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Medium Rare - Local Chain with $19.50 Steak Frites (and a Second Helping)

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I've kept this quiet for weeks out of professional courtesy, but you'll hear about it very soon anyway, so you may as well hear it here first.

Breaking News: Brian Zipin will be GM (and a partner) of Medium Rare, a sub-$20 American-style steak frites restaurant opening in late February in the old Yanni's space. Behind the operation? Mark Bucher of BGR was one of the creators, and none other than Michel Richard was (quietly) involved with developing sauces and desserts, but Brian and Tom Gregg (past President of Cuisine Solutions) are involved as non-silent partners.

Cheers,
Rocks

PS Don't ever underestimate Michael Landrum - the guy gets around. But I've been told ... no sous vide (and I asked "are you sure? about ten times). So you weren't quite right, Michael! smile.gif

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I've kept this quiet for weeks out of professional courtesy, but you'll hear about it very soon anyway, so you may as well hear it here first.

Breaking News: Brian Zipin will be GM (and a partner) of Medium Rare, a sub-$20 American-style steak frites restaurant opening in late February in the old Yanni's space. Behind the operation? Mark Bucher of BGR was one of the creators, and none other than Michel Richard was (quietly) involved with developing sauces and desserts, but Brian and Tom Gregg (past President of Cuisine Solutions) are involved as non-silent partners.

Cheers,

Rocks

PS Don't ever underestimate Michael Landrum - the guy gets around. But I've been told ... no sous vide (and I asked "are you sure? about ten times). So you weren't quite right, Michael! :)

Actually, I didn't have to get around at all, not even to the Parker Meridien--it came to me. I just noticed them dining in my house, and just like with Timothy Dean, did the math.

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Actually, I didn't have to get around at all, not even to the Parker Meridien--it came to me. I just noticed them dining in my house, and just like with Timothy Dean, did the math.

I've been wondering what Brian was up to. Really looking forward to this :)

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Any word on when Medium Rare will open? I think the initial press said the target date was end of Feb. I've seen a bunch of construction going on inside, but still looks like it is ongoing. I can't wait to check out this new addition to the neighborhood.

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Damn! I have been working for YEARS to get my Appelation Controlee designation.

Congratulations!

Looking forward to at least one new fish restaurant to balance the steaks, pizza, Italian, Cuban, 88 course tasting menus, cupcakes, and BBQ. Any suggestions?

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Opening Monday, according to Sietsema.

Yes, that is what Mark Bucher told me was the plan as well.

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Looking forward to at least one new fish restaurant to balance the steaks, pizza, Italian, Cuban, 88 course tasting menus, cupcakes, and BBQ. Any suggestions?

Watershed.

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Yes, that is what Mark Bucher told me was the plan as well.

Walked by today. Looks to be very much on track for Monday open. Tables set. Staff training. Knives hung on magnet board in kitchen. They won't be doing lunch initially. Outdoor tables and chairs once the weather warms. Super addition to the 'hood--can't wait to try. Hope we get the chef/principals on the board soon! Doesn't Rocks usually twist whatever arms to make that happen when cool and interesting new spots open? :)

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Walked by today. Looks to be very much on track for Monday open. Tables set. Staff training. Knives hung on magnet board in kitchen. They won't be doing lunch initially. Outdoor tables and chairs once the weather warms. Super addition to the 'hood--can't wait to try. Hope we get the chef/principals on the board soon! Doesn't Rocks usually twist whatever arms to make that happen when cool and interesting new spots open? :)

Sure they aren't already here? :)

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Sure they aren't already here? :)

Peek a Boo!

Excellent! And, in less than one hour from the time the question was posed. Best of luck, Mr. Bucher--though I'm guessing you won't need it, never hurts to have it.

This dr.com forum is indeed a different deal than all else out there in the cloud. Rocks, maybe you can wave a wand and make something in the loooong vacated McDonald's space in Cleveland Park---Tackle Box or otherwise---actually appear by summer? Know it's supposed to be open soon but...not a lot of noise or activity from inside and we've seen that movie before.

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Excellent! And, in less than one hour from the time the question was posed. Best of luck, Mr. Bucher--though I'm guessing you won't need it, never hurts to have it.

This dr.com forum is indeed a different deal than all else out there in the cloud. Rocks, maybe you can wave a wand and make something in the loooong vacated McDonald's space in Cleveland Park---Tackle Box or otherwise---actually appear by summer? Know it's supposed to be open soon but...not a lot of noise or activity from inside and we've seen that movie before.

