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Charlie Palmer Steak, Chef Mike Ellis Comes Back to Capitol Hill from Sonoma County


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Last night, I had a great meal at Charlie Palmer Steak. The menu had just been updated for spring/summer to add some seasonal elements. There's a chilled corn chowder with lobster and avocado, for example, as well as buffalo mozzarella and heirloom tomato "composed salad."

I had been to CPS before and liked the whole experience, the food, etc. but this time, I came away loving the place. Everything about our meal was more personal which added to the experience, IMO, greatly.

The visit didn't start off all that auspiciously. I found that our bartender wasn't very friendly, but she made my mother a rave-worthy vodka martini so...whatever. Not long after we arrived a drunk and loud rowdy crew (in jeans, no less) rolled in and caused a little commotion in the bar area. Some members of the party seemed to know the other (male) bartender and I could see that he was uncomfortable. They were seated in a quiet part of the restaurant quickly in order to get them out of the way.

About our food:

IMO, the bread service could be improved. I like having options (ciabatta or kalamata olive last night), but the bread is served almost cold and with unsalted butter. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar came later, but was probably intended for the salads. Warm bread makes a big difference, I think.

Mom had the romaine salad with fried pancetta and blue cheese. I had some of the crisp bacon and it was delicious. Dad had the mixed greens. My friend and I shared the buffalo mozzarella. It was fine (my friend really liked it), but I've had some really excellent buffalo mozzarella lately and this just wasn't on par with the best of that lot. Perhaps it was bland? Maybe.

Mom and Dad both had the CPS surf & turf, filet mignon with butter poached lobster and loved it. I tried the lobster - unusual for me, yes I know - and really enjoyed it. I had the marinated hangar steak (at $29, it's one of the lower priced entrees) and had zero regrets. It was SO GOOD, a cut of beef I pretty much always enjoy cooked a perfect medium rare and full of flavor. My friend had the lobster, also butter poached, and ate every last bit of it.

Our sides were great - the most buttery (buttery-est?) mashed potatoes, asparagus and a new-to-the-menu creamed corn.

When I was last at CPS, I had the bittersweet chocolate dessert and wasn't crazy about it, but I remembered enjoying my companion's sorbet a lot; I steered the group in that direction. Instead of the mix of ice creams and sorbets we had last time, we were served six little scoops - two each of mango, blueberry and rasperry. So delicious and perfect for summer.

At the end of the night, we asked the wonderful host Martin if we could see the view from the roof deck (used only for private events). Upon exiting the elevator, you have a lovely view of the Capitol, brightly lit against the night sky. I suspected it would be a very enjoyable experience for my visiting parents, which is why I made the request to go up there, and I am so happy I did. It was an enjoyable end to a special night.

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chilled corn chowder with lobster and avocado

They had this abomination last summer. I cannot believe they brought it back. The soup lacked any corn flavor, sort of reminded me of cold dish water, and while they claimed that there was lobster in the dish, it was presented as a foam, and like the insipid soup was revolting. This soup ranks at the bottom of dishes I have ever had anywhere.

However, the steaks are always good.

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At the end of the night, we asked the wonderful host Martin if we could see the view from the roof deck (used only for private events).  Upon exiting the elevator, you have a lovely view of the Capitol, brightly lit against the night sky.  I suspected it would be a very enjoyable experience for my visiting parents, which is why I made the request to go up there, and I am so happy I did.  It was an enjoyable end to a special night.

It is quite a view. I used to work at 101 Constitution and a bunch of us would go up there to eat lunch.

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I had another fabulous dinner at CPS last night. The hanger steak, served a perfect medium rare, creamed corn and the goat cheese pasta gratin (the first time I'd had it - so great).

The only low point was the chilled corn chowder with lobster and avocado. I think someone may have tried to warn me (and the group) here or elsewhere, I have a hard time saying no to corn chowder. Damn, I should have listened. I really don't see how anyone can find this soup edible.

