Central Michel Richard
1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20004
Neighborhood: Penn Quarter/Chinatown, Downtown
Cuisines: Modern, French, American
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
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
Cuisine: Celebrated French chef Michel Richard—the genius behind the whimsically haute Citronelle—puts his spin on American and French comfort food. Where else can you find divine gougères alongside a killer corned-beef sandwich? Or Budweiser and Chassagne-Montrachet?
Mood: The loud, blond-wood dining room, complete with a Warholian portrait of Richard, is as fizzy as a bottle of Veuve. It’s the antithesis of a stuffy power spot, but the Hill crowd likes it anyway.
Best for: Celebrating anything; fans of burgers (there are five kinds on the menu); taking out-of-towners.
Best dishes: Perfectly shucked oysters; mussel chowder; “faux gras” terrine; Gruyère gougères; corned-beef sandwich; an ultra-rich, duxelles-slathered grilled-cheese with a three-cheese béchamel for dipping; light and crisp fried chicken; cheeseburger with cheddar and bacon; macaroni and cheese; a messy but wonderful coconut Pavlova; Richard’s famed, hazelnut-backed riff on a Kit Kat bar.
Insider tips: Just because the fried chicken is inspired by KFC doesn’t mean you can stroll right in—this is one of the town’s toughest reservations.
Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for dinner (closed Sunday in summer). Expensive.