100 Best Restaurants 2011: CityZen

No. 8

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

Menus at this luxe hotel restaurant come in a leather portfolio and are hand-signed nightly by chef Eric Ziebold, a protégé of famed chef Thomas Keller. Ziebold’s mastery of classic technique is visible in nearly every dish, from a carrot soufflé to perfectly turned pommes parisiennes, but he also employs garnishes such as pomegranate powder and a “Bloody Mary egg”—a sphere of gelled Bloody Mary consommé—served over a black-olive arepa.

You’ll find inspiration from, say, the American South—a deviled egg topped with ham salad—and Tunisia, as in a nicely composed cauliflower appetizer with harissa oil, capers, and preserved lemon. Buttery, salty Parker House rolls, served with all entrées, add a touch of comfort to each meal. Servers work the palatial dining room—20-foot ceilings, plush banquettes—with the finesse of a ballet troupe. Nearly every seat has a view of the open kitchen, where Ziebold strives for perfection.

Also good: The menu changes daily, but recent highlights have included risotto with apples, sturgeon, and cured trout roe; quail wrapped in bacon, served with quince chutney and foie gras; vacherin with blood-orange sorbet and honey ice cream.

Open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner. Very expensive.

>> See all of 2011's Best Restaurants


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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.