We stuck with the cooler dessert menu options. Dad and BF both had the sorbets - I ate most of the raspberry. Mom had her own little sundae of vanilla ice cream with hot fudge. It's not on the menu, but our server was happy to oblige her request.

A bit of weirdness: the presence of two separate really, really intoxicated folks, and one nearly naked prostitute (separate from the drunkards). One of the drunk guys nearly took me out as I headed to the ladies room and he was walking back to his table. He really couldn't remain upright and walking.

The other guy was making all kinds of crazy animal noises as he and his friend dined at the table adjacent to ours. We ignored him, but on our way out, we saw the lovely host Martin trying to reason with him. Apparently he had paid his bill ($1,045), but not left a single dollar tip. Poor Martin somehow got charged with the task of conveying this information, and the guy was so drunk that he just didn't comprehend.

As for the hooker, she was wearing a stretchy blue dress, kind of like a figure skater would wear, but cut down to...well, THERE. She made out intermittently with her really homely date. I don't get the logic of taking a hooker to CPS, but that's just me, I guess.

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As for the hooker, she was wearing a stretchy blue dress, kind of like a figure skater would wear, but cut down to...well, THERE.  She made out intermittently with her really homely date.  I don't get the logic of taking a hooker to CPS, but that's just me, I guess.

Interestingly enough - I'm pretty sure jenrus and I were seated next to a hooker and client when we went to Charlie Palmer Steak earlier this year.

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I had that same corn chowder, I believe, two summers ago. It perfectly resembled school room paste in looks, consistency and taste.

I can not understand how this chef continues to ruin such an easy dish, and how it remains on the menu.

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I got sucked in my aforementioned affection for corn chowder, my love of avocado and my newfound, uh, "interest" in lobster.

But this was truly awful. The avocado was a little clump in the middle with something crunchy and oniony tasting. And the soup itself...irredeemable. I was hoping they would notice how little I ate and quietly remove it from the bill. They did not so I take responsibility for our paying for it - the dinner was one I was nervous about for non-food0-related reasons.

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Had a fantastic meal at CPS the other night. First off the Fois Gras App. is my vote for best deal in the city. I've really never seen that much duck liver on a plate before. Very good. This was accompanied with a Sine Qua Non Whispering E which was stunning. I had the Sonoma Duck which was perfectly done with a side of the Chanterelle's. Again very generous portions and wonderfully prepared. If I went to buy in whole foods the amount of Chants they give you it would have cost me 20 bucks. My brother had the Waygu and while he raved he also said it wasn't worth the $$. Nadine Brown is a wonderfull Somm. and Martin as ever a gracious host. I'll be back.....as soon as I put some dollars back in the bank.

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Hangar steak. My favorite, although I always have that cheap date/"I don't want to be a burden" feeling when I order it because it's among the least expensive CPS entrees, if not THE least expensive. Still, I love it.

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I was reminded today of how wonderful it is to have available the prix fixe lunch option at CPS. I had the sweet yellow corn chowder, the flatiron steak, the berry shortcake, and a very affordable $9 wine pairing (a chardonnay and cab). All items met expectations and a few tastes left a mark--the tarragon cream in the shortcake plays brilliantly off the berry sorbet and the parmesan and herb gnocchi ordered for the table were rich and decadent without being overly weighty.

On too many occasions, including today, I change my order from fish to steak. They do fish beautifully; I would do well to remember that.

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Went to Charlie Palmer's for lunch today for RW (they are not doing dinner for RW) to take a someone from the office for her birthday.

