100 Best Restaurants 2010: Kinkead’s

No. 24: Kinkead's

Cuisine: A paean to all things piscatory, Bob Kinkead’s flagship serves up glittering platters of raw, shucked oysters, chowders that would make a New Englander pine for home, and crab-stuffed filets of fish that honor and improve on the Maryland fishhouse staple. In an age of freewheeling fusion, this trusty veteran of the DC restaurant scene remains a kind of gatekeeper for vanishing culinary values—for cooking that looks to the past but isn’t bound by it, fine but unfussy and rooted in a sense of place.

Mood: Upstairs, it’s a proper setting for a business transaction or a date. The excitement is downstairs, around the bar, where the spirit of an Irish pub mixes with the sophistication of a supper club.

Best for: All those traditionalists who seek quiet excellence from a restaurant.

Best dishes: Plump, sweet Ipswich clams, fried to a turn; oysters on the half shell; any of the rotating list of chowders; the best crabcake in town; a filet of cod topped with crab imperial and sided with spoonbread; a generous portion of skate wing, either pan-seared or crusted; apple tarte Tatin.

Insider tips: A new lunch-menu promotion offers a choice of soup or chowder and a sandwich for $12—or an excellent crabcake and house-made fries for $17.

Service: ••½

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