Details

Marcel's

2401 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20037

202-296-1166

Neighborhood: Foggy Bottom/West End, Downtown

Cuisines: French, Belgian

Opening Hours:
Open Monday through Thursday 5:30 to 10, Friday and Saturday 5:30 to 11, Sunday 5:30 to 9:30.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Nearby Metro Stops: Farragut West, Foggy Bottom-GWU

Price Range: Very expensive

Noise Level: Intimate

Reservations: Recommended

Website: http://www.marcelsdc.com/

Best Dishes:
Alaskan crab legs with crab salad; filet of turbotin; medallions of lamb wrapped in phyllo with spinach and duxelles; boudin blanc; venison with a reduction of Carmenère wine; grape clafoutis; soufflé specials; cheese plate with honeycomb and raisins on t

Special Features: Wheelchair Accessible, Valet Parking Available

Marcel’s ★★★½

Fine dining is more polyglot than ever. It’s also less fine. Sauces take maybe ten minutes, not ten hours.

Among the last bastions of the old ways is this elegant lair in DC’s West End, where the cooking is classically French, portions are fit for men fresh from the hunt, and everybody dresses up for dinner. You can still get a Dover sole fileted at table, and the veteran, tuxedoed waitstaff makes you feel like a power player.

Marcel’s will never be taken for one of the purist places that entice thrill-seeking foodies. Chef Robert Wiedmaier is not one to feature a regional delicacy in the interest of supporting a local industry; he is not above using imported crab, for example. His cuisine is rooted in the past and is as labor-intensive as cooking gets, made up of heavily reduced stocks for which no shortcuts can be brooked. His osso buco cooks overnight over low heat, the fibers of the meat dissolving slowly. The making of his sublime boudin blanc consumes half a day and hours of vigorous whipping by hand; a food processor would destroy the texture.

It’s a style of cooking that is fast becoming passé. But so, too, are jackets at dinner. Marcel’s is an elegant, delicious reminder of the way it used to be.