Their RW lunch menu is:

1st Course

Baby Spinach Salad with Four Minute Egg, parma ham, grilled portabello mushrooms, and golden shallot vinaigrette

Sauteed Skate Wing, parmesan gnocchi, baby arugula, olive tapanade vinaigrette

Sweet Currried Cauliflower Soup, roasted red pepper oil, pistachio and brown butter foam

2 nd Course

Roasted Free Range Chicken, forest mushroom risotto, cipollini onions, creamed corn

Marinated Grilled Hanger Steak , braised broccoli raab, glazed rutabaga, red wine and shallot maramalade

Hickory Scented Atlantic Salmon, braised leeks and creamer potatoes, lemon thyme natural with whole grain mustard

Dessert

Chocolate Caramel Mousse, caramel sauce, roasted banana ice cream, chocolate lace tuile

Chocolate Hazelnut Pyramid, praline anglaise and crisp filo

Trio of Creme Brulee, chocolate, espresso with cinamon foam, classic vanilla, almond biscotti

I had the Sauteed Skate Wing, hanger steak, and Chocolate Caramel Mousse. She had the Cauliflower Soup, hanger steak, and trio of creme brulle. All were excellent and not at all skimpy, in fact my friend couldn't finish the steak or dessert. Service was excellent, the room very nice we had a great meal. Excellent choice for lunch, I'll have to go back for dinner someday.

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Hey DW-

I was at Charlie Palmer for dinner on Wednesday for a little celebration and it was off the hook. Veal Sweatbreads were fantastic as well as the shell steak. I had a side of the hen of the woods and while they were good I prefer the Chanterelles. Nadine Brown is a wonderful Somm. and a great host. Great service as well. Oh and yeah I think we drank some wine too. :)

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I was there at the bar at Charlie Palmer last night.

I LOVE their regular dining room food, but I would avoid their bar if you're hungry.

I had a crab cake that was pretty tasty, though it had too many breadcrumbs on the outside.

However, word to the wise: AVOID THE LOBSTER CORNDOGS!!! They were absolutely disgusting. The cornmeal breading is very, very oily and thick and TOTALLY incompatible with the succulent lobster inside. Also, the salmon dish was not good either. The hickory smoked salmon was a bit dry, but passable. But the salmon tartare was totally masked by the mayonnaise-laden potato salad that the tartare is served on. A very bad mix of flavors. Salmon tartare is too light to be paired with such an overpowering potato mixture.

The lounge area is very comfortable and inviting (unless you hate cigar smoke) so it is a good place to relax after work. But just stick with the standard lounge food fare of mini burgers and calamari (there’s no seasoning on the calamari; but it’ll do in a pinch).

Leave the more sophisticated gastronomic delights to the main dining room.

Peace & Blessings,

LaShanta

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Had a fantastic meal at Charlie Palmers for RW last night. With an amuse of salmon tartare, gazpacho with shrimp ceviche, perfectly cooked salmon with asparagus risotto and a light strawberry soup, it was a great bargain for the promotion.

One major gripe - we ordered several wines by the glass and were very specific with which glasses we'd like, yet when the check came we discovered that we'd received a much pricier glass than requested on each occasion. I'd like to hope this was a mistake, but it did happen on each glass, and marred what was otherwise a wonderful meal. :)

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I dined at CPS with my mother and aunt last night, and am kicking myself for not partaking of their RW menu. I ate one of the offered first courses, love hangar steak (which was an option for the mains) and could have made do with the dessert options.

What I did eat was delicious. My mother and I shared the salad of grilled peaches, blue cheese, frisee and warm shallot viniagrette. The kitchen kindly split it into two bowls and each portion seemed large to me. Mom loved the caramelized shallots that came with the salad, and I enjoyed the salad so much that I ate way more frisee than I normally would (I'm just not a salad person). The blue cheese was top notch and I liked the taste and texture of the peaches. It was a great choice for us.

My aunt had the shrimp cocktail (and sadly, I can't properly describe it because the online menu, other than the posted RW menu, is not current). It did not resemble the shrimp cocktail she's used to, but she seemed to enjoy it (other than an avocado sorbet my mother and I were happy to take from her plate).

