100 Best Restaurants 2010: PassionFish

No. 72: PassionFish

Cuisine: It’s easy to look at this slick, bustling operation as a corporate seafood house in a Reston shopping center, but chef/owner Jeff Tunks’s kitchen makes a genuine effort to stock local produce and sustainable fishes for executive chef Chris Clime’s globally inspired dishes—from a simple bucket of fried clams to Peruvian ceviche.

Mood: The raw-bar items laid out on ice near the kitchen set a tone of authenticity, and the room has the buzz of a fishmonger’s stall. Because the space expands vertically, there’s not a bad seat in the house—all diners can enjoy views of the first-floor action, though things are slightly more subdued in the upstairs gallery.

Best for: A night of downtown sophistication for Virginians—without the traffic or the long drive home from DC.

Best dishes: Clams casino; fried clams; hamachi crudo with grapefruit and jalapeño; eight-piece “kamikaze roll” of tempura prawns, avocado, and spicy tuna; red Thai curry lobster; honest, lightly bound crabcakes; whole-roasted branzino; freshly fried doughnut holes.

Insider tips: A special kids’ menu is a welcome departure from the usual chicken-fingers kind of offering. Servers here know their wines—one of the chefs lives on a nearby vineyard—and will bring samples.

Service: •••

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