Dear PoP – Medium Rare in Cleveland Park is Awesome

“Dear PoP,

Have recently relocated to Cleveland Park and checked out Medium Rare on their official opening night on Monday. Loved it! Simple menus, clean interior, great music, insanely attentive staff… more importantly – best steak I’ve had in this city! Can’t wait to hear what you and all your readers think – here’s to a great new addition to the neighborhood!”

Medium Rare is located at 3500 Connecticut Ave, NW. The early word has been 100% positive. While I’m still sad that Yanni’s is now a trivia question – I can’t wait to try this place out given all the positive buzz. Though I’m a little frightened about one small sentence from their Web site: “Line starts forming at 5pm”…

While they’re open for brunch on Sat. and Sun. I hope they one day open for lunch during the week!

Anyone else have an early word?

18 Comment

  • Had dinner here last night. It was very good. The steak was cooked as ordered and the big surprise is you get a second helping of steak and fries. They also have Harpoon and a decent selection of wine (no word on a happy hour, though). For $20 it was a great deal and I left full and satisfied.

    There are a couple kinks to work out as with any restaurant in its early days – my second portion was considerably more tender than the first and the bit on the menu about a “line” forming at 5 p.m. is silly. Prove you deserve a line, have a line, THEN tell everyone about it! Between 6-8 last night there was no line.

    I hope this place does well. I will be back.

  • How do they know the line starts forming at 5pm? What if people want to start the line earlier, or what if no one shows up at 5?

  • I remember in a previous thread there was a conversation about whether they would offer anything for vegetarians, and I have a faint memory that someone said they would. Can someone speak to this?

  • Supposedly there is a portabella mushroom off-menu option

  • I was at Medium Rare on Tuesday – the second night of operations – and was not at all impressed. The service was completely off, which is mostly expected of a new restaurant working out its kinks, but the staff did an absolutely non-existent job of setting expectations or explaining the concept. I came in already knowing that it was a simple “one dish only” menu, but had I not I would have been completely confused. We were presented with a menu that contained a beer/wine list on one side, and “steak frites” on the other. We ordered a bottle of wine and two steaks medium rare. 15 minutes later a table was seated next to us and ordered one steak and one portobella. Salads and bread came out and were tasty. A few minutes after we finished our very tasty bread and salad (all things going well at this point) the food runner brought two steaks out from the kitchen. He looked mildly confused, then set the plates down on the table next to us. One of the patrons informed him that he had ordered the vegetarian option, and the runner left one plate on the table and removed the other to be replaced.

    Clearly these were intended to be our steaks, but we went another 15 minutes without being checked on by a member of the waitstaff (and we couldn’t catch anyone’s attention, either.) By this point it was apparent that our order had been botched and forgotten, but no one acknowledged this, apologized, or even bothered to say ours would be out soon. By the time our meal finally did arrive, the table next to us had finished their first plates as well as seconds, and were in the process of paying their bill.

    Our plates contained a heaping portion of fresh fries (yum), rivers of rich sauce (yum) and a TINY, measly three hors d’oeuvre-sized slices of bland, unseasoned beef that had been cooked well past our requested medium rare. Again – an explanation of the concept (“here’s a small portion to get you started, we’ll bring you another fresh cut in a few minutes”) would have gone a long way. Alas, the server just set these sad looking portions in front of us and walked away and didn’t bother inquiring if the steaks were cooked to the temp of our liking – a key question when it’s the ONLY part of your order for them to get right.

    A second round was brought around in a much larger serving than the original portion (following the common theme, with no explanation – it was presented almost as if the kitchen had leftovers). The second steak was better and much closer to our requested medium rare (mine was still a bit overdone, but my companion’s was perfect) but still didn’t taste like a quality piece of steak, or a well-flavored one. We left fairly disappointed by the entire experience.

    If you are going to do one thing, steak, it needs to be done flawlessly – even if at a low price point. Great concept, but the execution was not even close to it’s potential. I won’t be rushing back.

    • In other words, a shit show. Thanks for the heads-up. Their steaks would have to be free in order to make up for that level of quality and service deficiencies.

  • I was at Medium Rare on Tuesday – the second night of operations – and was not at all impressed.

  • lost the rest of my comment…I think the 2nd night of operation is too early for a lengthy 5 paragraph negative review…

  • I went on the second night of operation and thought it was amazing. I will be back, and it finally gives me a solid reason to drag people up to my hood.

  • anon 1:31 can’t have much else going for her in life

  • WTF? What a precious concept. What if I want baked potato or chicken or rockfish with crab imperial? Weak.

  • so awesome. where do i even start. went with a friend last night and was seriously impressed. we sat at the bar and i have to say, the service was pretty impeccable for a place that’s been open for 3 full days. the bread is from a local bakery in virginia and is served warm. the salad was a bit lacking in accouterments (it’s really just lettuce and few cherry tomatoes) but the dressing was great. unlike some in the previous comments, i found the steak to be the true standout of the meal: cooked to perfection with some rich but not-too-rich mustardy sauce on top that’s also perfect for fries-dipping. we topped off the meal with a MASSIVE hot fudge sundae (featuring real hot fudge, not that hershey’s syrup BS, and vanilla ice cream from giffords. ridiculous.) also, the co-owner was on site making sure things were running smoothly. he came and chatted with us, and its clear he has a vested interest in the community and in the food. other pluses — very attentive bartender, delirium on tap, and they’ll be offering 100 proof vodka bloody marys at brunch.

  • Simply put, not that impressive. Bread and salad were simple. But bread and salad is inherently simple and good. Therefore, neither “artisan bread” nor iceberg lettuce with fatty vinagrette style dressing is that big a deal.

    As for the steak frites. Both steaks we ordered were cooked right, but its sirloin steak, and tastes like something anybody could cook up on the grill. They also put a dijon based sauce on the steak. Again not bad, but it took away from what little flavor the steak had. The frites were good, but again, they are just french fries.

    For the price, 19.95, you can’t really beat the portion size, but I would have rather spent 10 more dollars and gotten the same thing done much better at Bistrot du Coin or have gotten a porterhouse at one of the Ray’s locations.

    The deserts looked good, an enormous serving of ice cream can redeem any meal, but I had some mint choco chip in the freezer at home and took a pass.

    Lastly, the service. The food came in a reasonable amount of time. Our waiter was just incredibly awkward in trying to explain the concept.

    Overall, a lot of mediocre food for relatively cheap, considring the fact that it is in fact steak. However, if you’re in the mood for a really good steak, this is definitely not the place to go.

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