100 Best Restaurants 2008: Marcel’s

No. 19: Marcel's

Cuisine: Chef Robert Wiedmaier’s labor-intensive Franco-Belgian fare doesn’t stint on butter and cream, and his reductions and sauces—dark, rich, and complex—are reminiscent of an earlier age.

Mood: Silver domes and attentive, black-suited waiters make this expansive dining room with art-nouveau accents one of the most pampering palaces in town.

Best for: High-maintenance Francophiles and the Kennedy Center–bound who come for the great pretheater deal: $48 for three courses and a chauffeured Caddy or Mercedes to the performance.

Best dishes: An earthy roasted-chestnut soup with disks of house-made venison sausage; boudin blanc with celery-root purée and an intense Cabernet reduction; roasted pheasant with a terrine of pheasant confit; roasted figs with thyme mille feuille and honey goat cheese; blood-orange sorbet; chocolate-chip-mint ice cream.

Insider tips: Book the pretheater ride with your dinner reservation. Appetizers and desserts usually show more savoir-faire than entrées do. You can also sup in the swanky bar, where a jazz pianist plays Tuesday through Saturday.

Service: ••••

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