100 Best Restaurants 2012: Grapeseed

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


Chef/owner Jeff Heineman presides over this neighborhood haunt–one of the area’s first wine bars–lined with smart artwork, well-chosen bottles, and a reliable yet changing lineup of seasonal American dishes with Asian and Latin touches.

The blond-wood dining room has the air of a downtown DC hangout, and the clientele is heavy on families, empty-nesters, and dates. Heineman is in his element with such autumnal ingredients as mushrooms and greens. The tender filet mignon is the only entrée that stays on the menu, but seafood is often more rewarding.

What to get: Red-pea soup with bacon; mushroom fricassee over truffled polenta; fried chicken livers with pepper jelly; almond-crusted triggerfish atop corn chowder; seared scallops over cauliflower and mustard greens; brownie with mint-chip ice cream; Greek yogurt drizzled with honey (a play on cheesecake).

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

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