Sang Lee is a lawyer and before last year had never opened up a restaurant. A longtime Alexandrian, he and his wife Susanne were impressed with the great steakhouses in DC and wanted to bring a quality steakhouse to their neighborhood. So when Layla Lebanese Restaurant announced it’s closure, Sang knew it was time to make a change.
The Lees wanted to create a really outstanding steak house in Old Town. Sang named the restaurant Mackie’s Bar and Grill after his wife’s maiden name. But that’s not the only thing named after his wife. A favorite cocktail made with vodka, St. Germain, lemon juice and muddled blackberries is named “Suzie.”
RUNINdc had the pleasure of visiting during the February Food Bloggers Happy Hour. As we walked in we were greeted by our lovely hostess, Caroline Dyer. Immediately we met many of our friends and fellow food bloggers congregated around the lively bar. It was packed, but it was warm and cozy and everyone had room to mingle.
The dining room is positioned at the rear of the building and is separated by a heavy glass door from the bar. By having the bar area separate it makes for a nice quiet dining experience with background music conducive to carrying on a conversation. The dining room is long and narrow with about 45 seats with red walls and soft Earthy tones — this would be a perfect venue for a Valentines’ dinner.
There are three distinct menus at Mackie’s…Bar, Lunch, and Dinner. The bar menu offers the typical sandwiches and lighter fare as well as the signature Bulgogi hoagie, Korean marinade and spicy Korean sauce.
The dinner menu offers a wide range of options from the bone-in chicken to lobster ravioli and of course their specialty – dried aged steak (Prime NY Strip au Poivre, Rib Eye and the Filet Mignon.)
Their beer, bourbon, scotch, and whiskey selection was great, and our bartender, Phil, was a most gracious host.
So when we asked Sang how owning a restaurant differs from being a lawyer, he jokingly replied that it was the one of the hardest jobs in the world. “With a restaurant, you’re committed to providing both a great product and high quality service. That’s what we strive to do everyday here, while keeping prices affordable and treating people with respect. As long as we do these things well, we will be successful.”
Photos by Igor Ziman