100 Very Best Restaurant 2016: Plume

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A server sets a table at Plume, which earned a Michelin star. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

It’s not just the sumptuous elegance of the space that envelops you in a fantasy. It’s all the many appurtenances that reinforce the air of tasteful luxury—the upholstered stools for purses, the thick linen napkins, the silver domes to keep plates hot, the elaborate amuse-bouche to start, the petits fours to finish. The cooking, under the direction of Ralf Schlegel, avoids the pothole that fine dining at the highest levels is surprisingly prone to: the tendency to deliver technically perfect but soulless food. Schlegel brings imagination as well as rigor, most notably in a preparation of salmon poached tableside in liquefied beeswax (the filet emerges as succulent as a piece of chu-toro), and his more classical treatments (a seared breast of duck or loin of venison) sing with the quality of his saucing. The sommelier, Jennifer Knowles, is your ally—capable, with one daring wine pairing, of turning a very good dish into something magical.

Don’t miss: Foie gras terrine; veal duo; scallops with chorizo and coffee oil; “Everything Chocolate” dessert; speculoos-and-salted-caramel custard.

See what other restaurants made our 100 Very Best Restaurants list. This article appears in our February 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

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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.

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.