Chef Cathal Armstrong and wife Meshelle understand it’s okay—even desirable—to break rules. Diners can find a variety of experiences under one vaulted roof at their Old Town restaurant: European tasting menus, family-style Asian feasts, and à la carte samples of both. Each has its pleasures. Armstrong is equally at ease whipping up duck confit with potatoes Lyonnaise as he is with dinuguan, a vinegary, chili-stoked Filipino stew—a preview of his forthcoming DC venture, Kaliwa. Sommelier/barman Todd Thrasher creates ingenious cocktails with house-made exotica such as kaffir bitters and ginger-sage soda. The desserts have always been whimsical (e.g., the now-famous “birthday cake”), though it’s worth exploring cheeses from County Cork, considered the culinary hub of Cathal’s native Ireland. Expensive.
Also great: Filipino street barbecue; dorade with butternut-squash purée; Yukon Gold potato gnocchi; chocolate tart with butterscotch ice cream.