Young and Hungry

Lost Society in Translation: What Does ‘Boutique Steakhouse’ Even Mean?

In the magical world of marketing, the term "boutique" is bandied around as an instant signifier of cool cred. You see it in the lodging industry, for example, used to describe virtually any place not labeled Hilton, Marriott, or Motel 6, otherwise identified through its modish furnishings and eco-friendly towel-laundering policies.

Which brings us to the forthcoming Lost Society restaurant, opening Friday, July 1, at the corner of 14th and U Streets NW, which is described in PR materials as D.C.'s premier "boutique steakhouse."

What's "boutique" about it? Basically, the operators want you to get the message that this place is no Smith & Wollensky—even if, in fact, the chef comes from, um, Smith & Wollensky.

In an April interview with, Joseph Evans, the former S&W toque now in charge of the Lost Society kitchen, says that the edgier concept allows him to get more creative than the traditional chop shop, employing "cooking techniques that go beyond the typical broiling."

Just what D.C. needs: another exotic steakhouse serving cuts of beef cooked "Pittsburgh rare", but without the pricey eye candy on the side. (Check out the menu here.)

I reached out to a rep for the restaurant for a better explanation of the new eatery's "boutique" concept. In a statement, co-owner David Karim put it thusly: "The space defines boutique.  The design is definitely different than a traditional steakhouse. When you walk into Lost Society, you may not be able to define a time, place or genre of restaurant but you certainly do not feel like you are in D.C."

How fashionably disorienting! If nothing else, it seems, this place must have one hell of a cocktail program.

Lost Society, 2001 14th St. NW, 202-618-8868

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  • Kevin

    Are you the designated snarky hipster reviewer at CP? What was this post even supposed to communicate? That it irritates you how the term "boutique" is used by some.

    Who cares?

    How about sharing some actual information about the place or their food? I'm sure you could still find a way to work your snarky comments in so we'd all know how clever you are.

  • Chris Shott

    Thanks for commenting, Kevin. You are welcome to click on the links, which are provided in the blog post, for more info on the dinner menu and cocktail program. While it might not impress you much, it is part of my job to cut through some of the marketing BS of these places. Now that the place is open, you can expect future reports on the food, as well.

  • abfall

    Agree with Kevin. Lame article that doesn't offer any information. I would have been curious if the statement

    "cooking techniques that go beyond the typical broiling."

    means anything or is marketing BS, but the author clearly didn't follow through. Lazy "journalism".

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