Rural Society Washington DC was Jose Garces’ modern take on a classic Argentinian steakhouse. It was the perfect start on our journey to taste the world. It is now permanently closed.
** Important Update – Rural Society is now permanently closed. **
Our exit plan was ambitious to say the least.
The plan: to leave our house of 10+ years and then, without delay, arrive for a 6:45 reservation at Jose Garces’ Rural Society in Washington DC. We had moved the big stuff into storage two days before, so all we had to do was tidy up before hitting the expressway to the nation’s capital city.
Well, the tidying up wasn’t that quick. When you have lived in a home together for almost ten years, you tend to collect a lot of stuff. Some of that stuff made it to storage and some found its way to the nearby charity thrift store.
The rest (still way too much) ended up traveling in the car with us. Let’s just say that after seemingly endless days of emptying our belongings from our small city row home, it was still easier said than done.
Finally, after a three-hour drive followed by a quick check in at our hotel and much-needed showers, we zoomed over to Garces’ first foray into DC. We knew that we would be enjoying steak prepared on an enormous wood-fired grill in the open Argentinian steakhouse kitchen.
We also knew that we would be treated like royalty due to Daryl’s status as a Garces employee (currently on sabbatical). However, we were surprised to experience what could be one of the best meals of the year.
Our Dinner at Rural Society Washington DC
Soon after we sat, tapas style starters arrived to our table. We couldn’t resist the morrones, roasted red peppers accented with creamy dollops of earthy eggplant cream with salty anchovy or the carpaccio de pulpo, razor-thin, tender slices of octopus carpaccio accented with a zesty tomato escabeche and crispy malbec chips.
We were then floored by the provoleta – a deep, melty, oozy symphony of cheese funkiness. We adored this dish from the gooey top to the crunchy, caramelized bits which we scraped from the bottom of the pan.
On a normal night, this may have been enough, but the food didn’t stop there.
Chef de Cuisine Louis Goral sent us a selection of grilled sausages including provoleta stuffed chorizo con queso, morcilla with pine nuts and raisins (Spanish blood sausage) curiously flavored with cloves, crunchy grilled lamb sweetbreads and savory beef and pork chorizo gaucho. This was Argentinian sausage heaven.
Oh, did we mention that Rural Society grills their steaks over a massive wood-fired grill? Hungry from the move, we happily shared a tender, charred Bife de Chorizo, the steakhouse’s signature cut that’s more than enough for a group of friends to share, plus two melt-in-your-mouth lamb chops.
The meats were served with sides that pushed beyond the traditional steakhouse milleue. Not your typical spuds, Rural Society’s grilled potatoes were adorned with dollops of tangy goat cheese mousse, coated with bits of bacon chimichurri and then topped with gorgeous strings of micro chives.
And then there was the aguacate, a creamy new spin on avocados. These grilled avocado halves, artfully striped with a distinctive black char, could become a new trend at summer cookouts later this year.
Dessert at Rural Society Washington DC
Did we have room for dessert? The creamy, caramel dulce de leche flan more than provided an answer to this silly question, and that answer was yes.
This meal was the perfect start to the epic trip of our lives. It was a full culinary assault that launched us on to a road of epicurean wonderment, and we can’t think of a more wonderful way to begin our journey to taste the world!
Rural Society was located at 1177 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005, United States. It is now permanently closed.
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.