A hip hotel restaurant with an ever-changing modern American menu.

From January 2006 100 Very Best Restaurants

THE SCENE. The most intriguing of the hip hotel restaurants, with bold colors and modernist lines playing out in a high-ceilinged, monumental former post office.

WHAT YOU'LL LOVE. At its best, which is to say at its most crowded, the place thrums with excitement. If you tire of keeping tabs on the procession of well-heeled patrons, you can always eavesdrop on chef Robert Weland as he barks out orders to "fire a beef tartare!" from the counter. Weland has an uncanny sense of the culinary moment, crafting a constantly changing menu attuned to the things we want to eat now (short ribs, black cod) and investing his cooking with smart, contemporary touches without crossing the line into pretension.

WHAT YOU WON'T. The back room can't compare to the grandeur of the mirror-dominated front room–quiet midweek nights tend to accentuate its relative gloom; venturing beyond the often thrilling, carefully wrought first courses can turn up a disappointment or two; and although some of the staff can compensate for their gaps in knowledge with energy and enthusiasm, not all can.


Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.