Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.
While dining trends come and go, chef Cathal Armstrong remains dedicated to old-school technique and from-scratch cooking. Farm-sourced ingredients—he was using them long before it was a trend—are emphasized, too.
Armstrong’s style varies on his three menus: the casual bar with its $14.98 two-course Lickety Split weekday lunch (one of the area’s best dining deals), which includes an upscale BLT and birthday cake; the homey bistro, a step up in formality with its bouillabaisse and beef tartare; and the recently redecorated tasting room, which comes with four amuse-bouches.
The common denominator is near-perfect service by a waitstaff expert at reading customers’ needs. Top-notch, too, are the cocktails from Todd Thrasher, as much a chef as a bartender.
Not everything has been seamless lately. Armstrong and his wife, Meshelle, are working on a couple of other Old Town projects, which might account for a recent handful of underwhelming dishes.
Also good: The menu changes daily, but look for the Indian yogurt-based salad known as papri chaat; tempura-battered oysters with spicy tomato jam and black-olive powder; a classic beef tartare; the tasting room’s “OOO,” a puff-pastry cup holding an oyster, creamy onions, and osetra caviar; a parsnip-filled raviolo with smoked-onion purée; crispy-skinned pork belly with cranberries; gin and house-made tonic; and Eve’s Temptation cocktail with fresh-pressed Granny Smith apple juice.
Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner. Expensive to very expensive.