100 Best Restaurants 2008: Montmartre

No. 40: Montmartre

Cuisine: All the warhorses of the French classical canon are here, from pâtés to pot au feu—carried off with consistency and a minimum of fuss.

Mood: Yes, it used to be a post office, and the wraparound glass windows don’t exactly bespeak the kind of bistro you can lose yourself in. But the inside, with buttery walls and art-deco posters, glows at night and the clatter of plates and rich smells emanating from the open kitchen feel right. The only thing missing: the Gallic hauteur.

Best for: Celebrating a special occasion for two for less than three digits.

Best dishes: Creamy chestnut soup with smoked bacon; country pâté and duck rillette; a poor man’s caviar of finely whipped roasted-eggplant mousse; hanger steak with caramelized shallots and red-wine sauce; braised rabbit legs over linguine; a fish pot au feu with clams, mussels, shrimp, and monkfish; floating island.

Insider tips: The nightly list of specials typically strays beyond the classics, with mixed results. Often the more conventional-sounding the dish, the better.

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.