100 Very Best Restaurants 2014: Vermilion


Fresh Goat Cheese Tortelloni at Vermilion Restaurant. Photograph by Scott Suchman

About Vermilion


Breakfast, Modern

When Tony Chittum, one of the most underrated chefs on the local food scene, departed Vermilion last February to relaunch Dupont Circle’s Iron Gate for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, it seemed an immeasurable loss for this stately Old Town dining room. But new chef William Morris’s transition has been seamless. Vermilion remains a local-lover’s paradise, a place to savor the bounties of the Chesapeake and Shenandoah. The obvious commitment to farmers notwithstanding, the message never tilts into sanctimony and fine dining has rarely seemed less pretentious. Morris, like Chittum, rides the line between rootsiness and refinement, and he’s similarly gifted with soups—a roasted-garlic version tastes one moment like a liquefied roast chicken and another like an elegant chowder—and salads. Tiffany MacIsaac curates the dessert menu, and she can make you feel like a kid with her plate of cookies and popcorn ice cream.

Open: Monday and Wednesday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Tuesday for dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner.

Don’t Miss: Beet-and-apple salad; crispy veal sweetbreads; charred octopus with smoked-ham broth; lamb with eggplant purée; tagliatelle with roasted cauliflower and broccoli rabe; s’more brownie sundae; goat-cheese cheesecake; ricotta/poppy-seed fritters.

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.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.