100 Best Restaurants 2010: BlackSalt

No. 73: BlackSalt

Cuisine: Of all the restaurants in Jeff and Barbara Black’s local empire, this fishhouse is the most polished and most expensive. But the premise is wonderfully simple: an ever-changing roster of often rustic dishes built around well-sourced seafood and fish, from Maryland rockfish to Japanese hamachi.

Mood: A tidy fish market fronts the restaurant: A stainless-steel-accented bar/cafe is the casual counterpart to the bistro next to the glass-walled kitchen in back. The spaces share tight quarters, a menu, and—when the place is full—lots of energy.

Best for: Seafood lovers who don’t want precious preparations of raw fish.

Best dishes: Sweet Nantucket bay scallops atop a zesty puttanesca; a many-splendored salad of bitter escarole, sweet candied almonds, salty bacon, and tart apples; creamy chowder with crisp fried clams; steamed mussels with chorizo and tomato sauce; tart Key-lime pie; butterscotch pudding with a Scotch milkshake.

Insider tips: You can easily make a meal from a couple of happy-hour-menu small plates and $5 Champagne cocktails, available daily from 4 to 7 in the bar and cafe. You can order one of pastry chef Susan Wallace’s seasonal fruit streusels from the market up front.

Service: ••

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

See all of 2010's 100 Best Restaurants 

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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.