100 Best Restaurants 2010: Siroc

No. 43: Siroc

Cuisine: This modest newcomer stands out more for what it’s not than for what it is. It’s not, for one thing, an exercise in over-the-top richness, larding on the cream, the butter, and the prosciutto, as so many high-end Italian restaurants do. Nor is it the budget buster that the setting and level of execution would lead you to believe. It minds the middle—a place of quiet refinement and moderation. Martin Lackovic’s pastas are among the best in town, all of them imaginatively but judiciously sauced, and he manages to imbue common-sounding dishes with bites of luxury.

Mood: The former occupant of the space was Gerard’s Place, a serious destination for haute French cooking, and an air of formality lingers in this more casual (but still tasteful) setting, which retains its popularity as a spot for wooing potential partners (financial and romantic). But there’s also a new energy, and the staff goes about its rounds with cheer and professionalism.

Best for: A grand night at a good price.

Best dishes: Pan-seared shrimp with roasted peppers, anchovies, and fried capers; black-pepper pappardelle with scallops and chili flakes; capellaci, tiny squares of thinly rolled pasta filled with lobster and sweet corn; a lusty trio of coarse-grained house-made sausages with white beans; pan-roasted duck breast.

Insider tips: You can order any of the pastas as a half portion—a way to save but also to sample more of them.

Service: •••

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