Both my mother and aunt had filet mignon cooked medium in spite of my efforts to have them try some other cut of beef or temperature. No dice. They loved it. I had a strip cooked medium, a dish I have had at CPS before and was very happy with. It's a huge piece of beef; easily half of it is in my fridge for later. I contemplated the Wagyu because this was a "money is no object" meal, however it was one of several menu items CPS had run out of. Others included lobster (!!) and something else I can't recall. I also would have been thrilled to consider the porterhouse for two, however the two medium well eaters had seen me eat a burger medium rare recently and new we would never meet comfortably in the middle. Sad.

Our sides were orzo goat cheese gratin, asparagus and caramelized carrots (and I liked them in that order). Any starch CPS offers as a gratin with goat cheese is OK in my book. The asparagus was prepared well - thick spears that had been peeled and cooked very lightly, leaving it firm. The caramelized carrots, selected by my aunt, were served dry, not buttery, which was perhaps different than expected, but they were OK.

For dessert, I had the creme brulee sampler (3). Perhaps I should be sick of this dessert as it's not a new concept, but I enjoyed it tremendously, particularly the cappuccino one. Mom had the ice cream sampler (caramel is the favorite), and Aunt had the peanut butter and chocolate I have had before. She ate every bite; I wasn't all that fond of it when I had it before, but I recognize that it simply wasn't too my taste.

Neither Mom, nor Aunt likes wine much at all so I stuck to by the glass selections. My favorite with the starter was an Oregonian Gewurztraminer.

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One thing I failed to note: you know how sometimes you search opentable.com, don't find availability at the spot you desire and when you call the establishment, you find that they do have a table or two held back? In this case I called once early in the day, and again late in the afternoon. Both times, I was told that they were overbooked and that the cancellations they had only served to hit the right balance. At almost the last minute (5:30 pm), I looked online and found a table for three people at 8:15, exactly what I sought.

Strangely, the restaurant remained quite empty during our dining window (8 pm drinks at the bar til about 10:30). I know to take into account turn times, staffing, etc. but I was shocked. CPS was at least 40% empty while we were there. Three of the four-tops adjacent to ours remained empty throughout our meal.

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Is it true that Charlie Palmer offers their RW menu or some sort of similar lunch special for $20.06 year round?

Yes, they've run a $20 three-course lunch special year 'round for a couple of years now. I assume they'll continue it again through this year. Might be the best deal in DC.

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I am working in the Labor Department and it is located in a quite dead zone (3rd and D st.) for good restaurants. Probably Bistro Bis, Le Paradou, Capital Grille and Charlie Palmer's are the best one near us. My company provides a lunch quarterly basis so my project manager asked me where to go with 30 people. We tried District Chophouse & Brewery but they only accept 20 people for regular table and can provide a private room with surcharge. The second try was Charlie Palmer's but they don't accept more than 20 people either. We have been in the Capital Brewery before so skipped it. The third try was Drinx.

They simply accepted us. So there was a lunch today. I had appetizer portion of Jumbo lump crabcake.

The taste was saltier than I expected but texture was fine. One of my colleague swallowed 10 oz. burger and he liked it. The vice president of my company liked his chicken and avocado club sandwich. It was pretty successful for a group lunch.

Charlie Palmer's doesn't accept more than 20, or doesn't accept more than 20 without a surcharge? My GF's company's holiday dinner is being held at Charlie Palmer (I'm pretty sure...) and they usually have a group of about 40-50 including the SOs.

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As usual Charlie Palmers was shining on Restaurant Week last night. The pecan encrusted pork loin was wonderful even though the pork was just a tad overdone, and the Chocoalate Cave for dessert was also fantastic (I enjoy that the desserts at CPS aren't humongous). I thought the filling of the stuffed Calamari was a bit of an odd textural juxtaposition, but tasted excellent. CPS is a perennial on my Restaurant Week list, and looks to stay that way.

