100 Best Restaurants 2009: Westend Bistro
No. 35: Westend Bistro
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli, Rina Rapuano, Eve Zibart
Comments () | Published February 1, 2009
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Westend Bistro
Address: 1190 22 St., NW, Washington, DC 20037
Phone: 202-974-4900
Neighborhood: Foggy Bottom/West End
Cuisines: Fusion/Eclectic
Opening Hours: Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for dinner.
Nearby Metro Stops: Foggy Bottom-GWU
Price Range: Expensive
Reservations: Not Needed
Best Dishes Tuna carpaccio sprinkled with chives; a pot of salmon rillettes; shrimp-and-bean soup; macaroni and cheese with ham and toasted bread crumbs; a golden-crusted fish burger with saffron aïoli; a filet of wild striped bass with Asian spices.

Cuisine: Eric Ripert’s mash-up of French nostalgia (pork cassoulet, rillettes) and American comfort classics (shrimp and grits) relies on precision cooking, a hallmark of the chef’s famed Le Bernardin in New York City. Four-star dining at two-star prices is the aim, and when things click, Westend comes close to that lofty ideal. But since the departure of Leonardo Marino and the arrival of Joe Palma, the kitchen has been erratic.

Mood: The buzz has dwindled, but weekends are still a tough reservation and the bar a gathering spot for older singles. With its gleaming wood and amber glow, the dining room is at its best when full.

Best for: The convivial bar scene; dining with friends; a business lunch; dinner with a date.

Best dishes: Tuna carpaccio dressed with lemon, chives, shallots, and olive oil; salmon rillettes with smoked and fresh fish; a terrific macaroni and cheese with toasted bread crumbs; perfectly cooked snapper with smoked-ham succotash; melting oven-roasted butternut and acorn squash and pumpkin; apple cobbler crunchy with brown sugar; chocolate-caramel cream.

Insider tips: A booth by the windows is the place to be. And ask for another table if you don’t like what you’re given—the tendency is to fill less desirable seats first.

Service: ••½

Open daily for lunch and dinner. Expensive.

See all of 2009's 100 Best Restaurants

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 02/01/2009 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews