January 2007: 100 Very Best Restaurants
A sleek but warm hotel dining room and lounge near GW University.
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli
Comments () | Published January 22, 2007
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Circle Bistro
Address: 1 Washington Circle, NW, Washington, DC 20037
Phone: 202-293-5390
Neighborhood: Foggy Bottom/West End, Downtown
Cuisines: Modern, Breakfast, American
Opening Hours: Open Monday through Thursday 7:30 to 10:30 AM, 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM, and 5 to 10 PM, Friday 7:30 to 10:30 AM, 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM, and 5 to 11 PM, Saturday 8 to 10 AM and 5 to 11 PM, and Sunday 8 to 10:30 AM, 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM, and 5 to 10 PM.
Nearby Metro Stops: Farragut West, Foggy Bottom-GWU
Price Range: Moderate
Dress: Upscale Casual
Noise Level: Intimate
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Potato-crusted oysters with bacon-chive crème fraîche; roasted-beet salad with walnut vinaigrette; lamb rib eye with ratatouille and olive tapenade; duck with celery root, spinach, and orange; brownie sundae with espresso ice cream and candied walnuts.
Price Details: Lunch appetizers, $7 to $10; entrees, $12 to $17. Dinner appetizers, $7 to $18; entrees, $19 to $27. Brunch entrees, $9 to $16. Three-course pre-theater menu (served until 7 PM), $35.

No. 31: Circle Bistro

Photograph by Kathryn Norwood.

You know that favorite rec­ord you come back to after a long day? That’s how this low-key bistro feels—content to be in the background but as soothing as a Diana Krall ballad.

The spare but comfortable orange dining room—and the reasonable prices—suit nearly every occasion: a first date, dinner with parents, a quick pretheater meal, a round of happy-hour martinis, a business lunch. The cooking is remarkably consistent. Chef Brendan Cox, an Eastern Shore native, clearly loves Chesapeake ingredients, but he constantly plays with new flavors—deploying lemongrass in an excellent appetizer of seared scallops and setting off a slice of seared foie gras with 50-year-old balsamic vinegar. And he hasn’t forgotten his days working at Equinox. Perfect potatoes dauphinois set off a lovely, lemony slab of brook trout meunière, his duck confit surpasses that of many French kitchens, and a mushroom salad dressed with a bacon vinaigrette and capped with a poached egg makes earthiness feel elegant.

Desserts, save for a simple apple croustade, aren’t the kitchen’s strong suit, but chances are you’ll want to come back anyway.

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Posted at 08:07 AM/ET, 01/22/2007 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews