Last Thursday I was a guest at the media preview for “boutique steakhouse” Lost Society, occupying the top two floors of a classic corner building at 14th and U Streets. I’ve long awaited this building’s renovation, as it’s been a blight on a corner of what should be prime real estate. I’m happy to report that Lost Society will counter-balance the chains planned for the bottom floor (as a local resident, not too happy with yet another Subway!).
Opening this Friday, July 1, the space is interesting in that it’s divided into “decor vignettes” – changing the mood as you turn each corner. The second floor is dominated by a double-sided bar, which is in turn flanked by a series of booths with a view overlooking 14th Street that can be enclosed by privacy curtains, a line of pub tables with a grey velvet banquette, a lounge area with purple couches and leather chairs, and finally a whimsical alcove wallpapered with flirtatious Gibson Girls. You wouldn’t feel out of place wearing a smoking jacket. Let’s take a look.
Ascend to the third floor and you’ll find a bar with a more lady-like boudoir feel, replete with chandeliers and a deep indigo hallway with seven private bathrooms. There’s a DJ booth and no question it will be slamming up there, as the rooftop deck is adjacent through french doors. There’s an outside bar as well, making for an incredible view by night – but I am most looking forward to sinking into a striped cushion up there and enjoying brunch.
All this was designed by DC firm hapstak demetriou + resulting in a setting that encourages both group outings and date nights. It’s lovely, but I disliked the large television screens at the bars, which seem to detract from the elegant aim. I know many see this as a necessity, but I just wish we could tear ourselves away from the TV and the smartphones at bars and actually talk to our neighbor.
As far as food and drink, chef duties are in the capable hands of Joseph Evans, formerly executive chef for DC’s branch of Smith and Wollensky’s Steakhouse, and his menu features several dry-aged Angus steak options such as a 20 ounce bone-in ribeye with morel mushrooms, marinated flank steak with bearnaise sauce and onion rings, and an eighteen ounce horseradish crusted prime rib. Steaks range from $19 to $30 depending on the cut. There will also be seafood on hand like stuffed lobster with tomatoes and blue crab cream, or you could go simple with your surf-n-turf and have raw oysters (their preparation with a yuzu mignonette sauce was my favorite dish that evening).
Bar food will include items like fried zucchini slices (delicate and addicting), mushroom burger, waygu dogs, and tomato soup served with a grilled fontina and gruyere cheese sandwich. Bar snacks range from $6 to $16. Though the mixed drinks menu looked extensive and nicely aligned with craft cocktail philosophy, I wasn’t able to sample any at the preview as the staff was not yet trained. However any wine list that has a Gavi dei Gavi and a Nero d’Avola on it is fine with me. Wines are a mix from Italy, California and Oregon, ranging from nicely priced $6 to $15 a glass and $24 to $180 a bottle (that $180 is for a Barolo). There are six beers on draft including Rising Moon Spring Ale and Dogfish Head IPA, with both five and sixteen ounce pours at around $2.50 to $6.50.
Lost Society will be open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, with brunch both Saturday and Sunday. I’m curious to return once they’re up and running, to sample the cocktails and have more oysters with yuzu mignonette. It’s too early to tell what the crowd will be like or what the atmosphere will be – lounge? date spot? dancing madness? – but I’m happy to see that corner occupied by a beautiful space with friendly owners.