January 2006 100 Very Best Restaurants: 1789

You'll taste the small-town cooking Andrés grew up on and see flashes of the avant-garde style he's since embraced.

THE SCENE. As befits a restaurant often chosen for special occasions, this Georgetown legend is among the few places in town that requires a jacket for gentlemen. In this dining room, tradition is not just observed but obeyed.

WHAT YOU'LL LOVE. The Federal-style main dining room, particularly when it's decked out for the holidays, is one of the city's most festive destinations, and the solicitous staff is ever-alert to the needs and expectations of a special event. The sophisticated American cooking–short on experimentation, long on durable combinations of flavors–appeals to a variety of sensibilities. (And longtime fans should expect no drop-off from the kitchen as chef Ris Lacoste passes the baton to Nathan Beauchamp of Restaurant Eve in January.)

WHAT YOU WON'T. Being relegated to one of the less attractive subsidiary dining rooms.

BEST DISHES. Rack of lamb with feta mashed potatoes, an area classic; an earthy wild-mushroom-and-pancetta tart; a proper Caesar salad, a rarity these days; a sensational vanilla-and-chocolate bread pudding.


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