100 Best Restaurants 2011: Westend Bistro

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

This warm-toned dining room is the endeavor of renowned French chef Eric Ripert. And though you’ll rarely see the silver-haired restaurateur on the premises, boldface names often are visible through the long expanse of windows that give the dining room as much privacy as a fishbowl.

The menu sticks mostly to bistro classics—roasted chicken, steak frites, a standout burger. But chef de cuisine Joe Palma, who went to school in Charleston, occasionally shows his affinity for the South with, say, a wonderful escargot-and-mushroom casserole over grits, a plate of smoky pulled pork and beans with cornbread, and the use of fried okra and sautéed peaches. Desserts continue to be a weak spot, but cinnamon churros with white hot chocolate are terrific.

Also good: Tuna carpaccio glistening with olive oil; a pot of salmon rillettes; oyster pan roast with leek-and-fennel-studded broth; skate with fresh artichokes and olives; macaroni and cheese with ham and toasted bread crumbs; fish burger with saffron aïoli; filet of wild striped bass with Asian spices.

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