100 Best Restaurants 2010: Cafe du Parc
No. 21: Cafe du Parc
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Cynthia Hacinli, Ann Limpert, Kate Nerenberg, Rina Rapuano
Comments () | Published January 1, 2010
100 Best Restaurants 2013 100 Best Restaurants (2011) 100 Best Restaurants 2012 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

Cafe Du Parc
Address: 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004
Phone: 202-942-7000
Neighborhood: Downtown
Cuisines: French, Breakfast
Opening Hours: Monday through Friday 6 AM to 10 PM, Saturday and Sunday 7 AM to 10 PM
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Kid Friendly: Yes
Nearby Metro Stops: Metro Center, Federal Triangle
Price Range: Expensive
Dress: Business Casual
Noise Level: Intimate
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Steak tartare with a raw quail egg; pâté en croûte; pot of mussels; crisped pork belly; roast chicken; mille-feuille.
Price Details: Starters $5.95 to $12.95, main courses $16.95 to $23.95.
Special Features:
Wheelchair Accessible, Kid Friendly, Weekend Brunch, Outdoor Seating, Breakfast

Cuisine: At a time when “bistro” can mean anything at all and when French chefs are making themselves giddy with variations on classic combinations, this charming cafe amounts to a quiet stand for the old ways, a place where technical mastery supplants innovation and the menu, which changes seasonally, remains proudly canonical (mussels, quenelles de brochet, steak tartare). Antoine Westermann, a three-star Michelin chef with restaurants in Paris and Strasbourg, is a consultant and, though working largely from across the pond, has made this one of the area’s most consistent restaurants.

Mood: Outside, on the umbrella-topped patio, is one of the most charming settings in DC—a slice of cafe society. Inside, particularly upstairs, is a different story: The food may put you in mind of Paris, but the room is nondescript. A seat near the bar downstairs splits the difference.

Best for: Anyone who believes that the only true cooking is French and those who long for the deep satisfaction to be had from dishes prepared without fanfare and with a regard for detail.

Best dishes: A robust steak tartare surmounted by a raw quail egg; pâté en croûte Antoine Westermann, a tour de force of savory pastry making; the best pot of mussels in the area; a slab of pork belly, expertly rendered and crisped; a deceptively simple roast chicken with its own juices; mille-feuille, a rich sandwich of creamy sweet custard held together by two crisp panes of pastry.

Insider tips: To keep tabs low, two can split the pot of mussels, listed as an entrée on the menu; it makes a terrific appetizer.

Service: ••

Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for brunch and dinner. Moderate to expensive.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 01/01/2010 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews