100 Best Restaurants 2008: The Majestic

No. 42: The Majestic

Cuisine: Nostalgia-inducing comfort food from owner Cathal Armstrong—the chef at nearby Restaurant Eve—and chef Shannon Overmiller with a make-everything-from-scratch ethos and commitment to local produce. Todd Thrasher is the chemist behind such cocktails as Satan’s Soul Patch—gin, vermouth, orange juice, and Grand Marnier—here as at Armstrong’s other outposts.

Mood: The room has been warmed up from the days when Susan McCreight Lindeborg was chef/owner, with retro light fixtures, honeyed woods, and booths adding a bit of hominess to the sleek lines.

Best for: Cocktails and comfort on a wintry day.

Best dishes: Parsnip soup crunchy with candied apple; crispy fried calamari with lemon and chives; meatloaf with mushroom gravy; seafood stew that nods to the Chesapeake with an Old Bay aïoli; calf liver with bacon and onions; whipped potatoes rich with cream and butter; rapini sautéed in olive oil with chili flakes; house-made pastas; coconut cake spiked with rum; bittersweet-chocolate egg cream; chocolate cream pie that makes you wonder why no one makes it anymore.

Insider tips: Sunday-night dinner is usually mouth-watering—roast chicken, roast beef, barbecue pork—and a great deal at $68 for the meal, which feeds up to four, including sides and dessert, usually a whole pie.

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.