100 Best Restaurants 2010: Vermilion

No. 58: Vermilion

Cuisine: If only all neighborhood restaurants paid this much attention to the craft of cooking. Tony Chittum’s rustic comfort food is full of handmade details—the terrines, sausages, and pastas are prepared in-house, and many of the high-quality ingredients are from local farms.

Mood: One of Old Town’s most picturesque streets is the setting for this cozy restaurant, which achieves a tucked-away, boho feel with red velvet drapes and exposed-brick walls.

Best for: Dates in one of the cushy banquettes; eating at the bar; a spur-of-the-moment dinner; the excellent brunch.

Best dishes: Roasted scallops with leeks and a potato gratin; crusty fried oysters with fennel; roasted chicken with smashed grapes and kale; rockfish surrounded by clams and a light chowder; Maryland rib eye and short rib with blue cheese; seared duck with duck sausage and dirty rice; apple beignets with cider and apple sorbet; goat-cheese cake, at once rich and airy; profiteroles stuffed with rocky-road ice cream.

Insider tips: A weeknight happy hour, with $4 appetizers and discounted beer, wine, and cocktails, runs from 4 to 7.

Service: ••½

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