100 Best Restaurants 2009: Citronelle
Comments () | Published February 20, 2009
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Citronelle (Temporarily Closed)
Address: 3000 M St. NW, Washington, DC 20007
Phone: 202-625-2150
Neighborhood: Georgetown
Cuisines: Modern, French
Opening Hours: Open Tuesday through Saturday 6 to 9:30 PM.
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Nearby Metro Stops: Foggy Bottom-GWU
Price Range: Very expensive
Dress: Formal
Noise Level: Intimate
Reservations: Required
Best Dishes Fried chicken nuggets with mustard sauce; duxelles-stuffed brik pastry; “begula” pasta; glazed sablefish with miso sauce; mushroom “cappuccino”; roast duck; napoleon.
Price Details: Three-course dinner menu, $95. Chef's tasting menu, $155. Lounge menu, $12 to $38.
Special Features:
Wheelchair Accessible, Valet Parking Available

No. 2: Citronelle

Citronelle's famed mosaic. Photograph by Renee Comet.

Cuisine: Michel Richard’s dazzling reinterpretation of French cooking puts the hoot in haute cuisine. Elevating fun over formality, and with a masterly command of technique, he creates a gastronomic experience unrivaled in the area: dinner as theater, from sleights of hand—an “egg symphony” of four tastes that includes not a single egg—to stunning trompe l’oeil, as in a “stained glass” of raw fish. Amid all the play, though, lies a sturdy classicism.

Mood: An open kitchen is the centerpiece of the multitiered space. A seat at Richard’s long chef’s table provides an up-close view of the brigade of toque-wearing chefs circling about. The subterranean dining room is somewhat dated, as are the dark-suited waiters.

Best for: Foodies who think they’ve eaten everything.

Best dishes: Abalone served sashimi style with a rich shallot emulsion; reconstructed oyster-and-clam chowder; sablefish with miso glaze; short ribs for two, the meat deboned and cooked sous-vide for 72 hours, then finished in a searing-hot pan and presented medium rare; loup de mer with black-truffle emulsion; candied apple with caramel ice cream; blueberry cheesecake; chocolate dégustation, a variation on a theme with four different desserts.

Insider tips: Citronelle Lounge—really just a table around the upstairs bar—is a less costly alternative to four-star dining, with some of Richard’s greatest hits on the menu, including his take on Chicken McNuggets and the justly famous 72-hour short ribs.

Service: ***½ (three and a half stars).

Open daily for dinner.

See all of 2009's 100 Best Restaurants

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 02/20/2009 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews