OK, so I'm a couple of weeks late on the report.
Let me give you the executive summary, before I go on to the details. And it's one you all knew. Four simple words. Go to Ray's instead
One nice start is that it's on the east side of the Bethesda downtown area, so there's two parking garages right next to the restaurant. For those of you who frequent Bethesda on Friday and Saturday nights, you understand why this is such a big deal.
Even walking in the front door was a let down. Because it's hard to actually find the front door. The whole restaurant is wrapped in tall glass, but there aren't any signs telling you where the entrance is. So we walked around to the left, and saw only the office building and a coffee shop. Walked around to the right, oops, just the parking garage. Walked back
around to the left, went IN to the office building, and there's the entrance to Old Homestead. I looked around afterwards - there is no sign or clue that you need to enter the office building to get to the restaurant.
We were greeted pleasantly and led immediately to our table. The dining room is very airy, with very tall ceilings. It's one floor, but tiered, so the space is open, while individual tables are cozy but not cramped. Very tasteful - not very "steakhouse-like". This was around 7pm on a Saturday night, and the restaurant was at most 25% full, though it was pretty busy when we left near 9pm.
Our starters were Fried Calamari, and the house salad. The calamari was cooked perfectly, and tasted very fresh, but the breading was odd - neither crispy nor soggy, but also not interesting. The house salad had a lot of different tastes and textures - 3 weeks later I can't remember exactly what was in it, but I do remember thinking that I wouldn't have chosen to throw these tastes and textures together, and that I wouldn't order it again.
My wife ordered the 18 oz. Kansas City sirloin, and I got the house signature, the 24 oz. "Gotham Rib Steak". We also got mushrooms on the side, and would have gotten the garlic mashed, but they were out. Who has ever heard of a steakhouse running out of that?
The steaks were very good. Clearly very well aged, prime beef, cooked exactly as ordered. However, and especially the Rib steak, they didn't seem to match the advertised sizes on the menu. I can tell you that if I order two appetizers, two steaks, and two sides at Ray's, Morton's, Charlie Palmer, etc. for my wife and I, we're taking half of the steaks and sides home, and maybe
considering dessert. Here, we completely polished off the steaks, ate half the mushrooms (sauteed in oil with almost no seasoning, so we were bored halfway through), and were ready for dessert. Though I can say that the onion strings that came on the sirloin were magnificent - I could have eaten two plates of them.
Dessert was a first-rate key lime pie (and I grew up in South Florida, so my standards are pretty high), and the "Old Homestead Ho Ho", a reconstruction of the Hostess classic snack cake. I was down with the Kit Kat desconstruction idea, but this didn't work for me because it tasted almost exactly like a Ho Ho. It didn't taste like an $8 Ho Ho, it tasted just like the $0.75 version.
Total for the dinner (2 apps, 2 glasses wine, 2 steaks, one side, 2 desserts, 2 coffees) was just over $180 including tax and 20% tip. Service throughout the meal was efficient and pleasant. Our server had an oddly annoying voice, which I'm not complaining about in any way, but it was odd enough that 3 weeks later I remember the voice more than the service.
The summary, again: Go to Ray's instead
Signed, desperately awaiting Ray's Classic.
P.S. Got the website wrong in the previous post. It's http://www.theoldhom...steakhouse.com/