The Occidental Grill

Boy, do we owe you a lot of blog posts. I swear I have good reasons for being MIA. I’m currently in finals mode, so I’ll be pretty absent until after May 4th. Be forewarned.

Anyway, last week was “Cinderella Week” in the life of Rosemary. Between drinks with the LRW section to celebrate the end of every law student’s (least) favorite class, Diplomatic Ball at the Willard, and Barrister’s Ball (aka Law School Prom) at the Grand Hyatt, very little cooking or studying has gone down. I win the prize for worst 1L that week.

The best part of the weekend, however, was that the best friend was in town. I’d wax poetic about Josh, but I think that would embarrass him. That and I prefer to bombard him with compliments in person. In any case, he was a wonderful date, and I wish he still lived in the District (MAJOR HINT, JOSHUA).

My dashing date and the Willard

Before we went to Dip Ball on Friday night, Josh was generous enough to take me out for a fancy dinner at The Occidental Grill in the Willard. I know, pricey. But damn do they make an excellent steak. The restaurant was founded in 1906 and quickly gained a reputation as one of the most fashionable and credible dining institutions in the District. The place has had its ups-and-downs–including a closing in the 1970s. But, a few rounds of renovation later, it remains one of the most famous restaurants in Washington, D.C. The main dining room boasts a photo gallery of past guests that includes the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, and past presidents. The walls practically scream history.

Our meal was delicious and perfectly suited to the elegant atmosphere. The service was wonderful. Our waiter was very knowledgeable about what wine paired well with the meal and about what cocktails would be most refreshing.

We started our meal with cocktails (a strawberry rhubarb sangria for me and a lavender collins for Josh) and calamari–which was garnished with seaweed and served with a slightly sweet chili dipping sauce. While the calamari were delicious, I think Josh and I both agreed that what “made” the dish was the seaweed. It tasted great with the sauce and the texture provided a welcome contrasting bite.

Then, we embarked on steaks. I’m not much of a meat person, but I love a good steak. I went with the classic Filet Mignon served atop some Swiss chard and a portobello mushroom. The vegetables were delicious–though a tad salty for my taste. The steak was perfect. I like might meat on the medium/medium-rare side, and the filet was cooked to perfection. I had a glass of the Carpe Diem Cabernet Savignon–a full-bodied, slightly bitter red–at my waiter’s suggestion.

Josh went with the New York Strip Steak which was MASSIVE and came with onion rings. The onion rings went untouched because this was just a daunting cut of meat. That being said, Josh did pretty well. I was impressed. Sure, it put him in a food coma, but I think it was worth it.

Our side dishes weren’t THAT notable–some basic grilled asparagus and sauteed mushrooms for Josh. We also barely touched them because we grossly underestimated the size of our steaks.

Neither of us finished our meal because we were stuffed and had a ball to attend, but I would definitely return to the Occidental for a special occasion. It’ll be fun to see which of my friends winds up on their walls of fame in a few years 😉

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