100 Best Restaurants 2008: Cafe Du Parc

No. 35: Cafe Du Parc

Cuisine: French bistro cooking conceived by three-star Michelin chef Antoine Westermann and executed with a deftness and lightness that make the classics—pâté en croûte, quenelles de brochet—feel almost contemporary.

Mood: It depends. Outdoors in good weather at an umbrella-topped table with a view of Pershing Park, it can feel like a glorious slice of café society. But the dining room upstairs is charmless and the downstairs bar offers little seating.

Best for: Francophiles who’ve never gotten over their honeymoon in Paris and power breakfasters looking for a good cup of coffee and a crusty croissant.

Best dishes: A superb pâté en croûte—veal, pork, and duck foie gras in a crisp, buttery pastry; quenelles de brochet, ethereal pillows of pike mousse bathed in a dark crawfish sauce; one of the area’s best pots of mussels, big and sweet and perfectly steamed in white wine and parsley; a classic mille feuille, all cream and crunch and air.

Insider tips: Keep costs down by sharing a pot of mussels as an entrée and sticking to glasses of the excellent and agreeably priced Rhône wines.

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.