I went to the soft opening of Medium Rare on Saturday evening, and enjoyed my meal very much. It’s generally accepted that it’s not good form to comment publicly on restaurants during mock service or soft openings, so I’ll semi-recuse myself.
However, there is a post on donrockwell.com by member darkstar965 here which I think captures the essence of the restaurant (at least in its nascent stages) beautifully – when I read it, I was saying to myself, “Wow, I feel like I’m reading about my own experience.”
Let me offer three things: a disagreement, a suggestion, and a concern:
1) I don’t think the initial serving comes off as “super generous” (even though the entire meal is surely good value for the dollar). The concept of “seconds” is an interesting one, and can be offered only because the kitchen is so narrowly focused on steak frites – this is a business model that I’d expect to see in New York City, but one that surprises me to see in DC (and it’s a nice surprise, too).
2) I suggest relying less on Robert Kacher for the tiny wine list, and looking at other local importers instead.
3) I’m concerned about future consistency. Opening chef Cedric Maupillier is more than capable of running a small kitchen churning out primarily one product, but when he leaves, it’s going to be critical that quality is maintained – on a plate-by-plate basis – and it’s going to be easier said than done.