BLUE RIBBON AWARD WINNER
Michel Richard's decision six years ago to move his base of operations from Los Angeles to Washington was the culinary equivalent of DC's acquisition of a Major-League Baseball team. Richard's combination of classic technique and witty innovation makes any meal at Citronelle a memorable experience.
It will not be an inexpensive one, particularly now that Citronelle is no longer open for lunch. Only in the upstairs bar can diners order à la carte. In the dining room there is a choice of two menus–three courses for $85 or a tasting menu of nine courses for $150. The choices change frequently, but recent menus have included Michel Richard's pig's foot–a thin sheet of crisp pork skin atop a stuffing of sweetbreads, foie gras, and the meat from the foot; Virtual Fettuccini, not fettuccine at all but thin strands of cuttlefish sauced with fresh corn and trout caviar; and a squab "minute steak," the flattened breast served with a potato-crusted confit of the leg in a cinnamon-cabernet sauce.
Richard was trained as a pastry chef, and his unusual desserts are delicious. Try Breakfast at Citronelle, a sweet that looks like fried eggs with toast, bacon, and hash browns but tastes like nothing of the sort. Sommelier Mark Slater presides over the extensive and well-chosen wine list with impressive knowledge that he is eager to share.