Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.
If the teen socialites from TV’s Gossip Girl came to Washington, this is where they’d eat. The Clarendon dining room has black-crystal chandeliers, dark curtains, and velvet-upholstered booths, giving the space an edgy elegance.
But chef Miles Vaden, who has worked under celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Equinox’s Todd Gray, is attracting a different kind of crowd—mostly neighborhood regulars who know good food. His upscale American dishes are light on carbs and, with artistic swipes of emulsions, purées, and fruit butters, sometimes inch close to being overly complicated but usually come off well.
The locavore ethos is taken to heart: Tomatoes for a summer caprese salad were grown on the roof, the mozzarella made in-house. Some dishes remain on the menu year-round, such as the chicken breast with biscuit stuffing, poached foie gras with brioche toasts, and rich lobster gnocchi.
Service is solicitous and friendly, and we’ve never gone wrong by following a server’s recommendation or wine suggestions. The downstairs lounge has sophisticated bar food, and in warmer months the rooftop deck offers yet another menu of chilled snacks.
Also good: Oysters on the half shell with tomato-water gelée; delicate venison with Brussels sprouts; grilled pork tenderloin with apricots and chestnut purée; cashew-butter-and-jelly “sundae” with French-toast ice cream and honey-spiked Concord-grape sorbet.
Open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner. Expensive.