100 Best Restaurants 2010: Marcel's
Comments () | Published January 1, 2010
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Address: 2401 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20037
Phone: 202-296-1166
Neighborhood: Foggy Bottom/West End, Downtown
Cuisines: French, Belgian
Opening Hours: Daily for dinner.
Nearby Metro Stops: Farragut West, Foggy Bottom-GWU
Price Range: Very expensive
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Alaskan crab legs; filet of turbotin; medallions of lamb wrapped in phyllo with spinach and duxelles; boudin blanc; grape clafoutis; soufflé specials; cheese plate with honeycomb
Cuisine: When is the last time you encountered Madeira sauce on a menu? Chef Robert Wiedmaier turns out the kind of beurre-heavy French cooking that once dominated the local restaurant scene and has all but disappeared. But his kitchen is by no means stuck in the past—hamachi crudo and cilantro aïoli are in the mix, too.

Mood: The honey-lit dining room, which lies beyond a pair of heavy burgundy drapes, feels elegantly plush and civilized. It takes you back to a time when the only blackberries at the table were on a tart.

Best for: A dinner to dress up for; those nostalgic for the days of Rive Gauche and Sans Souci.

Best dishes: Sweet Alaskan crab legs sided with a brightly flavored crab salad; filet of turbotin (a small, flaky relative of turbot) in a delicate beurre blanc; rosy medallions of lamb wrapped in phyllo with spinach and duxelles; boudin blanc (Wiedmaier’s signature), an elegant, mousse-filled sausage; venison with a rich reduction of Carmenère wine; grape clafoutis; soufflé specials; cheese plate with honeycomb and raisins on the vine.

Insider tips: The menu offers a four-, five-, or seven-course menu, but a three-course pre-theater menu ($52) is a good deal—and when you consider the amuse-bouche, the mignardise, and the take-home madeleines, it amounts to a pretty sumptuous meal. If you’re headed to the nearby Kennedy Center, you can valet-park your car for the evening and the restaurant will arrange to have you driven to and from the theater via Mercedes; you can also opt to have your dessert after the show.

Service: •••

Open daily for dinner. Very expensive.

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