UM.... there has been significant work going on in the Tackle Box space since January when they received their permits from the city. I mean, they've been nearly been working around the clock. Yesterday I noticed they had a "we're hiring" notice up in the window. I believe I've read they plan to open by the end of April.

In the meantime, I popped in Medium Rare's space and it's super attractive. It will be a great asset to the neighborhood.

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This blog write-up shared a most interesting nugget of information:

You’re welcome to have seconds on your steak and fries! Once you’ve had a chance to work through most of your initial plate, a server will come to you with a hot plate of sliced steak, a bowl of fries and a pitcher of sauce. Just say the word, and all this can be yours for no additional charge.

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With Brian out front and Cédric in the kitchen, this place is going to be fantastic. Can't wait to check it out for myself :)

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Totally checks out. Just back from a great experience on Medium Rare's first night. As expected, Mark, Brian, Cedric and Tom are clearly on to something.

My SO: "Really liked it. I'm so glad it's here."

Friend: "Excellent; great f++king deal"

Me: "Really good. Super value. Will do very well"

As we already know, it's a very simple and focused concept. On menu, just the fixed set of salad, cap steak and frites. 4-5 each on red wines, whites and beers.

I most appreciate three things about MR:

1. Value: pretty astonishing relative to other spots around town. "Seconds" on cap steak--are you kidding me? [they weren't]. Nice-sized salad. Generous portion of bread. Seconds on frites if requested. All for $19.50. Tough--maybe impossible (?) to beat that. Be sure to order plenty of drinks as I fear they're not making any margin on food (kidding...kind of).

2. Humor and Accessibility. Love it. Tom out front couldn't have been nicer or warmer. Likewise Brian who was all over the dining room and just exemplifies the professional and hospitable owner/host. Listen carefully in the rest rooms. French pickup line lessons waft downward from ceiling-embedding speakers and include gems like: "I have a hot tub in my house, " "You are soooo bee-yoo-ti-ful" and, my personal fave "My name is Gerard." Not a shred of pretentiousness in this place. The brick walls aren't just gorgeous and exposed; in spots they're rough patched in ways only a true non-professional could do. Note on the menu that each item is shouted in bold caps in English and then small, lower case, italicized french.

3. Quality. No joke here. They've focused very narrowly, had to do what they do well and...they are. Item by item:

- bread: this was the first sign of what was to come. Knew I'd had this pain campagne before. Excellent, fresh, airy, crusty and...the same as that served at Citronelle from Panorama.

- salad: very fresh greens with a few grape tomato halves very lightly dressed with a mustard viniagrette. I'd have liked mine to be a bit more dressed which I'm guessing they'd have done had I asked.

- cap steak: really tasty and super generous on portions even before the "seconds." I was told they're sourcing from three farms currently. One local (maybe VA?), Allen and then a third I didn't get. I'd like to learn more about that. Minor nit that a couple of us ordered the steak medium rare and it came out more slightly right of medium but this wasn't a big deal for three reasons. First, it was still delicious. Second, our seconds were spot on. And, third, Brian told us what was already obvious to us: if anything isn't as we like, simply let them know and they'll fix it.

- the secret sauce: to be honest, this wasn't life changing for me given the build up but it was very tasty. Wine, mushrooms, beef stock/jus, fresh pepper.....not sure what else. Loved getting an extra small pitcher of it with our seconds.

- frites. Excellent. Thin, hot and crispy. I was really glad to see that they're hand-cutting the frites, especially knowing how labor intensive that is and how many other places opt out and buy them pre-cut. It makes such a difference. These alone are a reason to try MR.

- drinks. keeping the choices minimal and the menu simple, they have put clear thought into the mix. On beers, they're offering the 8.5% Delerium Tremens for $8, an interesting pilsner and then the more pedestrian choices of Harpoon and Miller light. Something for everyone. I also had a nice burgundy they were pouring instead of a listed beaujolais but we didn't try the other wines.

- dessert. we really didn't have much room left but felt compelled to at least give one a try. Saving the monster sized fudge layer cake, sundae and cheesecake (NYC) for future visits, we opted for an apple pie slice with vanilla ice cream. It was surprisingly good with fresh crisp apples, a nice crust and not overly sweet. The Ice cream and a latte were less remarkable. I didn't ask what coffee they're using but suspect that may be a good upgrade opportunity.

I think MR is gong to do very well. It started slowly at open but was nearly full by 7:30. The staff all seemed very friendly and reasonably efficient for the first night--that'll of course only get better with time. It's a great formula, a comfortable neighborhood spot that will draw from beyond CP with no trouble. All very tasty. And, really phenomenal value.

Welcome to CP, Medium Rare. Very glad you're here. :)

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