Dinner Daily 5:PM - 10:PM
Friday & Saturday until 11:PM
Brunch Sunday 11:AM - 2:30PM
No reservations required
202.237.1432 (after 1PM)
In 1812, a handsome young cattle rancher from Kansas City, Missouri, Malcom Rare, fell in love at a square dance with a beautiful farm girl in Idaho, Sara O'Frites, as he passed through on a cattle drive. As with many love stories of that time; theirs was a long and difficult journey to happiness. Sara's parents, who were immigrants from Ireland, had become quite wealthy growing potatoes. In 1813, her parents found a better match for Sara and forced her to marry an old, French, American Revolutionary War hero, Colonel Louie Tartar. Tartar, an angry and raw man, quickly tired of the beautiful American west and forced his new bride to move with him to Paris.
Malcolm, who had been drafted into the Navy, disembarked his ship at a port on the coast of Normandy. He received word from the States that Sara had married. Heart broken, Malcolm decided not to return to America and to suffer through life in France. He opened a restaurant on the north coast beach town of Deauville. There, he worked tirelessly cooking steaks on a charcoal grill and offering the meat at varying temperatures, neither of which had been done before in a restaurant. One summer evening, unbeknownst to Malcolm, the beautiful Sara happened into the restaurant with Tartar. Sara's eyes met Malcolm's when he entered the room. She immediately ran to him kissing him passionately and uncontrollably. Witnessed by a reporter, it was the first time the term French kiss was used. Tartar was furious and challenged Malcolm to a duel for the following morning. Quite adept at shooting, Tartar was dispatched on the first shot and left for the birds.
Malcolm and Sara were married and she came to work at the restaurant. Her specialties were a new technique for cooking potatoes which she sliced thin and fried and also a special sauce that would go perfectly with the steak and potatoes. From the success of their fun and happy restaurant, steak and fries became popular throughout France and also in neighboring Belgium. While traveling to Deauville in 2007, trying unique regional wines and beers, restaurateurs Mark and Tom bought a cookbook in an antique book store that had details of this love story and they found a handwritten paper folded in the back which turned out to be the original secret sauce recipe written in Sara's hand. Mark and Tom knew they should open a steak and fries (Frites) restaurant and it should be called "Medium Rare". They found a great location in Cleveland Park and along with Steve and Brian the restaurant opened at the end of March 2011.
Tom was running a publicly traded food manufacturing company. Mark was starting a new restaurant concept, BGR the Burger Joint. Tom desperately wanted to win back a major customer who had been lost 5 years before his arrival. The former customer would not even talk to him. Tom had recently met Mark at a business function for company presidents and Mark had told him he knew the customer that Tom's company had lost. Mark knew that this person loved flowers and fine dining, so they together devised a plan. Mark delivered a flower arrangement for Tom containing an olive branch with a note and invitation from Tom inviting the customer to a dinner at the chef's table at Citronelle. Tom immediately received a call from the customer which opened the door to heal the business issues from the past. It also started the future business relationship of the two founders of Medium Rare.
Tom then moved his family to Paris for a year and during that time Mark came out to visit. Tom took Mark to his family's favorite restaurant where they only served one thing -- steak and fries. After visiting this restaurant which always had lines down the street, Mark and Tom had an idea they should open a restaurant similar to this when Tom returned, but make it more fun and appealing to American tastes. It was one of those entrepreneurial ideas that is very seldom seen through to fruition.
However, this time the idea did not fizzle out. When Tom returned, Mark and Tom started doing a radio show together on starting and running a new business called Start Up or Shut Up. Following their own advice, they did the research, built a plan, found a location, hired the best people possible, and by the end of March 2011, they were ready to open. Their goal is to provide a fun, friendly, neighborhood environment where their customers can just relax, and have a simple yet exceptional meal served to them. Simple is often the most difficult, so Mark and Tom along with Steve and Brian will continually try to find ways to improve the experience while sticking to their concept. Enjoy – bon appetit.