No. 17: Marcel's
Cuisine: Classical French cooking with intense sauces and labor-intensive dishes that no one else makes anymore. Chef Robert Wiedmaier presents a mix-and-match tasting menu of $52 for three courses (called pretheater but available all evening), $75 for four, $90 for five, and $125 for seven.
Mood: Glittering mirrors, black-suited waiters, and silver domes lend a retro-luxe feel to the dining room. Of late, service has been a bit scattered and the pacing slightly off.
Best for: A grown-up meal in a grown-up dining room.
Best dishes: Mussels au gratin; boudin blanc with chestnut purée and lardons; turbot with crisped artichoke leaves and truffle essence; breast of pheasant with pheasant-and-thyme cream; lamb tenderloins in phyllo with cumin Madeira sauce; apple with a beggar’s purse, bread pudding, and apple-butter ice cream.
Insider tips: Book early to take advantage of the restaurant’s free car service to the Kennedy Center—slots fill up. The inviting bar has a wallet-friendly menu and a jazz pianist Tuesday through Saturday nights.
Service: ***½ (three and a half stars).
Open daily for dinner.
See all of 2009's 100 Best Restaurants.