100 Best Restaurants 2012: Cork

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


Not much has changed at this cozy, brick-walled wine bar since it opened in 2008. Many dishes on the small-plates menu have been around since the beginning, well-curated wine flights are detailed on the chalkboard, and prime-time tables can mean a wait–the place doesn’t take reservations after 6:30, but you can call 30 minutes ahead to put your name on the list.

When founding chef Ron Tanaka left and longtime Poste chef Robert Weland took over in October, we were curious to see if there would be a shakeup. Smartly, Weland seems to be leaving well enough alone, preserving the menu’s proven hits–the avocado crostini are as good as ever. But Weland also lets his considerable talents flash in a few dishes that are all his own, such as a showstopping special of porchetta with a dollop of kale pesto over grits or a beautifully cooked cut of skin-on sea bream. Weland has expressed interest in opening a place of his own, but for now he’s keeping this one in top shape.

What to get: Chicken-liver pâté with shallot marmalade; oil-cured tomatoes on toast; fried calamari and shrimp with zingy rémoulade; grilled flatiron steak with anchovy vinaigrette; grilled fontina-and-prosciutto sandwich; French fries; apple crostada with vanilla ice cream; ginger-caramel pot de crème; at brunch, egg in a Parmesan crust.

Open Tuesday through Saturday for 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.