When I moved to NoVA, someone told me that the only good steakhouses are chains. Fortunately, that isn’t true. Yes, the landscape is dominated by the big guys, but they do not rule exclusively. One case study is Fahrenheit 132, an idiosyncratic specimen in Fredericksburg.
The steakhouse is the brainchild of owner and general manager Cole Berlin, who also happens to be a certified sommelier. That means six years of Wine Spectator awards, including one this year, as well as an interesting collection of cocktails. The list includes a maple-smoked Boulevardier and one called Ticket to Thailand, which combines aquavit, Thai basil and chiles, honey-ginger syrup, fresh lime, and candied ginger.
But meat in all its forms is the nucleus. I sampled the venison carpaccio, which is pictured above. The black that rims the intensely red tenderloin is leek ash, which gives it a pleasant charred smoke. It’s presented with buttery crostini, ideal for piling with the sylphlike slices of meat, a bit of Dijon-garlic emulsion, fried capers, and micro-celery greens. Most steakhouses focus their starter menu on seafood. At Fahrenheit, turf takes the focus, including escargot presented in a marrow bone, pork cheek sliders, and American lamb lollipops.
And the steaks? Executive chef Jackson Flint works to source cuts from Virginia-born cows when he can. Servers ask if diners want the steaks crusted in his signature rub. Go for it. Though the mild blend of herbs and spices doesn’t distract from the taste of the beef, when combined with 1800 degrees from the broiler, it lends it a mouthwatering crust. Each cut, from the $26 sirloin to the $69 bone-in strip, comes with a choice of two sides. The ultra-creamy rosemary mashed potatoes are a sure bet, as is the creamed Tuscan kale, made smoky with the addition of chunky bacon. Yes, this is the kind of place where even the vegetables are flavored with elements that were once walking. Now that’s a steakhouse.
318 William St., Fredericksburg
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