100 Best Restaurants 2010: Citronelle
Comments () | Published January 1, 2010
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Citronelle
Address: 3000 M St. NW, Washington, DC 20007
Phone: 202-625-2150
Neighborhood: Georgetown
Cuisines: Modern, French
Opening Hours: Open Tuesday through Saturday 6 to 9:30 PM.
Nearby Metro Stops: Foggy Bottom-GWU
Price Range: Very expensive
Dress: Formal
Noise Level: Intimate
Reservations: Required
Best Dishes Fried chicken nuggets with mustard sauce; duxelles-stuffed brik pastry; “begula” pasta; glazed sablefish with miso sauce; mushroom “cappuccino”; roast duck; napoleon.
Price Details: Three-course dinner menu, $95. Chef's tasting menu, $155. Lounge menu, $12 to $38.

Cuisine: The ultimate in dinner as theater from culinary showman Michel Richard, who marries technical rigor, up-to-the-moment culinary practices (he’s become obsessed with the sous vide technique), and a wicked sense of humor to produce food that looks like no other and, at its best, rivals the work of the finest chefs in the world. To dine here is to be dazzled—a mushroom soup that looks like a cappuccino, a lobster dish that will fool you into thinking you’re supping on caviar—but it’s also to come away with a better appreciation of the power of great cooking to produce flavors that couldn’t exist without careful, artful manipulation. More than edible art, it’s wondrously delicious art.

Mood: Heads may turn for a glimpse of a celebrity or politico, but the real excitement is the showpiece kitchen—a brightly lit stage, aswarm with serious-faced cooks, where some of the most eye-catching dishes in the area emerge, ready for their close-ups. Even if you’re not lucky enough to snag a seat at the chef’s table or in the first row of tables that look into the kitchen, all of them are angled to the main stage.

Best for: A night of gastronomic adventure—and excess.

Best dishes: Fried chicken nuggets with mustard sauce; crispy duxelles-stuffed cigars of brik pastry; “begula” pasta, a textural marvel that brings together soft poached lobster, poached egg, and black squid-ink tapioca pearls; glazed sablefish with a complex and delicate miso sauce; mushroom “cappuccino”; roast duck; a superlative napoleon.

Insider tips: The upstairs lounge features the same wondrous cooking at a fraction of the cost of dining downstairs, albeit with tiny tables and less pampering.

Service: •••

Open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner. Very expensive.

See all of 2010's 100 Best Restaurants

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