Two Familiar Faces in New Leadership Roles Unveil Their Innovative Spring Menu at BOURBON STEAK at Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC
“It is with great pleasure that we present our spring collection of new cocktails and dishes with two exceptional leaders at the helm of BOURBON STEAK,” says BOURBON STEAK General Manager Jose Gonzalez. “Both Robert and Engi have risen through the ranks at BOURBON STEAK and we couldn’t be happier to see their personalised stamp on this year’s menu.”
In his role as Executive Chef, Curtis oversees celebrated Chef Michael Mina’s BOURBON STEAK, the award-winning restaurant and lounge at Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC.
Born in Philadelphia and raised in Bethesda, Maryland, Curtis has a long tradition of great cooks in his family and was inspired to join the culinary profession by his grandmother, a notable local cook. After working with great DC chefs such as Robert Weidemeir and Cathal Armstrong at Brabo and Restaurant Eve, respectively, Curtis found his way to Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC, joining the BOURBON STEAK team for the first time in 2013. His work ethic and commitment to culinary excellence set Curtis apart and he quickly rose through the ranks, eventually becoming Sous-Chef before relocating to Michael Mina’s RN47 in San Francisco. Travel and curiosity led Chef Curtis to apprentice under Rene Redzepi at the incomparable Noma, in Copenhagen before returning to DC to work at Requin and then Hazel before returning to BOURBON STEAK.
Curtis adds his personal touch to Chef Michael Mina’s new American steakhouse. “I have been working on creating a signature spice rub,” Curtis says with excitement. “It tastes amazing when cooked over the fire grill.”
It is exactly the open fire grill, the hallmark of long, warm, DC spring evenings that has inspired Chef Curtis’ new menu: ember-roasted king crab legs, rubbed in his trademark spice and grilled over the open fire and served with crab fat aioli; a whole lobster served on a skewer, accompanied by a brown butter bearnaise and lobster roe; or ribbons of wagyu beef, lightly marinated in signature spice and only kissed by the flames and accompanied with sauce au poivre.
“I wanted our spring menu to be fun and casual, but with the luxurious meats and seafood that we are accustomed to serving at BOURBON STEAK,” says Curtis. A perfect example of this is the thick cut, crispy French fries, elegantly stacked and served with generous dollops of crème fraiche and caviar.
The new outdoor space, THE RANCH at BOURBON STEAK, launched this past winter and re-imagined for the season is the perfect place to enjoy fun spring fare. “What started as a pop-up experiment turned into a permanent fixture for BOURBON STEAK. We love to see guests enjoying themselves in the safety of our covered outdoor patio area,” says Hotel Manager Jason De Vries. “THE RANCH this season will be bright and colourful, reflecting the exhilaration we all feel for this spring in DC.”
Lead bartender Engi has been planning his new cocktail menu for years. “I am so excited to bring my menu to the iconic BOURBON STEAK BAR. I know what our guests enjoy and I can’t wait to share with them what inspires me as a mixologist,” says Engi.
Regular guests will not be surprised to learn of Engi’s recent promotion to Lead Bartender. Engi has been behind the BOURBON STEAK BAR since its opening 11 years ago, memorising drink preferences, sharing stories and consistently improving upon his knowledge in mixology.
A native of Ethiopia, Engi didn’t plan on becoming a bartender. Initially, he started working at BOURBON STEAK in the evenings to pay for his college degree in bioengineering. However, what started off as a part-time job quickly turned into a life-long passion for Engi.
“I started working behind the bar, witnessing my former mentors create mixology magic and interact with people. I love seeing the interaction between guests at the bar,” recollects Engi. “I knew this is where I wanted to work moving forward.”
Engi’s engineering training has served him well and he is always looking to improve upon and re-design classics, just like with his collection of hand-crafted, small batch tonic waters exclusive to BOURBON STEAK DC. Three flavours - classic tonic, cucumber mint and strawberry basil - will debut at THE RANCH this spring to create that perfect, big bowl G&T guests have been dreaming of all winter long. A colourful array of Champagne cocktails, as well as the bright and citrusy antidote to a week full of virtual meetings You’re on Mute and that impossible-to-recreate-at-home egg wash cocktail Blush & Bashful, are just waiting to be discovered at BOURBON STEAK.
BOURBON STEAK and THE RANCH are open Wednesday to Sunday 5:00 to 10:00 pm. Saturday the Lounge opens at 3:00 pm. Reservations are recommended on Open Table. The spring menu is also available on Tock for pick-up during restaurant hours.
The safety and security of guests and employees remains top priority and, as such, Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC has embarked on an enhanced Four Seasons global health and safety program, Lead With Care, to provide ongoing, real-time guidance on the evolving COVID-19 situation. Grounded in health care expertise and enabled by access to leading technologies and tools, Lead With Care sets out clear procedures that educate and empower employees to take care of guests and each other. Through the Lead With Care program, Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC, and BOURBON STEAK focuses on enhancing cleanliness, guest comfort and safety and employee training. All employees and guests are required to submit to a temperature check upon arrival on property. Heightened cleanliness measures are in place and all guests and employees must wear a mask at all times, except while seated at BOURBON STEAK.