Located in the former premises of the much-loved Belmont Kitchen, Arbor has taken over one of the best people-watching spots in Adams Morgan. The patio curves around the 18th Street and Belmont sides of the building and affords room for rows of tables away from the automobile exhaust. Next door is the restaurant's tiny wine bar with a 16-bottle Cruvinet system and wines by the glass, the flight, or the bottle.
Fans of the Belmont Kitchen will recognize one menu item, an upside-down pizza–a sort of pizza tarte Tatin–here with the pizza used as a container for salad. The crust and cheese are fine, but the salad dressing is too sweet. The shrimpcake appetizer, shrimp in a corn batter, was much better. Steak frites, cooked as ordered, was marred by a bitter deglazing sauce, and a nicely cooked rack of lamb by undercooked couscous and overcooked root vegetables. The restaurant is pricer than its level of cooking justifies–$110 for two, including the least expensive bottle of wine on the list, tax, and tip.
Arbor Restaurant and Wine Bar, 2400 18th St., NW; 202-667-1200. Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, Sunday brunch.