Kiran Gunnam prefers not to call Bourbon Boulevard “farm-to-table.” It’s not just hackneyed, it also doesn’t quite tell the story of the food at his new restaurant, which opened last weekend in Chantilly. According to chef Don Graber, meats are carved in-house from whole animals or primal cuts. The freezer is being converted into an in-house dry-ager where he’ll not only age steaks, but also hang house charcuterie. Greens, microgreens, and mushrooms come from the Roanoke area still in soil.
Graber says that steaks are aged a minimum of 21 days, currently at another facility, then served a la carte with carefully crafted sides, including green pea or saffron risotto, maple-Sriracha Brussels sprouts, and basil-Gruyere mashed potatoes. “We are at heart a chophouse, but we also try to get the kids to eat their veggies,” the chef jokes. The signature steaks among the seven different cuts are both 32 ounces, a tomahawk and a porterhouse, each served on a bourbon-barrel lid.
Gunnam has also enlisted sommelier Douglas Watkins to lead his drinks program. “Basically, the concept is to bring Bourbon lovers together,” says Gunnam. That includes around 800 whiskeys currently on offer. Watkins says that he hopes for that to eventually expand into 1,000. “We want people to have an opportunity to drink rare Bourbons,” Gunnam explains. Some of those include Buffalo Trace Distillery’s Double Eagle Very Rare and Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year.
Watkins has also built a wine program that encompasses 372 bottles. “I literally know every single bottle that we have and I’ve tasted it many times, over many vintages,” he says. “If I don’t know the producers, the wine is not on the list.” His favorites are Champagnes and Riesling, and he’s quick to say that the latter isn’t always as sweet as drinkers might think. A collection of reds, including 50 Bordeaux alone, is assembled to cut through the “big cuts of meat with lots of fat.”
Besides steak, whiskey, and wine, there are more than 100 tequilas. A cigar room is being built to make room for cigar lockers and smokers who join a cigar club. There are also clubs for each of the drink categories, and for food, which allow members to take part in rare deals.
There’s daily live music to enjoy and occasional drag brunches. Gunnam is also in the process of rebranding his Herndon restaurant, P.J. Mulligans, as a second Bourbon Boulevard. // 4301 Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly
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