100 Best Restaurants 2012: Et Voila!

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


The term “bistro” has become a catchall for a trendy, casual restaurant–whether the kitchen dishes up steak frites or stir-fries. Here’s a bistro in the classic sense, with French and Belgian cooking that evokes nostalgia for Europe’s old cafes. On most nights, the room is jammed with Palisades locals catching up over steaming plates of moules frites, beef carbonnade, and steak frites. The tweaks on the classic preparations are few. The vision of chef/owners Claudio Pirollo and Mickael Cornu is modest, but their achievement isn’t. This is a sturdy, satisfying cuisine of enviable consistency.

What to get: Smoked trout with celery-root rémoulade and green apples; pumpkin soup; gratinée mussels with garlic butter; mussels in coconut-and-lemongrass curry; mussel burger fashioned from chopped mussels and scallop mousse, topped with fried onions, and set on a bun; hanger steak with green-peppercorn sauce and fries; Belgian waffle with chantilly cream; crème brûlée; chocolate mousse.

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