100 Best Restaurants 2012: Black Market Bistro

From soulful bistros to high-gloss steakhouses, there's lots of good eating in DC, Maryland, and Virginia


For many, the word “bistro” calls to mind bent forks, steak frites, and Paris. Jeff and Barbara Black’s creaky-porched restaurant couldn’t feel farther from France–the wainscotted former post office looks like the setting for a Martha Stewart Living shoot–but it shares an important trait with its European cousins: It excels at simple food done with care–crunchy oysters, parsley-showered mussels, barbecue shrimp. The kitchen’s shortcut-free ethos is especially apparent at brunch, when many restaurants go through the motions, turning last night’s special into this morning’s omelet. Here, fresh-squeezed orange juice and just-baked pastries are a given, and the orange-scented French toast is a reason in itself to come.

What to get: Corn chowder (summer); Thai-style mussels; hanger steak with chimichurri; cheeseburger; roast chicken; apple crisp; potato pancakes with house-made apple sauce (brunch).

Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for brunch and dinner. Moderate.

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 Petworth.