The people: Two hospitality-savvy women are at the helm here—Shelly Galloway and partner Anna Don. Galloway was the first female general manager in Las Vegas for a large restaurant chain—Sfuzzi (now called Coco Pazzo). Prior to that, she had her own Italian restaurant there (where she says celebs stopped by), and before that, she worked in hotels and nightclubs in Italy. She also did stints at Café Milano in Washington D.C., and Buddha Bar in Las Vegas (where she met hubby Alessandro Ferro, owner of Bethesda’s Pizzeria da Marco). Don grew up in restaurants; her family owns dozens of them in the Ukraine. They were also the franchise owners of the now-defunct Buddha Bar in the District, where Don worked for a time. Her family still runs the one in Kiev.
The place: With brick walls, dark brown tables and chairs, and a small bar area with a red backdrop, it’s a no-frills, comfortable space. On one wall, take note of an abstract painting of a table topped with a bottle of wine, bread, and other food, and the “No. 82” written at the bottom. The restaurant’s namesake, it means “the table laden” or “the table plentiful” according to the Italian book of dreams known as La Smorfia Napoletana, which correlates numbers with certain words.
The food: Steak, French fries and a salad—that’s the gist of the menu, modeled after the Parisian steak frites houses and copied here in places like Medium Rare in the District. Aside from a mixed green salad, 82 Steak Out offers a homey, nothing fancy chopped blue cheese salad—iceberg, tomatoes and bacon with blue cheese dressing. As for the French fries, the shoestring-style potatoes are purchased hand-cut, then deep-fried at the restaurant. They’re good enough, but could be addictive if a bit more crisp. And what about the steak? Cooked to order, it should have been the star of the show, yet mine was chewy—the kind of meat that gives your teeth a work-out. The problem may partially be the cut—a sirloin flap, which is leaner and less beefy than the skirt and hanger steaks often used in steak frites dishes. At 82 Steak Out, the sirloin is grilled, sliced and dappled with a terrific rosemary-spiked porcini mushroom sauce that provides needed flavor and lubrication.
The bottom line: Novel and welcome addition to Rockville Town Square; steak could use some work.
101 Gibbs St. Suite C, Rockville Town Square, 240-428-1295, www.82steakout.com. Steak lunch: salad, steak and French fries for $14.82. Lunch menu also includes a meatball sub, cheesesteak and recently, a buffalo burger was added. Dinner, with salad, steak and French fries is $18.82. There are also a la carte side dishes, such as mac & cheese, creamed spinach, ratatouille and sautéed mushrooms.