100 Very Best Restaurants 2013: Montmartre

The dining room at Montmartre on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Photograph by Chris Campbell.
The dining room at Montmartre on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Photograph by Chris Campbell.

Most of the grand French restaurants that ruled the scene a
generation ago have died off, casualties of an age that equates formality
with fustiness. The low-key bistro, however, has survived the tectonic
shift, and this Eastern Market mainstay epitomizes its appeal.

It’s one of the liveliest spaces in town, a densely packed room
that evokes a Gauloise-stained Paris bar where the “other” Capitol
Hill—the not-forever-working crowd—relaxes over red wine while cooks clang
pans in the open kitchen.

New chef Brian Wilson has brought an unexpected lightness to
the stove, adding more fish and introducing a lineup of tartines
and quiches. These are welcome changes, but Wilson is wise to recognize a
vision that doesn’t need reinventing. This remains French country cooking,
robust and generous—and at a price that feels like a bargain. Don’t
miss:
Mussels steamed in white wine or pastis; country pâté;
mushroom consommé with barley; Arctic char with shrimp and trumpet
mushrooms; swordfish in fennel sauce; crème brûlée; chocolate tart;
floating island. Open: Tuesday through Friday for lunch and dinner,
Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner.
Moderate.

100 Very Best Restaurants 2013

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