Cuisine: High-concept Asian fusion devised by Wolfgang Puck and executed by Scott Drewno, resulting in a synthesis of Western proteins and portion sizes with Pacific Rim accents, sauces, and preparations.
Mood: Want to see Wolfgang? Get a doggy bag—the sepia-toned picture of the Austrian celebrity chef on it is as close as you’ll come. But the place still conveys a sense of excitement thanks to the elegant dining room, with its elevated perch looking onto Pennsylvania Avenue, and the swiveling heads of patrons on the lookout for the rich and famous.
Best for: Taking out-of-towners skeptical of DC’s star power.
Best dishes: Delicately fashioned crab-and-shrimp shu mai; a small terrine of roast suckling pig with plum-fig chutney; prawns in a mustard-yogurt curry full of fresh curry leaves; crispy sea bass, carved tableside, in a subtle Thai chili sauce; Indian-spiced short ribs with dal and raita; Szechuan steak au poivre; Cherry Blossom, a dessert of cheese dumplings drenched with sour cherries that’s as light as it is rich.
Insider tips: The price of Puck’s star power is evident from the start. Glasses of wine are priced like appetizers, many appetizers are priced like entrées, and some entrées edge toward the $40 mark. The downstairs lounge is slightly less prohibitive.