The prospect of going outside the Beltway to dine is not a decision I take lightly; in fact, I am almost always opposed to battling traffic and enduring the cookie-cutter, soul-sapping quality of many a DC suburb. That is probably why it took B and me so long to venture to the National Harbor, which, to be fair, is just outside the Beltway and about fifteen minutes from DC without traffic. The reason for this adventure, a new culinary conquest: Bond 45.
I am happy to report it was worth the trip! The National Harbor is anchored by the enormous, garish Gaylord Hotel, but includes what seems to be a growing compound of shops, restaurants, and other hotels. What surprised me most about this area were the views. The lighting of the several bridges is actually quite a nice contrast against the Potomac. You really get a different perspective, actually appreciating the Wilson Bridge for its architecture verses cursing it for its traffic.
After enjoying the view, briefly, due to a blustery winter wind, we headed to our destination. Stepping inside Bond 45 was like entering an old New York institution. You can feel the NYC influence of the original Bond 45 in this, its second iteration. Dark wood, tiled floors, a dimly lit bar.
Bond 45 is foremost a steakhouse and offers extremely flavorful, corn fed, 28-day dry aged beef aged on salt slabs. But unlike your standard steakhouse, Bond 45 also has a talented Italian chef, Enzo Febbraro. The toughest part of the night is to decide whether to go with the steak or opt for one of the many traditional (and non-traditional) Italian offerings.
|Bond 45: 28 Day Dry Aged Steak|
Readers may know my love for a good cheese course. I thought the star of the sampler, which is definitely meant for sharing with a group of at least 4 people, was not the mozzarella, but the spicy, housemade ricotta. The contrast between the sweetness of the ricotta and the what I think was jalapeno bites, made for a great before entree palate pleaser.
|Bond 45: Mozarella Mista Platter|
Remember: everything is big and shareable. The veal chop parmigiana would easily feed two if not four. This classic Italian-American dish is tender, beautiful, and as you will see below, there is no shortage of cheese (just in case you didn't get enough in that cheese sampler!).
|Bond 45: Veal Chop Parmigiana|
The 101 layer lasagna alternates a purported 50 pasta layers with 51 layers of bolognese sauce. The pasta was tender, but still stood up to the rich sauce. I was worried that given all the layers, this might congeal into a mass, but you could actually see and taste each layer. Though, let me honest, I did not count, so I can't actually verify that it had all 101 layers.
|Bond 45: 101 Layer Lasagna|
I am no stranger to chocolate mousse, though this is the first time I have been served from a bucket. I am not going to lie, this over-the top presentation was fun, and the mousse airy, rich, and decadent, though Ray's the Steaks still takes the cake on this dish.
|Bond 45: Chocolate Mousse Presentation|
|Bond 45: Chocolate Mousse|
Bond 45 is not an inexpensive evening. Appetizers range from $6 - 19, and entrees at steakhouse prices $29 - $58. It is worth the splurge to experience the traditional fare as well as innovative twists on Italian classics. And in case you failed to notice: THE PORTIONS ARE HUGE. And yes, it is outside the beltway, so somewhere between DC and a Food Field Trip, but worth the drive for a special occasion or as a great diversion if you have guests in town.