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A bit inundated by a huge meal experience at CP tonight, but I'll try to hit the highs and lows. Sunday night is definitely the time to come here: it was delightfully slow, almost empty. No pressure to hurry up and finish dishes, so we took our time and really explored the menu.

Amuse - A fried risotto ball, similar to the Suppli al Telefono I had at 2 Amy's, but smaller and slightly less cheesy.

Ricotta Ravioli with Peekytoe Crab - This was a favorite. The mushrooms and leeks contributed a welcome crunch, and the crab played beautifully with the ravioli. The baby corn was the only thing I would've omitted here, but it was still really nice.

Ribeye - Probably the best-seasoned steak I've had in DC, although I am admittedly far from an expert in the area. Morton's was too salty, S&W under-salted. This one was spot-on...A great steak, bone-in and beautifully cooked (although one of my friends ordered his rare and it came out looking identical to my medium rare)

The sides were good: gnocchi was creamy and filling, and the spinach was good if not great (Ray's definitely wins here). The truffled potato was a bit disappointing...I had never had truffles, and I don't think this sparse introduction was a good way to get into them. Good potato, but not worth writing home about.

Dessert - cheesecake, and tastes of a few cheeses (it was an indulgent meal for sure). Humbolt Fog, a Blue from MN, and a sharp aged gouda. Oh, and port (a 20yr tawny that was excellent). Port and cheese make me happy.

Food coma. Sorta glad I'm not doing the fit for summer challenge: this would've been a major setback. $140 before tip (guess I'm eating grilled cheese sandwiches for the rest of the week).

ETA: they actually have a few decent beers. Hennepin!

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Lunch today at CP:

Hand Cut Yellow Fin Tuna Tartare avocado, soy and lime emulsion, crisp sesame flat bread;

Pan Roasted Fillet of Mahi Mahi, cannellini beans, chorizo, and puree of preserved lemon and parsley; and

Classic New York Style Cheesecake, citrus scented blueberry compote and crisp sugar cookie.

$20.07 Prix Fixe Lunch,

plus a glass of wine,

all for a little more than $30 plus tip.

Such a deal.

Prix Fixe Lunch apparently offered year round.

Where have I been?

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Has anyone been to the CPS brunch? The web site said it was beginning in May and was thinking about going in a few weeks. Its a bit hard to tell if its prix fixe or a buffet. If anyone has any intel please share, 36.00 doesn't seem too bad for Charlie Palmers

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After hearing and reading many raves I went to CPS last night with my college roommate and I have to say I was a bit disappointed; the service was just OK and the food didn't really blow me away. The tuna tartar app was excellent, but I thought the ribeye was kind of small for almost $40 (not that I cared, it was an expense account meal) and the chimichurri sauce I got was thin and far from being the best I've had; however, the baby bok choy was fucking amazing!

It seems kind of weird to me that the most memorable parts of my CPS meal were the apps and sides, not the wine or steak.

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My wife and I had an absolute dud of a RW experience last night. We arrived with a mixture of curiousity and hope for a dinner that was late enough that our appetites were stoked a litte high. What we got, well...

We knew going in that the RW menu was on the spare side, in terms of offerings: we were able to select from 5 apps (2 with substantial upcharge), 3 entrees (1 each of steak, fish, and chicken) and 2 desserts. And a look at the other side of the menu indicated the RW price was a substantial drop from their general menu, where apps run mostly between $12-20 and mains run from around $25 to $50, though both apps and mains also offer substantially higher-priced choices as well.

My choices were the prawn salad with tomato sorbet and celery ribbons (+$7), the flat iron steak with polenta and diced carrots, and the cheesecake with blueberry compote. (My wife also chose the steak).

The dinner began promisingly with an amuse that was announced as calamari, but actually had a fishy taste and thicker tentacle meat that made us both suspect it was actually octopus. It was dessed nicely in a slightly hot pepper sauce that had a slight vinegar tang.

