100 Best Restaurants 2009: Mio

No. 56: Mio

Cuisine: Nicholas Stefanelli is the third chef in two years to command the kitchen of this Modern American restaurant, but there’s no sign of disunity—he imbues his flights of fancy with homey touches and lightens hearty fare with smart touches.

Mood: Most nights, the action’s at the bar, where young professionals blow off steam over first-rate mojitos. Lunch and dinner are staged in a sleek, multilevel lounge that’s still in search of a personality.

Best for: An intimate date.

Best dishes: Egg raviolo with blood sausage, a savvy, dinnertime riff on breakfast; a plump, crisp-skinned smoked duck with greens and chestnut purée; Virginia-style peanut soup with house-made sausage; sautéed veal sweetbreads (seasonal); roast Amish chicken with sausage; risotto with Grayson cheese and pears; fluffy, hot ricotta fritters; a lightly sweetened chestnut soup with vanilla ice cream.

Insider tips: A three-course lunch at the bar—salad, pizza, and sorbet—is $15 for the first 20 customers Tuesday through Friday.

Service: ••½

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

See all of 2009's 100 Best Restaurant

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.