Bistrot Le Zinc
3714 Macomb Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20016
Tuesday through Friday 10 AM to 11 PM, Saturday and Sunday 5 AM to midnight
Price Range: Moderate
Reservations: Not Needed
With restaurants, simplicity is an often-underrated virtue. But that's what keeps drawing us back to this bistro--us and plenty of neighborhood regulars. The butter-yellow dining room, crammed with a ragtag array of pictures (a black-and-white shot of Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright, a Steve McQueen poster), tends to be busy even on weeknights.
Chef/co-owner David Ashwell, Robert Wiedmaier's longtime right-hand man, is turning out such straightforward but soulful bistro fare as excellent steak frites, crocks of mussels, and a rich onion soup. There's not too much tinkering with tradition, but the terrific lemon tart is like nothing we've had--its tender crust holds faintly citrusy custard covered with brûléed sugar and, atop that, translucent slices of raw lemon.
What to get: Mussels Bolognese; sweetbreads with grainy mustard sauce; escargots with Stilton and apples; rockfish crusted in brioche crumbs and served with tapenade.
Open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. Moderate.