CityZen (Mandarin Oriental Hotel)
1330 Maryland Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20024
Neighborhood: Capitol Hill, Capitol Hill, Southwest/Waterfront
Cuisines: Modern, American
Open for dinner Tuesday through Thursday from 6 to 9:30 PM; Friday and Saturday from 5:30 to 9:30 PM.
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Nearby Metro Stops: Smithsonian, L'Enfant Plaza
Price Range: Very expensive
Noise Level: Chatty
Hits from a recent tasting menu included toro with Meyer-lemon chimichurri; merlu (also known as hake) with piquillo-pepper marmalade; and a pear Linzer torte.
Three-course menu, $75. Five-course tasting menu, $110; vegetarian tasting menu, $90. Three-course bar menu, $50.
Special Features: Wheelchair Accessible, Valet Parking Available, Party Space, Good for Groups
Cuisine: In figure-skating terms, Eric Ziebold attempts the equivalent of a triple axel every night, producing high-concept, often exquisite dishes at breakneck speed. One minute, he’s evoking Escoffier with a perfect terrine; another, he’s channeling his Iowa mom, preparing tongue with her corned-beef recipe. And he can’t resist upscaling humble ethnic dishes, such as a Russian koulibiac crafted with asparagus and a Japanese shabu shabu made with foie gras.
Mood: A soaring room in the luxe Mandarin Oriental hotel. It might look imposing, but many of the sharply suited servers exude warmth and humor, and the soundtrack has been known to include Radiohead and Jimi Hendrix.
Best for: Diners willing to place their trust in a chef and his vision and to enjoy the ride.
Best dishes: The menu changes monthly, but look for dishes with a Midwestern or Americana bent (Pilsner popovers, grasshopper pie, a riff on Maryland stuffed ham); anything with pasta, all house-made and excellent; preparations of beef or shoat (baby pig); dessert soufflés; cheeses from the cart.
Insider tips: A $50 three-course bar menu, with two or three choices per category, is geared to more casual walk-ins—in the dining room it’s $75 for three courses or $110 for the tasting menu.
Open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner. Very expensive.