100 Best Restaurants 2010: Eola

No. 60: Eola

Cuisine: How’s this for risk-taking? Sending out a tiny spoonful of offal as an amuse-bouche, then following that with plates of chicken-fried tongue. You might expect that kind of thing from Michel Richard, but from a newcomer with little track record and no corporate backing? Fortunately, in Daniel Singhofen’s case, the chef is a young talent who can make good on his promises. Sometimes he tries too hard, but he connects more often than he whiffs, producing imaginative, intensely flavored dishes that hint at big things to come.

Mood: The space—tasteful and softly lit—suggests a cross between Obelisk and Komi, restaurants that define the new aesthetic of townhouse dining and that stand as models for the sort of place the chef and owners aspire to.

Best for: Gastronomes who understand that supporting an interesting independent restaurant means enduring a misstep or two.

Best dishes: Pork croquettes with apple-mustard sauce; chicken-fried tongue with braised lentils; a sunchoke velouté, most recently embellished with raisins and toasted almonds; agnolotti filled with bitter greens and accompanied by buttery squash fondue; roasted pheasant with deviled quail eggs and olives; apple galette; mocha-chestnut roulade.

Insider tips: Eola boasts a fine, if smallish, roster of beers, a number of which match well with the dishes on the menu. And there are some surprisingly good deals on the well-chosen, 100-bottle wine list.

Service: ••½

Open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner. Expensive.

See all of 2010'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.