100 Best Restaurants 2010: Marvin

No. 98: Marvin

Cuisine: Late in life, soul legend and DC native Marvin Gaye found redemption in Ostend, Belgium, where he wrote his classic “Sexual Healing.” This upscale U Street tavern pays homage to Gaye’s beginning and end, combining the robustness of Belgian cooking with the directness of upscale soul food. The result? Pub grub of surprising finesse and power.

Mood: A large portrait of Gaye dominates the dimly lit dining room, which feels both cozy and festive.

Best for: Hearty food before a night of U Street revelry; Belgian-beer enthusiasts; an early weeknight dinner.

Best dishes: Seared foie gras over caramelized onions; sea scallops with braised leeks; Niçoise salad with ahi tuna; coconut-curry mussels or wine-and-shallot meunière mussels, both of which come with fries and three dipping sauces; chicken and waffles atop braised greens; seared halibut in beurre blanc; bacon-topped burger on a brioche bun.

Insider tips: Reservations can be hard to come by on weekends. The inside bar upstairs can be noisy; the partially covered deck is great. Desserts remain the weak spot—if your sweet tooth beckons, head around the corner to Ben’s Chili Bowl for a post-meal milkshake.

Service: ••

Open Monday through Saturday for dinner, Sunday for brunch and dinner. Moderate.

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 Petworth.