar and premixed shots on tap. So what do Washingtonians think so far about the boozy steakhouse that took over the old Les Halles space? It's time now to check in on that very question with the early word from the early diners.
The Failed Fusion News: The City Paper's Jessica Sidman had a few observations from her early visit, particularly regarding the cheesesteak egg rolls: "The cheesesteak egg rolls are as greasy as they sound. But then again, have you ever had an egg roll or cheesesteak that wasn't greasy? We wouldn't turn them down after one too many beers on a late night. But served on a fancy white plate with long sprigs of green onion as garnish? It's like 7-Up in a Champagne flute. Aside from the fact that the egg rolls contain beef and cheese, the dish doesn't really evoke cheesesteaks. And as far as egg rolls go, the wrapper was too thick and bread-y. Fusion fail." [WCP]
The Solid News: Though an Urbanspooner points out that "this is a bar with a restaurant built around it," the first impression is still favorable: "The menu is in line with a modern steak house with all the usual suspects. Be careful as the portion sizes can be quite large (unnecessarily). The Heirloom tomatoe salad was easily big enough for two along with the short rib stroganoff. That being said, the food was solid if not extraordinary and the wine list is very fair with good prices. In one word, Del Frisco's is "entertaining" and thus worth a visit." [Urbanspoon]
The Skeptical Booze News: One Yelper seems skeptical of Del Frisco's decision to pre-mix shots and put them on tap: "Before we start, I want to start off by saying that the bartending forefathers are now rolling over in their graves... Four of the specialty cocktails are pre-made and served from beer type taps. Really? Okay..." [Yelp]
The Good If Confused News: The Hungry Lobbyist writes a dish-by-dish review that, while mostly positive, points to a potential identity crisis: "Overall, the food was cooked properly, tasted great, the appetizers were amazing and everything was hot and reasonably priced. However I left the table a bit perplexed. Was this a American grill (the “frites” on the menu suggest otherwise)? Is this a grab-and-go in-and-out restaurant? There were several “knife-and-fork” entrees as well as sandwiches, maybe it’s catering to the downtown DC business lunch crowd? But the menu is very mixed and prices seem below average for the type of restaurants that typically serve for downtown business lunch establishments. There were a handful of families and tourists, maybe they are riding that gap between both? Maybe they don’t know yet, and there is nothing wrong with that." [The Hungry Lobbyist]
The Bad Service News: One Yelper had a great experience with the food but not so much with the service: "I went to the new DF on Pennsylvania for the first time last evening, and I have to admit, I have mixed feelings. The food was excellent, and the portions were a decent size; however, I'm not so sure about the service. I think this DF is still too "new", which is why the restaurant seems over crowded with staff just walking around looking confused. Also, our server did not know what was on tap, and did not seem super confident in the menu." [Yelp]
The Good Save News: Another Yelper notes the service, too, but suggests that at least the staff was making up for these mishaps: "A colleague of mine ordered the tuna steak, but got the tuna salad. We didn't have time to wait with a 1pm conference call quickly approaching, so he went ahead and kept the dish. We must say...it probably was the best mistake a restaurant can make, because the word across the table was that seared tuna salad was the best ever. I know what I'm getting next time I dine at this place! After the mishap, the manager came right up to the table apologizing about the mix up and the general manger came a minute later with more apologies and comped that entree. I must say- that made our experience." [Yelp]
The Hot Waitstaff News: DCist checked out the opening party and apparently also the female employees at Del Frisco's: "At the opening party, every cocktail-dress-clad hostess was gorgeous or enthusiastic, but none more than the two ladies beckoning guests to try the restaurant's signature cocktails filtered through a luge carved out of an ice sculpture of the Del Frisco's logo." [DCist]