100 Best Restaurants 2011: Mannequin Pis

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

Except for its setting in a strip mall with a sushi bar and a Mexican takeout, this 11-year-old spot feels as if it were plucked from a cobblestone street in Brussels. The tiny, sunflower-yellow space is plastered with colorful Belgian-beer signs and abstract art, servers bustle between tables, and customers buzz their way through a lengthy brew list.

Although much of the menu is devoted to 17 preparations of steamed mussels, other dishes are worth exploring. The mostly cold-weather fare makes liberal use of butter, cheese, and potatoes, but strong flavors emerge, too. House-made sausages and bacon-wrapped pork loin are good matches for the beer, and the well-versed staff can design a progressive pairing. Best of all, when the bill comes, it feels like a bargain.

Also good: Wild-mushroom fricassee over toasted bread; house-made pheasant sausage with wine-braised sauerkraut; Red Devil mussels, spicy with horseradish and harissa and served with skinny fries; beef stew; bread pudding with raisins and whipped cream.

Open daily for 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.