100 Very Best Restaurants 2014: Central Michel Richard
No. 9 on this year's list.
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Jessica Voelker, Anna Spiegel
Photograph by Scott Suchman.
Comments () | Published January 28, 2014
100 Best Restaurants 2014 100 Best Restaurants 2013 100 Best Restaurants 2012 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

Central Michel Richard
Address: 1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20004
Phone: 202-626-0015
Neighborhood: Penn Quarter/Chinatown, Downtown
Cuisines: Modern, French, American
Opening Hours: Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner, Sunday for brunch and dinner.
Nearby Metro Stops: Metro Center, Federal Triangle
Price Range: Expensive
Noise Level: Rowdy
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Oysters; “faux gras” terrine; Gruyère gougères; grilled cheese with a three-cheese béchamel for dipping; fried chicken; cheeseburger with cheddar and bacon; coconut Pavlova; hazelnut-backed riff o

The master chef may be spending most of his time in New York, where he recently opened two restaurants, but Michel Richard’s lone DC dining room is not suffering. This remains one of the most fully realized restaurants in Washington. At a time when every new spot wants to blend ambition on the plate with a not-really-trying casualness in the room, the strings too often show. Here the effect is almost seamless, as is the canny marriage of bistro and diner.

Portions are big—is that a chicken schnitzel or a hubcap?—but the razor-edged cleanness and baroque detailing of the compositions bespeak the four-star world in which Richard made his name. Forgoing dessert here is like leaving a show before the rousing finale. 

Open: Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner. 

Don’t miss: Gougères; deviled eggs with boquerones; escargot tart; “faux gras” terrine; lamb burger; short ribs; fried soft-shell crabs; fried chicken; banana split; napoleon; cherry tart.

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