DC steakhouse Medium Rare opens in Baltimore (‘Secret steak sauce’ now sold online)

New Baltimore location. (Courtesy Medium Rare)

Cleveland Park Steakhouse Medium Rare has opened a location in Baltimore’s hip Hampden neighborhood — its second of several planned locations outside of the D.C. metro area.

The Baltimore location is in a former CineBistro at The Rotunda in Hampden.

Medium Rare, whose simple, $29 prix fixe steak frites menu is bread and salad, steak and fries and dessert (it has a weekend brunch menu too, and an off-menu vegetarian menu), began nationwide expansion in August, with a location in New Orleans. It also plans locations in New York City, Houston and San Francisco.

Medium Rare is also selling its Dijon-based salad dressing and its “secret steak sauce” online again. The online sales push is thanks to the new Baltimore location.

It started selling both dressing and sauce online during the early days of the pandemic as one way to keep staff employed, but eventually stopped actively promoting the e-commerce sales.

“It wasn’t our primary business, With the Baltimore store now open, we designed and built it with more storage for sauces for sale,” said owner Mark Bucher.

Dressing and sauce are not cheap ($24), but it would take a while to use a quart of either of them.

The secret sauce really is a secret. Bucher claims no single employee knows the entire recipe.

Bucher, whose local restaurants now include the original in Cleveland Park location and outposts in Bethesda and Arlington, is a philanthropic restaurateur.

He started a nonprofit during the pandemic called Feed the Fridge, which pays other restaurants to stock free meal coolers in community centers throughout the D.C. area, which has served more than 1 million free meals since.

Bucher also has a sense of humor.

The restrooms at Medium Rare restaurants play a soundtrack of a French-speaking person reciting pickup lines. Its cocktail napkins are equally as humorous, with pickup lines printed in French. (English translations inside the napkins.)

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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