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100 Best Restaurants 2012: Cork
From soulful bistros to high-gloss steakhouses, there's lots of good eating in DC, Maryland, and Virginia
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Cynthia Hacinli, Ann Limpert, Rina Rapuano
Comments () | Published January 23, 2012
100 Best Restaurants 2012 100 Best Restaurants (2011) 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

Cork
Address: 1720 14th St., NW, Washington, DC 20009
Phone: 202-265-2675
Neighborhood: Logan Circle
Cuisines: Tapas/Small Plates, Modern, American
Opening Hours: Open Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 5 PM to midnight; Thursday through Saturday 5 PM to 1 AM.
Nearby Metro Stops: U St./African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo, Dupont Circle
Price Range: Moderate
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Braised mustard greens with pork tenderloin; roasted Brussels sprouts; croque madame; a stew of chickpeas with saffron; French fries with house-made ketchup; crustless goat-cheese-cake quenelles.
Price Details: Small plates, $5 to $15.

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Not much has changed at this cozy, brick-walled wine bar since it opened in 2008. Many dishes on the small-plates menu have been around since the beginning, well-curated wine flights are detailed on the chalkboard, and prime-time tables can mean a wait--the place doesn't take reservations after 6:30, but you can call 30 minutes ahead to put your name on the list.

When founding chef Ron Tanaka left and longtime Poste chef Robert Weland took over in October, we were curious to see if there would be a shakeup. Smartly, Weland seems to be leaving well enough alone, preserving the menu's proven hits--the avocado crostini are as good as ever. But Weland also lets his considerable talents flash in a few dishes that are all his own, such as a showstopping special of porchetta with a dollop of kale pesto over grits or a beautifully cooked cut of skin-on sea bream. Weland has expressed interest in opening a place of his own, but for now he's keeping this one in top shape.

What to get: Chicken-liver pâté with shallot marmalade; oil-cured tomatoes on toast; fried calamari and shrimp with zingy rémoulade; grilled flatiron steak with anchovy vinaigrette; grilled fontina-and-prosciutto sandwich; French fries; apple crostada with vanilla ice cream; ginger-caramel pot de crème; at brunch, egg in a Parmesan crust.

Open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner, Sunday for brunch and dinner. Moderate.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 01/23/2012 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews