100 Best Restaurants 2012: BlackSalt

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


Seven years ago, power couple Jeff and Barbara Black fired up the dining scene in DC’s quiet Palisades neighborhood with this fish market/restaurant–and it’s a testament to its enduring quality that on a recent Wednesday at 9 it was packed. Walking by the fish market up front–easily the best in the area–you’ll likely get a sense of what will be on the menu from the ice beds holding super-sweet Nantucket bay scallops, esoteric catches such as tilefish, or a bountiful array of oysters.

Dishes bear many accents, but we’ve most enjoyed those that conjure New England–clam chowder, fried clams with curried aïoli–or East Asia. A finely chopped circle of bigeye tuna is set off by a tangy ponzu sauce, while a coconutty red-curry stew gives salmon a Thai twist. The dessert menu hasn’t changed much over the years, but that doesn’t mean the sweets are any less good.

What to get: Bacony oysters Rockefeller; fried oysters with tartar sauce; grilled sardines with olive persillade; bouillabaisse; coconut-banana cream pie; butterscotch pudding; crawfish Benedict at brunch.

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