100 Best Restaurants 2010: J&G Steakhouse

No. 4: J&G Steakhouse

Cuisine: The name is a hedging of bets from one of the world’s culinary superstars; this is no more a steakhouse than Citronelle is a diner. That’s not to say you can’t get a porterhouse—just that you’d do well to forgo the slabs of beef; the pleasures of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s 27th restaurant are to be found in the casual brilliance of the soups and salads, in the note-perfect preparations of fish and seafood, and in the kitchen’s mastery of detail, which transforms otherwise familiar-sounding dishes into quiet masterpieces.

Mood: The soaring, white-walled space summons a classic old European hotel, minus the formality—a sophisticated and relaxed setting for meals attended by some of the best, most professional servers in DC.

Best for: A meal of elegance and refinement that, unlike many big-ticket restaurants working at a similarly high level, won’t soak you.

Best dishes: Perfectly shucked chilled oysters on the half shell; delicate corn ravioli with an iridescent basil purée; seared tilefish; one of the most gorgeously fried calamari dishes we’ve ever tried; rewarding renditions of crabcake and burger; poached peach with pistachio ice cream and Champagne sabayon; molten chocolate cake, as designed by the man who invented the dish.

Insider tips: Downstairs is the Cellar, a low-ceilinged bar and cafe where you can sample the restaurant’s excellent wine list and enjoy a number of the same dishes served upstairs.

Service: ••••

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

See all of 2010's 100 Best Restaurants

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