Written by Anita
April 16, 2009
Photos courtesy of Gaylord HotelsOld Hickory: the name typically conjured images of our 7th U.S. President. That is, until we paid a visit to Gaylord National Resort’s upscale steakhouse of the same moniker. (Insider’s tip: self park and Old Hickory will validate your ticket for up to 3 hours.) Overlooking the Potomac, Old Hickory melds the contemporary with the classic. Silver acrylic bar stools line the expansive white marble bar; other touches (like the hand-blown glass windows and dark wood floors) suggest an 18-century Georgian rowhouse. Cheese is an absolute must here and Carolyn Stromberg, Old Hickory’s Maitre d’Fromage, really knows her stuff. An alumnus of local cheese purveyors Cowgirl Creamery and Cheesetique, Carolyn procures, ages, and serves over two dozen artisanal cheeses from around the world. But be warned: these cheeses, stored in a temperature-controlled “cheese cave” and served tableside, will sour you on the likes of grocery-store Gouda forever! Our favorites included Cowgirl Creamery’s uber-creamy and slightly nutty Mt. Tam (paired with a silver of dense fig and nut cake), crumbly clothbound cheddar (the American Cheese Society’s 2006 “Best in Show”) from Jasper Hill Farm and Vermont’s Cabot Creamery, and soft, clean goat’s milk Valençay from France’s Loire Valley (accompanied by tart cherry preserves from Armenia). After a cheese course like that, it’s best to get right down to business. Old Hickory is a steakhouse after all, which means that steaks here (like the 10 oz. grass-fed beef tenderloin) are thick, tender, and juicy. Want a truly luxe experience? Then top your steak with a Maine lobster tail, decadent seared foie gras, or jumbo lump crabmeat, asparagus, and béarnaise sauce. Our favorite entrée wasn’t a steak at all—slow-braised “Osso Buco style” beef short ribs in a rich red wine reduction. End your meal with a flaky round of bread pudding studded with plump raisins and drenched in a creamy vanilla-laced sauce. Want to experience Old Hickory for yourself? Then be sure to attend one of their upcoming wine dinners—including one with acclaimed German winemaker Dr. Ernst Loosen next week (featured on gregslistdc!) and one with Napa Valley vinter Michael Honig on Thursday, June 11 (details available on gregslistdc soon).