100 Best Restaurants 2010: The Majestic

No. 56: The Majestic

Cuisine: Comfort cooking with a twist. The coq au vin is spiked with cocoa, and Old Bay aïoli livens up a Chesapeake seafood stew. The chef is Shannon Overmiller, hand-picked by proprietor Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve, and more and more her stamp is on nearly every bowl and plate that emerges from the open kitchen—even the bread and pickles are made in-house.

Mood: The young and single hover by the bar, where the cocktails of Todd Thrasher and Melissa Horst hold sway; the dining room, with its big mirrors and soft lighting, draws couples of all ages.

Best for: A top-notch meal without all the bells and whistles of fine dining.

Best dishes: Chicken-liver mousse as dense as it is smooth; crumb-crusted whole sardines with caramelized onions and sage; Coco’a Vin, a delectable, cocoa-laced take on the wine-and-chicken stew that tastes like a cross between the French classic and a mole; well-seasoned slabs of meatloaf with mushroom gravy; one of the best coconut cakes in the area, served in tall, thick wedges; a bourbon milk punch that could double as dessert.

Insider tips: Unless you want to do extra penance on the StairMaster, consider sharing some plates, especially dessert; portions are generous. And take advantage of the ongoing specials: The $12 Royal Pick lunch (an entrée and soda or iced tea) and Nana’s Sunday Dinner ($22 per person for entrée, sides, and dessert) are good deals.

Service: ••½

Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday from 1 to 9 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.