The prawn salad was, in fact, two medium sized prawns (partly deshelled, but with head, tail, and legs on) on a bed of greens and tomato. They were awkard to de-shell; for one of them I had to resort to some extended fingerwork. The tomato sorbet was nice, offering a slightly inventive approach, an alternative to the classic cocktail sauce. The celery ribbons, which I imagine might have offered a slightly peppery contrast, were MIA. It was an ok appetizer, but part of me couldn't let go of the nagging thought of a $7 upcharge for a two-shrimp dish. (Incidentally, the Tuna Tartare carried a $9 upcharge).

The steak followed. The flat iron steak was roughly a 6 oz portion (no scale at the table, so eyeballing, of course), and had a nice flavor, but was on the tough side, even for a flat-iron, with one or two pieces remarkably tough to cut/chew. My wife's medium showed little difference to my med. rare, at least to the eye. The polenta was a round cake roughly the size of a silver dollar, nicely crisp on the outside, but bland and watery within. The diced carrots were probably plated with a teaspoon, although perhaps I am being unkind; it might have been a half-full tablespoon.

Though still hungry through the dinner course, my experience was partly rescued by the cheesecake. This was a real winner, creamy without being too heavy, with a nice dab of lemon-infused whipped cream on the top, and just enough blueberry sauce that it added a nice additional flavor without being intrusive. In this one course, I found the luxurious experience that I'd been hoping for from the evening, and which was entirely missing from the previous weak offerings.

In the end, I was left wondering why this restaurant was participating in RW; while I can accept a somewhat spare number of choices, the actual portion sizes (even with upcharge) seemed miserly as well, and not particularly well prepared. It just seemed like a begrudging effort, and it left me wondering whether it was in line with the quality of the rest of their food or was simply a failed attempt to "step down." Either way, it doesn't say great things about the place, and it didn't make me want to come back on my own dime, or even, frankly, on an expense account.

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The burger I had for lunch today ranks amongst the best I have ever eaten. The meat was the coarsest I have found in a burger but this was a positive not a detriment. The beautifully cooked meat (on the rarer side of medium rare), was placed on a bun that did not over-power it with either proportion or flavor. The pickled onions and mustard selection were a fine way to gild this burger. A little more than half way through the sandwich I ditched the bread, and started to sample the various mustards with the meat and have come to the conclusion that the meat with the coarse mustard would stand-up well next to some of the very best steak tartar in the area. Next time I might even order it blu sans cheese and eat it almost like tartar.

The fries were fine, nothing too inspiring, but at the same time not offensive.

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My wife and I went here Sunday night. We decided to blow every single point of WW points we had from our weekly bonus allowance on this meal and also decided to up our walking all week long. We also plan to be especially good the rest of the week. So, heading here, we hoped for an umami experience of glorious meat. And we got it.

Started with a seven vegetable salad that was fresh and good (and unexpectedly so). And then dove in to our ribeyes. Perfectly cooked, the meat was amazing. My wife declared it the best steak she's ever eaten. I find it hard to make a statement like that, but it was damn fine. The only SLIGHT thing we both though was that there was nit quiiiiiite enough caramelization on the steak's exterior. But damn fine nonetheless. Oh and the coffee there was quite good, too.

Add to the fact that you can BYOW with no corkage fee (must be a domestic bottling that is not on their list, limit two bottles per table), and that just makes you smile. We cracked a 2001 Bressler Cabernet to match and it was a great pairing.

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Has anyone else noticed an inconsistency issue with CP Steak? I've had some truly great meals here, interspersed with a number of mediocre experiences. Today at lunch, everything was oversalted coming out of the kitchen, the steak was overdone, the cheesecake had a giant thumbprint on the side, etc. On top of that, the service was absent-minded at best (forgot to give us menus, placed entree utensils for dessert, forgot the specials, etc). When paying 25$ for lunch it doesn't bother me as much, but at those dinner prices, I'm hesitant to roll the dice. Anyone else have similar experiences?

