100 Best Restaurants 2009: Poste

No. 27: Poste

Cuisine: The very definition of contemporary American cooking—by turns playful (a tartare on brioche that conjures a burger on a bun), light (a Kona-kampachi sashimi), and dexterous (a crispy sea bass resting on a fluffy brandade of cod and surmounted by a red-wine-poached egg). The menu changes less often than at some of its bistro rivals, but the kitchen, under chef Rob Weland, is remarkably consistent.

Mood: The busy open kitchen, fronted by newspaper cones waiting to be stuffed with freshly made French fries, looks out onto a retrofitted space as soaring as it is bustling.

Best for: Before- or after-game/theater dining; weekend brunch—one of the best in town.

Best dishes: Chicken-liver-pâté bruschetta; roasted pork belly with apples; charcuterie board of rabbit terrine, fennel salami, porchetta, and bresaola; oversize ravioli stuffed with goat cheese; wild sturgeon with beets and mini-pierogis; roasted poussin with apples and cider vinaigrette; cones of truffled French fries; chili-spiked pot of chocolate crème.

Insider tips: The bar menu is not extensive, nor is it intended for a full meal, but there are some fun treats ideal for postgame snacking, and the wine list is good.

Service: ••½

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

See all of 2009's 100 Best Restaurants

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.