100 Very Best Restaurants 2013: Montmartre


The dining room at Montmartre on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Photograph by Chris Campbell.

About Montmartre


327 7th St SE
Washington, DC 20003
SE Southeast Fwy
Washington, DC

Most of the grand French restaurants that ruled the scene a
generation ago have died off, casualties of an age that equates formality
with fustiness. The low-key bistro, however, has survived the tectonic
shift, and this Eastern Market mainstay epitomizes its appeal.

It’s one of the liveliest spaces in town, a densely packed room
that evokes a Gauloise-stained Paris bar where the “other” Capitol
Hill—the not-forever-working crowd—relaxes over red wine while cooks clang
pans in the open kitchen.

New chef Brian Wilson has brought an unexpected lightness to
the stove, adding more fish and introducing a lineup of tartines
and quiches. These are welcome changes, but Wilson is wise to recognize a
vision that doesn’t need reinventing. This remains French country cooking,
robust and generous—and at a price that feels like a bargain. Don’t
Mussels steamed in white wine or pastis; country pâté;
mushroom consommé with barley; Arctic char with shrimp and trumpet
mushrooms; swordfish in fennel sauce; crème brûlée; chocolate tart;
floating island. Open: Tuesday through Friday for lunch and dinner,
Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner.

100 Very Best Restaurants 2013

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 Logan Circle.