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Has anyone else noticed an inconsistency issue with CP Steak? I've had some truly great meals here, interspersed with a number of mediocre experiences. Today at lunch, everything was oversalted coming out of the kitchen, the steak was overdone, the cheesecake had a giant thumbprint on the side, etc. On top of that, the service was absent-minded at best (forgot to give us menus, placed entree utensils for dessert, forgot the specials, etc). When paying 25$ for lunch it doesn't bother me as much, but at those dinner prices, I'm hesitant to roll the dice. Anyone else have similar experiences?
I was at CPS on Friday night for dinner, and did not have any of the issues you describe. Our steaks (2x cowboy ribeye, 1x filet) were cooked as ordered, and properly seasoned. Our appetizers were also good (short rib ravioli and salads), as were the side orders (Broccoli, hen of the woods, and potato puree). Service was competent and professional. Between the good, reliable steaks and the free corkage, which that night was a pair of 1977 Heitz's (Bella Oaks and Martha's Vineyard), we will surely return.
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I ate there Friday night and had a great meal -- we started with the tuna tartare and the kampachi, then had the scallops and the duck as our main (sides: mushrooms, mashed potatoes, frites - hey, it was a crazy week; needed comfort food). In all, it was a great meal (and I think we got out of there for just under $140 for two people), and I realized it had been a hell of a long time since I'd eaten dinner there. I do client lunches there from time to time, but never seem to make it there in the evenings. Not sure why it fell off the radar screen, but for a Friday night, the dining room was not too loud and the service was really strong. I'm impressed with the food and with what Matt Hill is doing on the menu. I'm going to add them back in to my Friday night rotation -- probably sitting in the bar for a few apps and a glass of wine, though.

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The $25 lunch prix fixe remains, imho, one of the best lunch values in the city. Today's fare was well executed and the service was very attentive. I visit CP maybe a couple of times a year and I swear each time they make me feel like a regular from the time I call to see if a table is available (usually about 15 minutes before I plan to arrive), to when I first walk through the door, and throughout the meal. Maybe it is their practice of referring to you by your name when addressing you that makes the service appear so personal. An easy touch, but highly effective. The kitchen was a tad slow, perhaps due to what looked like several private parties being held in the side rooms.

On my plate today:

Organic baby beets, cooked what may best be described as al dente, drizzled with olive oil and served alongside a salad mixed with small orange slices and topped with shaved aged goat cheese;

Pan roasted cobia atop a crispy mushroom risotto; and

Vanilla cheescake topped with macerated strawberries.

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The $25 lunch prix fixe remains, imho, one of the best lunch values in the city. Today's fare was well executed and the service was very attentive. I visit CP maybe a couple of times a year and I swear each time they make me feel like a regular from the time I call to see if a table is available (usually about 15 minutes before I plan to arrive), to when I first walk through the door, and throughout the meal. Maybe it is their practice of referring to you by your name when addressing you that makes the service appear so personal. An easy touch, but highly effective. The kitchen was a tad slow, perhaps due to what looked like several private parties being held in the side rooms.

On my plate today:

Organic baby beets, cooked what may best be described as al dente, drizzled with olive oil and served alongside a salad mixed with small orange slices and topped with shaved aged goat cheese;

Pan roasted cobia atop a crispy mushroom risotto; and

Vanilla cheescake topped with macerated strawberries.

I have to agree. After the meal the wife and I had, I will add it to my regular rotation. The only issue I had with my meal was the lackluster desert (cinnamon spiced cake). I just do not understand why a restaurant that puts out such a wonderful meal does not finish it off with a great desert!!! The beet salad and scallops were amazing. The service was specular. I will certainly go back.

