Maybe Jean-Georges Vongerichten was looking for a challenge.  That’s pretty much the only reason we could come up with to explain why a man who has more than a dozen restaurant concepts within his portfolio chose to use the word “steakhouse” in the name of his Washington venture.  Nothing else makes sense.

The fact that he even considered opening a restaurant in Washington shows that he knew we’ve evolved beyond the days when haute French and red-meat-by-the-pound were the only options for high end dining.  Even so, we’ve got more than our fair share of places where steak is featured front and center.  It could hardly come as a surprise that potential diners would assume a place called “J&G Steakhouse” was just part of the crowd.

Whatever the rationale for the name, it relegated the restaurant to a lower tier of our “to-do” list for more than a year.  But any regular reader of our Restaurant Week recommendation posts knows that we like to seek out high-value opportunities when making our RW reservations, and this time around J&G Steakhouse seemed to offer the best bang for the buck.  At the very least, it would give us a chance to see what the newest steakhouse on the block brings to the table.

The anti-steakhouse experience after the jump. (more…)

DC continues to impress at Top Chef. The cast for the upcoming season (starting in August) features two DC-based chefs. Bryan Voltaggio of Volt and Mike Isabella of Zaytinya. I wonder if this means we finally need to truck out to Frederick, MD to try Volt?
The trend of secret restaurants continues in London and Hong Kong
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The J&G Steakhouse opens in the new W hotel downtown.  
The battle over the organic label continues.  
So Good reviews the new McDonald’s Angus burger and gives readers a chance to try them for free.  
DC’s Cheese + Champagne is doing a summer cheese tour in New York.  Lucky duck.

9 phrases to ban from restaurant menus.  

Beets and Bonbons checks out DC’s food trucks, including the Sweet Green fro-yo truck.  
This Slate writer hates outdoor film festivals and their picnic accoutrements.   
The Oceanaire chain has filed for bankruptcy
Going blueberry picking soon? Try Arugula Files’ homemade blueberry jam recipe. 
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Michelin star chefs try their hand at baby food
Gut Check is excited about new restaurants hitting the NoVa dining scene, especially Trummers on Main in Clifton. 
BBQ in the Bible? Amen.  Thanks to Bacon Terrorist for the link. 
Pizza on the grill from Pete Bakes.  
Sour beers gain popularity.  

Celebrate Hemingway’s 110th birthday on July 15 with special cocktail tasting events! (Although for the record – a drinking event at the Museum of the American Indian? Wow.)
Young & Hungry discovers the joys of Todd Thrasher’s tomato water Bloody Mary.  

North Korea debuts a state-run beer commercial for Taedonggang beer, billed as “The Pride of Pyongyang.” The commercial promises the locally brewed beer will “relieve stress.”
BBQ burgers, grilled eggplant (and Schlitz!) from 18th and Swine. 
We’re sad to report that Nicaro’s in Silver Spring has closed.
Year round Peep jousting is now available in DC! Just Born Co, which makes marshmallow Peeps, just announced they will open a store in the Washington Harbor this fall. (Thanks to Jocko for the tip!)
Are butchers the new culinary rock stars
How does a restaurant make a regular
The 42 Bus checks out Absolute Thai.