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. Bar is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 11:30 PM (bar menu available after 5:30).
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Nearby Metro Stops: Smithsonian, L'Enfant Plaza
Price Range: Very expensive
Noise Level: Chatty
Pilsner popovers; grasshopper pie; stuffed ham; anything with pasta; preparations of beef or shoat; dessert soufflés; cheeses from the cart.
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
Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.
Menus at this luxe hotel restaurant come in a leather portfolio and are hand-signed nightly by chef Eric Ziebold, a protégé of famed chef Thomas Keller. Ziebold’s mastery of classic technique is visible in nearly every dish, from a carrot soufflé to perfectly turned pommes parisiennes, but he also employs garnishes such as pomegranate powder and a “Bloody Mary egg”—a sphere of gelled Bloody Mary consommé—served over a black-olive arepa.
You’ll find inspiration from, say, the American South—a deviled egg topped with ham salad—and Tunisia, as in a nicely composed cauliflower appetizer with harissa oil, capers, and preserved lemon. Buttery, salty Parker House rolls, served with all entrées, add a touch of comfort to each meal. Servers work the palatial dining room—20-foot ceilings, plush banquettes—with the finesse of a ballet troupe. Nearly every seat has a view of the open kitchen, where Ziebold strives for perfection.
Also good: The menu changes daily, but recent highlights have included risotto with apples, sturgeon, and cured trout roe; quail wrapped in bacon, served with quince chutney and foie gras; vacherin with blood-orange sorbet and honey ice cream.
Open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner. Very expensive.