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A fine (and expensive) restaurant in need of strong kitchen leadership

Don's brief statement about CPS in the Dining Guide is spot on, in my opinion. I've been to this huge, beautiful restaurant for a few business lunches and my impression has been that the kitchen has a lot of trouble consistently putting out good to excellent food. I went twice last week only 3 days apart and if I was blindfolded I would have never guessed that the food I got on each occasion was from the same restaurant.

For my first visit I stopped in to try the burger I have read about on here and elsewhere. It's a nice sized patty served with high quality traditional ingredients in carmelized onions, a nice tomato slice and pickles. Unfortunately mine was cooked past the requested medium rare, but still had a lot of flavor and was definitely a good burger. I will say, though, a big pet peeve of mine that I have started to see at a lot of places is offering nothing in the way of a side with sandwiches. I won't delve into the argument of why is it ridiculous to price a burger in the $13-18 range, as this is now commonplace and accepted amongst higher end restaurants, but if you are going to do so, throw at least something on the side to go along with it. Don't try to sell me on $7 mac & cheese or a $6 plate of fries, just raise the price of the dish by $1-2 and include a small portion on the side with it.

The second time around I sat at the empty bar and got the special, a BBQ Beef Sandwich with Roasted Potatoes . I typically love ordering simple dishes such as this one in upscale restaurants as the kitchen tends to knock it out of the park, but this dish fell completely flat. The beef was shredded to the point where it was more mushy than anything. It was saturated in a sweet red sauce as well, which I'm sure didn't help with the texture, and quite honestly tasted like something you would buy from a street vendor. The potatoes offered no assistance in saving this dish, overroasted and dry with nothing really in the way of flavor. This meal felt like it was full of ingredients that had been sitting around for a while in the kitchen and were thrown on the plate in a couple of seconds and sent out to me (it did take less than 5 minutes for delivery). At this price point, I found this to be unacceptable service and scratched it off my list at least for the time being.

As fate would have it, my new boss loves CPS and made us all go a few days later for a team lunch. We sat at a table in the sprawling dining room with the sun shining in through the big windows, making for a much more elegant experience than the bar area. I decided to do a bit more sampling, ordering the $25 prix fixe menu which is indeed a nice deal. I started with the Mushroom Veloute which came with two beautiful capon dumplings resting in the middle. I loved this veloute, which wasn't grainy at all like some versions you get of this thick soup. For my second course, I had the pretty disappointing Grilled Angus Flat Iron Steak, which came out the requested medium rare but somehow dry and underseasoned. The beet and horseradish risotto did well to add a little moisture to the meat, but I wasn't particularly excited about the pairing as the sweetness of the beets overpowered the horseradish. I finished with the Vanilla Scented Cheesecake, which was fine but not memorable.

CPS certainly shows some promise, although I'd like everything on the menu to be $5-10 cheaper so I could try out some of the more promising sounding items not on the prix fix menu.

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Long time, no post.

We had a really nice dinner last Saturday at Charlie Palmer Steak. The service was really excellent. I appreciated valet, coat check and everything. They sat us immediately, even though one of our party of seven was running late. We had drinks and ordered wine, I was really thrilled they had wine from Mountfair Vineyards in Virginia. It is one of our favorite local wine producers so we had to order that.

I had a selection of oysters to start, it came with a wonderful "cocktail sauce" sorbet. I loved that part of it. There was also old bay crackers and lemon. Very good fresh oysters.

Steak was prepared perfectly. I love the hen of the woods mushroom side, nothing fancy just good mushrooms. I also liked the fingerling potatoes with pancetta. I was happy to have a non-dairy potato option. Asparagus was nicely cooked, not smushy. All in all everything tasted really good. I also liked the bread in their bread basket. I had a piece of the sourdough and olive. They had a nice selection of entrees which makes it a good choice for people with varying tastes.

Service was really, truly phenomenal. Everything was smooth, and just perfect, glasses refilled, but not so often you noticed. Really nice server. Anyway this is a great place to take people who want food to suit all tastes, well prepared with smooth, competent service.

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