100 Best Restaurants 2011: J&G Steakhouse

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

J&G stands for Jean-Georges, as in Vongerichten, the French master chef with restaurants around the globe—which tells you much of what you need to know about this high-toned venture in DC’s W Hotel. Porterhouses and T-bones are properly hefty and full of savor, but most of the menu emphasizes fish, seafood, and pasta and reflects a house style perfected over two-plus decades and 28 restaurants: light in its execution, clean in its saucing, and with unmistakable Asian overtones.

The fried calamari are perfectly rendered, and even a less virtuosic dish of seared cod, punched up with chili sauce and swirled with basil oil, is rewarding. Service, superior when the restaurant opened last year, has devolved from pampering attentiveness to efficient professionalism. The cooking, too, has lost some of its edge—the exactitude that distinguished its straightforward plates is missing from many today. Like a phenom turned vet, J&G has aged: The fastball isn’t as blazing, but most nights it’s plenty potent.

Also good: West Coast oysters on the half shell; salmon tartare; glazed short ribs with grits; molten chocolate cake; Grand Marnier soufflé.

Open Monday through Friday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for breakfast, 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.