100 Best Restaurants 2011: Brabo by Robert Wiedmaier/Brabo Tasting Room

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

Robert Wiedmaier, the chef behind DC’s Marcel’s and Brasserie Beck, made his foray into Old Town two years ago. Though his fine-dining room in the Lorien Hotel had a rocky start, the kitchen is now turning out consistently good Modern American and Belgian dishes.

An enameled cast-iron pan of mussels in creamy white-wine sauce and a side of Belgian fries are expertly prepared. Braised pork shank is glazed in a wonderful Asian-accented barbecue sauce. And a peanut-butter/chocolate bar with caramel sauce is a great way to finish.

In a historic building next door is the Tasting Room, a tiny bistro that turns out well-balanced spinach salads, earthy mushroom flatbreads with bacon and Gruyère, and aromatic pans of Indian-curry mussels with almonds. The renovated space is spare, but the brick oven makes it cozy.

Also good: At Brabo, an artful heirloom-tomato salad; Maine scallops with Israeli couscous; grilled rainbow trout with brown-butter vinaigrette; silky crème fraîche cheesecake. At the Tasting Room, onion soup; cordon bleu sandwich with fig jam on focaccia; bread pudding.

Brabo open daily for breakfast and dinner; expensive to very expensive. Tasting Room open daily for lunch and dinner; moderate.

>> 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.