100 Best Restaurants 2008: Black Market

No. 44: Black Market

Cuisine: Generously portioned comfort food that bears a creative touch, minds the seasons, and never takes shortcuts: The duck confit, the cured salmon, even the dollop of applesauce with the brunchtime latkes are all house-made.

Mood: Jeff and Barbara Black’s stylishly comfortable restaurant lays on the charm with paintings of turnips and asparagus and, on some warm nights on the porch, a jazz trio interrupted only by the whistle of a nearby freight train. Garrison Keillor couldn’t have imagined it better.

Best for: Impromptu family dinners, leisurely Sunday brunch, capping off a long day with comfort food.

Best dishes: Cornmeal-fried oysters; plump mussels with tomato and herbs; barbecue shrimp over grits studded with sweet corn; wood-grilled hanger steak with chimichurri; a roasted half-chicken smothered in herbs and served with just-buttery-enough whipped potatoes; a good and messy cheeseburger with fried onions; orange-infused crème brûlée; caramel-drizzled apple crisp.

Insider tips: At some places, brunch is a sly way to get rid of leftovers (beware of lobster omelets). Not here: The menu is carefully planned and executed, from the fresh pastries to the applewood-smoked bacon.

Service: ••

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.