100 Best Restaurants 2009: 2941

No. 14: 2941

Cuisine: Chef Bertrand Chemel’s variations on modern French and American cooking—with their long-coaxed flavors and striking textures—mark him as an alum of New York’s Café Boulud, the celebrated bistro of chef Daniel Boulud. Though the fine print says you can order à la carte, the menu reads as a choice between a three-course $70 meal with options and a tasting menu: four courses for $95, six for $120.

Mood: Playful glass “jellyfish” swinging from the ceilings and tall windows overlooking a wooded lake make this one of the area’s most striking rooms.

Best for: A romantic meal; family celebrations; nibbles and cocktails at the elliptical bar overlooking the koi pond.

Best dishes: Salad of endive, Fourme d’Ambert cheese (a creamy French bleu), walnuts, and fig confit; butternut-squash soup with lemongrass-and-cilantro cream; octopus carpaccio with grapefruit; steamed sea bass in beurre blanc; beef duo, a rib eye wrapped around a bundle of tender short rib and roasted, served with rosemary potatoes and Rossini “red wine” sauce (worth the $12 supplement); cheese board with six varieties ($10 supplement); miniature chestnut soufflé with eggnog ice cream; frozen truffle with Earl Grey–infused crème fraîche.

Insider tips: Tables along the bank of windows are prime. The kitchen is generous with gifts: shots of mushroom bisque as an amuse-bouche on a cold evening, a plate of warm doughnuts and house-made sweets as a postdessert treat, and sometimes, if you tour the kitchen, fresh-made baguettes to take home.

Service: **** (four stars).

Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for dinner.

See all of 2009's 100 Best Restaurants.

Get Our “Brunches This Weekend” Newsletter

The best breakfasts and brunches to try every weekend, plus our most popular food stories of the week.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.
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 Logan Circle.