100 Best Restaurants 2012: CityZen

No. 6


Some chefs can’t resist seeing themselves in a magazine or on TV and are content to be faces for their restaurants instead of constant presences in the kitchen. Eric Ziebold, the chef at this sleekly plush dining room, isn’t one of those publicity seekers. Every night the quietly intense Ziebold, who came up at California’s French Laundry, is at work in the open kitchen. His obsession with detail means plates are gorgeous, and his creative drive means the menu changes every few months and rarely repeats; the only constant is the wooden box of Parker House rolls that arrives with main courses. That’s sometimes a downside: The sturgeon risotto with apples, offered in 2010, now exists only in memory.

Service is nearly always perfect–when you get up from the table, the hostess will likely be holding your coat.

What to get: Look for dishes with an Asian accent–such as tempura-fried turbot fin with yuzu vinaigrette–or with a regional American feel, such as pastrami-cured sweetbreads.

Open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner. Very expensive.

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.