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
The master chef may be spending most of his time in New York, where he recently opened two restaurants, but Michel Richard’s lone DC dining room is not suffering. This remains one of the most fully realized restaurants in Washington. At a time when every new spot wants to blend ambition on the plate with a not-really-trying casualness in the room, the strings too often show. Here the effect is almost seamless, as is the canny marriage of bistro and diner.
Portions are big—is that a chicken schnitzel or a hubcap?—but the razor-edged cleanness and baroque detailing of the compositions bespeak the four-star world in which Richard made his name. Forgoing dessert here is like leaving a show before the rousing finale.
Open: Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner.
Don’t miss: Gougères; deviled eggs with boquerones; escargot tart; “faux gras” terrine; lamb burger; short ribs; fried soft-shell crabs; fried chicken; banana split; napoleon; cherry tart.