The District has seen “celebrity chef” establishments come and go. Remember Les Halles? Whatever Roberto Donna was working on? You probably don’t.
However those that have succeeded have done so on the merits of their food, creating a great atmosphere, and providing exceptional service. From the father of it all Jose Andres and Michelle Richard, to Mike Isabella, Carla Hall and others, they have made a lasting impression because of their food, not because of themselves.
Jose Garces will join this group.
The opening of Rural Society in the Loewe’s Hotel transforms the space, and the surrounding area, from nothing to something spectacular. You will absolutely forget you are in a “hotel restaurant” from the moment you find the private tasting nook, sit in the secluded private booths with their own bars, and pony up to the Chef’s counter with a custom made expansive adjustable wood burning grill that will turn the most prominent vegetarian in a bone-gnawing rib-eye lover in seconds.
You may have heard of Jose Garces from his many Food Network appearances, or his famed Texas restaurants, but you will come to know, and love him for bringing the District his Argentinian inspired steakhouse.
Walk in, past the expansive bar, turn to the left, and you will find yourself inside their wine/liquor/grappa tasting room with a small table in the middle. The window faces 15th Street NW and you are surrounded by bottles. Great for small tasting parties which they will soon start offering.
As you walk past the bar and enter one dinning area, to your left are semi-private dinning areas. Perfect for meetings and a intimate dinner.
And they have their own bar.
What you mainly notice before entering the main dinning area is the giant open work space and the custom grill.
It goes up, it goes down, oooohhhh pretty.
And look, real wood too!
Ok, the food. Here are some things we think you will love!
Provoleta, basically grilled cheese in a cast iron skillet. It’s grilled aged provolone, arugula, oregano, and aji picante.
Fugazza, basically french bread pizza. Super crispy on the bottom and perfectly doughy in the middle. This version was topped with crab, corn, asiago cheese, and roasted red peppers.
Sausages. Of many varieties. Here we have beef and pork, blood sausage, and a provoleta stuffed pork sausage. Crispy on the outside with a perfect snap and delicious on the inside. I mean, can you ever go wrong with properly grilled sausages?
Steak. They offer lots. We really like the grass fed Uruguay ribeye.
Lamb sweet breads. These are the thymus gland. Perfectly seared on the outside and rich and creamy on the inside. They are like liver, but not as metallic or mineral tasting. Squeeze the lemon over them, it’s there for a reason. Cuts the richness nicely.
Mushrooms. These mushrooms are crimini, oyster, and baby bellas. Perfectly seasoned and cooked over the open wood. Everyone agreed the best mushroom dish in DC.
Pickled smoked veal tongue, with grape mustard and pomegranate. Very tender and rich.
Thinly sliced braised octopus, served with a tomato escabeche and Malbec potato chips. The octopus was tender and the flavor pairings spot on.
House made ham & cheese ravioli with a reggianito cream. The pasta is so tender and delicate, the cream is very rich and comforting. Apparently traditional in Argentina, these were amazing and perfect for sharing. A whole dish alone may be too rich…maybe.
Wood roasted Maine lobster. Perfectly cooked, sweet and tender.
More ribeye. The wood grill provides an amazing sear on the meat forming a nice crust. You can’t replicate the flavor and results of an open wood grill.
Crispy roasted potatoes, with a black truffle hollandaise. Perfectly crispy and tender on the inside, these vanished. The truffle hollandaise is a very nice dipping sauce as well…for everything you order (try dipping the sausages too!).
Rural Society fills a much needed void in this part of DC. Not only is the decor outstanding, but the staff polite and friendly and the food is outstanding. They recently opened for lunch too! Do not wait another minute before booking a table, or private nook, for lunch or dinner here. Oh, and with $5 wine and other specials for happy hour, you can basically just say there all day, and night (it is in a hotel after all).
We literally can’t say enough good things about this place, so go and try it for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.