100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 15 Central Michel Richard


Photograph by Scott Suchman

Sightings of chef Michel Richard are rare these days, but just as Rubens had a studio and his acolytes churned out a slew of cherubic figures indistinguishable from the boss’s own, so too, can you dine in Richard’s dazzling workshop and not feel anything is missing.

David Deshaies—who previously quarterbacked the intricate offense at Citronelle—presides over the kitchen here, and his plates have all the Richard hallmarks: immaculate precision, whimsical reinvention, love of textural contrast, depth of flavor.

The list of bests is long. Best fried chicken in the city. Best non-beef burger. Best napoleon. And in an age when pastry chefs are going the way of the dodo bird, dessert here feels like an exuberant celebration.

Don’t miss:

  • Gougères
  • Bacon tart
  • Goat-cheese Caesar salad
  • Lobster burger
  • Tuna burger
  • Celebration Cake (whipped cream, fruit, and cake inside a chocolate shell)
  • Lemon Eggceptional (a twist on lemon meringue pie)
  • Chocolate mousse

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.