January 2007: 100 Very Best Restaurants

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

No. 37: Poste

It’s said that you’re judged by the company you keep. If true, it might explain how this American-style brasserie has flown under the radar of so many food lovers for so long. Often confused with its Penn Quarter neighbor Zola or lumped into the conversation with nearby Rosa Mexicano and IndeBleu, Poste is neither.

Perhaps chef Rob Weland’s menu could be considered trendy—if trendy means conversant with the styles and ingredients turning up in some of the country’s best restaurants—burrata dumplings, say, or roast black cod. The quartet of savory ice-cream cones, for example—salmon tartare and crème fraîche piped into a crunchy cornet-shaped shell—is straight out of the French Laundry, though the brilliant addition of curry oil is Weland’s own.

But it’s more accurate to say that Weland has a grasp of what people like to eat these days. That means cooking with big, clean flavors backed by bold ideas: oil-slicked beef tartare capped by a salt-topped brioche bun, a whimsically upscale burger; a filet of wild striped bass sailing on a raft of brandade and crowned with a red-wine-poached egg; lovingly fashioned fist-size ravioli stuffed with ricotta and herbs plucked from the garden outside.

Not everything is so mod. Weland also does a terrific roast chicken, and the brunch menu abounds in smart details: a duck-pastrami sandwich, bruschetta adorned with fresh white anchovies and fresh baby tomatoes, and cooked-to-order yeast doughnuts flecked with lavender and dusted with sugar.

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