100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 18 Plume

The dining room at Plume at the Jefferson Hotel. Photography by Scott Suchman.

Many restaurants eschew pampering in favor of edginess or just plain accessibility. Not so at this elegant tasting room in the Jefferson hotel, where the Old World ambience—crystal chandeliers, silk wallpaper, a crackling hearth—exudes luxury.

Thanks to a team of obliging servers and sommelier Jennifer Knowles, who’s eager to guide guests through her leather-bound tome, the place manages to avoid feeling stiff.

Chef Ralf Schlegel’s tasting menus suit the surroundings. There’s foie gras and truffles, yes, but also seared Wagyu beef alongside a lush bowl of salsify velouté and wild salmon slow-poached in a blanket of beeswax (sounds strange, but it gives the fish silkiness).

Whether you opt for deftly crafted desserts or a sampling from the cheese cart is up to you, but even fans of the latter shouldn’t forgo a plate of artful chocolates, bestowed on each departing table.

Don’t miss:

  • Diver scallops with brown butter
  • Lobster gratin
  • Deer saddle with a chestnut steamed bun
  • “Everything chocolate” tasting

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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.

Anna Spiegel
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.