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Old Homestead Steak House - Into the Sunset


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The following note popped into my email box over the weekend. Upon reading of the need for "glamourous" women and "dashing" men, my mind instantly turned to the Rockwell Foundation crew.....

in what context I thought of the Rockwells, I will leave to your imagination.

(edited to protect the contact's email address from spam):

We are doing an Opening Party at the Old Homestead Steak House in Bethesda on MOnday, May 23 - and would like to hire the following  types of people to 'jazz it up' a bit...

- "fake" paparazzi... We want people who have their own PROFESSIONAL

TV or Film cameras, preferably WITH external microphones, to interview

the guests

- very attractive "interviewers" to go around with the camera-men and

interview guests.  We would particularly like women who have a

'glamourous' look or 'dashing' men to fill this role

There is Pay.

Please send headshots or other information to:

Natalie_BowersCommunications [AT] yahoo.com

Edited by babka
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I have to agree with JG.  If the place needs jazzing up, does the food need it also?

The original one needs no help jazzing up the food. The steak is not quite as good as Lugar's, but as close and anyone has come. The rest of the fair is far better than Lugar's.

That said, this sounds painfully cheesy.

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It seems to me that if you are opening a new place and want some "buzz", notifying this crowd (or the forum on eG) makes more sense. (See Sonoma).

This makes no sense for this town. A crash and burn in the not too far distant future?

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The original one needs no help jazzing up the food.  The steak is not quite as good as Lugar's, but as close and anyone has come.  The rest of the fair is far better than Lugar's. 

That said, this sounds painfully cheesy.

Forget the steaks. We all know that it is sex that sells. Why do you think I hired Jarad?

By the way the very attractive "interviewers" can already be found at the bars at Cafe Milano or The Prime Rib.

Wait to you see what I have in store for the opening of Silver Spring!!

One hint: The Government of Thailand is involved.

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It seems to me that if you are opening a new place and want some "buzz", notifying this crowd (or the forum on eG) makes more sense.  (See Sonoma).

It all depends on if you want

women who have a

'glamourous' look or 'dashing' men

or people who like good food and spend a lot of money eating in restaurants.

It seems like the goals are quite different. If I was opening a restaurant I know I'd choose the latter. In which case you are all invited.

Edited by bilrus
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Tom was pretty harsh on Old Homestead in the normally boosterish Weekly Dish - looks like they may need to hire some more paparazzi. It certainly didn't read as if it's even going to warrant a full review anytime soon.

Edited by brian
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Tom was pretty harsh on Old Homestead in the normally boosterish Weekly Dish - looks like they may need to hire some more paparazzi. It certainly didn't read as if it's even going to warrant a full review anytime soon.

Maybe the "paparazzi" took Tom's picture?

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http://www.oldhomesteadrestaurant.com/

Though the site seems to be down at the moment. When I checked earlier in the week, it was up, but only mentioned Bethesda as a future location. I'm going on Saturday night, so I'll report back.

Welcome to DR.com DanielK. Looking forward to your report. Thanks for taking one for the team.

Edited by Jacques Gastreaux
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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.theoldhomesteadsteakhouse.com/

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Several years ago one of the most infamous posts that I ever had on Chowhound (now deleted) was about an experience that my wife and I had at the orignal Bice in Milan. I had a reservation that I made several weeks in advance and when we showed up I was asked my name several times by the host. I believe the reason for asking me several times was to confirm that I was an American and there was no confusion about my enunciation. Regardless, we were led down a narrow hall into a room filled with a half dozen four seater tables. Ours' was the last table seated. To our left was a couple from Kobe, Japan. To our right was a group from Lubbock, TX. Two couples from Sante Fe were at the table to the right of them and, directly behind were a party of three from Bremen. Germany. The last table were four women from Finland, all in Milan for a conference.

To the far side of the long hallway was another room. I happened to walk through there later, searching for the bathroom. To the best of my knowledge every single table was filled with those whose native language was Italian.

The waiter in our room was efficient; well, efficient to the point of being brusque, perhaps rude. He took our orders without any consideration for explaining what the restaurant was offering, or even attempting an elementary translation of a single dish. On my first visit to the "toilette" I noted that at least two waiters in the "Italian" room were spending excessive time at the tables they were serving.

Our food was mediocre-when it was finally served. What is important here is that the first couple from our room of nondescripts left after the last couple vacated the "Italian room." For me it is only just that the corporate entity that tolerated, perhaps encouraged or, at the least, allowed this segregation should be later reminded of what they nurtured.

Don't ask me for an opinion about Bice. From my perspective the best thing that ever happened was when they went out of business on Pennsylvania Avenue. I am sorry to hear that they may be coming back... Milan was an experience that I have had nowhere else on Earth. I still have not forgotten how we were treated.

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