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7 Dishy Details About D.C.’s Dining Illuminati

A recent Washingtonian feature reveals how local restaurants cater to big shots

President And Mrs Trump Host National Day Of Prayer Service At White House
Ivanka Trump reportedly impressed staff at Masseria after asking people at her table to be quiet and let waiters describe the dishes.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Washingtonian magazine published an extensive feature online yesterday in which food editor Jessica Sidman pulls back the curtain on the lengths swanky D.C. restaurants take to make the city’s upper crust feel comfortable.

The story is full of priceless intel such as how how a maitre d’ might manage the egos of political big-wigs when reservations show people from opposing parties seated at tables right next to each other. Go here to read the whole thing and learn who gets complimentary private cars home from Minibar by José Andrés, or which restaurant stays open late to serve Washington Wizards players after overtime games.

In the meantime, here are seven of the juiciest tidbits included throughout the piece:

Maybe Trump doesn’t put ketchup on steak: Badger Russell, a former waiter at the BLT Prime steakhouse inside the Trump International Hotel in D.C., tells Sidman that President Donald Trump’s reported affinity for pouring ketchup on his (always well-done) steak isn’t a thing. Russell says he only saw the president put ketchup on fries.

Kamala Harris puts ice in her wine: Bartender Zac Hoffman tells Sidman that Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris once asked for cup of ice so she could drop cubes into a glass of (presumably chilled) white wine. A quick Google search reveals opinions are mixed about whether this still constitutes a drinking no-no. The senator from California has much bigger obstacles to tackle, of course.

Ivanka is the best kind of shusher: When she’s not busy pretending to be the voice of reason and empathy for her father’s chaotic administration, Ivanka Trump is actually a considerate diner. A former Masseria employee tells Sidman that Trump won over the staff at the tony Italian tasting room near Union Market by telling people to pipe down while servers were busy describing the dishes. Trump also reportedly handled a delicate situation with aplomb when she offered to take selfies with customers who ambushed her with camera phones as she was leaving the bathroom.

Stephen Miller is a man of the people?! One anonymous restaurateur tells Sidman that Trump advisor Stephen Miller, a staunch voice against immigration, rebuffed attempts to be seated in an inconspicuous table in the corner. Despite being confronted by angry customers and staff at multiple restaurants, Miller always asked for a seat in the middle of the dining room.

Herman Cain can really hold his liquor: Herman Cain, the former Godfather Pizza executive and 2012 presidential candidate, reportedly impressed staff at Kith and Kin inside the InterContinental at the Wharf by downing copious doubles of Crown Royal. “He handles it like a champion,” a bartender tells Sidman. Cain, who was immortalized on Arrested Development, was last seen withdrawing from consideration for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board.

Rex Tillerson doesn’t know where to order the good stuff: Former Secretary of State and Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson reportedly went into Mirabelle one night looking to order a round of Louis XIII cognac, which retails for more than $3,000 a bottle and costs hundreds of dollars for a shot. The restaurant didn’t have it.

Newt Gingrich drinks cheap white: Maxwell Park owner Brent Kroll tells Sidman that Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House and onetime presidential candidate, always ordered “the cheapest Italian white we had” at the St. Regis hotel. Former President Barack Obama would go for reasonably priced domestic wines.

BLT Prime by David Burke

1100 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, , DC 20004 (202) 868-5100 Visit Website


1340 4th Street Northeast, , DC 20002 (202) 608-1330 Visit Website

Kith and Kin

801 Wharf Street Southwest, , DC 20024 (202) 878-8566 Visit Website


900 16th Street Northwest, , DC 20006 (202) 506-3833 Visit Website