PHOTO: Hand-Cut Steak Tartare at Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons Washington, D.C. (c) Sery Kim
The Four Seasons Washington, D.C. has been my home-away-from home for the better part of four years. In fact, I am so familiar with the hotel, I actually spent Christmas there in 2016! So, whenever I have a truly special occasion, I try to wrap the Four Seasons into it because I know they will turn a brilliant evening out into something above-and-beyond magical. Yet, despite having these expectations of the hotel, this past Friday night Bourbon Steak at The Four Seasons Washington, D.C. went higher than my already high bar to conjure up a mind-blowing evening to celebrate my favorite guy being promoted.
PHOTO: Kaiyo Whisky presentation at Bourbon Steak (c) Sery Kim
On an average night, Bourbon Steak is incredibly packed but, particularly on a Friday night, guests should expect to book a table weeks in advance. I also highly recommend being asked to be seated in the section of the large dining space where the kitchen is located. This way you feel very much engaged to the performance of the kitchen rather than being seated in a quintessential hotel restaurant space.
Drinks also are a must, particularly the wonderful Japanese-focused whisky menu. Be sure to ask for a Kaiyo Whisky Tasting (or any other tasting) as they roll a cart to your table -- much akin to how restaurants do with dessert and cheese carts at the end of a meal -- to walk diners through the complex, award-winning process of Japanese dark liquids. In fact, I loved my Kaiyo Whisky so much I could barely sip my signature Bourbon Steak drink, the "Mrs. Jefferson," as any mix or sugar feels grossly saccharine compared to the elegant smoke of the Kaiyo, and for once in my entire Four Seasons Washington, D.C. career left my first (!) Mrs. Jefferson unfinished!!!!
PHOTO: The stunning Scallop Crudo (c) Sery Kim
The kitchen is currently helmed by the genial yet gregarious Executive Chef Drew Adams. This Baltimore-born Chef previously cooked at Michelin-starred Plume, Rose’s Luxury and the Dabney before joining the high-wattage crowd at Bourbon Steak in late 2017. With such a rich pedigree, Drew is very comfortable with the Four Seasons' clientele (who are steeped in the culture of being generously catered to), and he comfortably dances the personable outreach required for expensive kitchens to succeed in D.C. with ease.
We decided to let Drew guide us through the diner rather than to aggressively pick dishes we wanted, particularly with our appetizers. After comfortably lingering over our welcome Champagne, and of course no visit to Bourbon Steak is complete without some Duck Fat Fries and Parker House Rolls, Drew began to flood our senses with two appetizers tasting even better than the photos. In particular the exquisite Scallop Crudo wasn't bigger than 3 ounces but every taste was a gentle crescendo of complex, butter-based textures. Of course, since I adore caviar with a passion, it certainly helped to have a dash of it as a garnish!
PHOTO: Overwhelmed with Japanese steaks at Bourbon Steak (c) Sery Kim
For our main course, we knew we would order some of the exquisite selection of Japanese steak. After much consideration, we decided the $100 per ounce Sanuki Wagyu was a bit more than we could manage; however, we thought the "Trio of A5" would be the ideal mix. World Wide Wagyu pieces all from Kagoshima, Japan -- the A5 Rib Cap ($40 per ounce), the A5 Rib Eye ($42 per ounce) and the A5 NY Strip ($44 per ounce) -- are combined into a trio of three ounces per for $320. But what came out was an mind-blowing array of steaks. Not only did Drew bring us three ounces of the Sanuki, which is the best steak I've ever had in my life, but the trio and multiple 16 ounce steaks from the U.S.
The sensual Sanuki Wagyu required absolutely no sauces, side or any form of seasoning -- it would be sacreligious to even add it, in my opinion! Every bite was an awakening of the fatty-olive-based juice this holy grail of Japanese cattle are raised on. I savored it as the treasure it was by slowly taking tiny bites of this morsel. Of course, the other steaks were beautiful as well but I just couldn't get over the delivery of the Sanuki. So spoiled!
PHOTO: Us unintentionally matching at Bourbon Steak (c) Sery Kim
We ate so much meat we could barely manage dessert. Thankfully, owner Michael Mina is used to this very full sensation of his guests and actually has on his dessert menu cookies to go. Two orders of that and I literally passed out in the car ride home! Wonderful!
Thank you again to the incredible team at Bourbon Steak. It was a night we will not soon forget!