100 Best Restaurants 2011: BlackSalt

Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.

Jeff and Barbara Black’s seafood dining room in DC’s Palisades neighborhood dolls up lesser-seen catches—butterfish, mangrove snapper—with an atlas’s worth of accents: On a given menu you might find raita, kimchee, salsa verde, and ponzu sauce. Until recently, that would have been a danger sign—cooking at BlackSalt has been unfocused and over-accessorized. But chef Rick Cook is turning out dishes that are better and more precise than we’ve seen here.

The menu changes frequently, and standards such as fried clams with curried aïoli, garlicky bouillabaisse, and a tumbler of butterscotch pot de crème are consistent winners. Want something simpler? Much of the fish on the menu is available in the front-room market to take home and cook yourself.

Also good: Bigeye-tuna tartare with cashews; grilled sardines; bacony clam chowder; banana-coconut cream pie.

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

>> See all of 2011's 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.