100 Very Best Restaurants: #8 – Causa

A pisco sour with Key lime. Photograph by Rey Lopez.

About Causa

920 Blagden Aly NW
Washington, DC 20001

Carlos Delgado’s love letter to Peru starts with a towel infused with agua de florida, an aromatic liquid used in that country for cleansing rituals. You’re meant to wipe your hands with it, but also to inhale the bracing aroma to awaken the senses. Not that Delgado’s six-course menu, served in a small, brightly lit dining room, needs any boosting. His flavors are electric, from a kanpachi ceviche with a broth so good you’ll want to drink it to skewers of salmon belly and beef tongue to a tiradito made from a whole Japanese threadfish plucked from a market-like selection of optional add-ons. (It’s worth the extra cost, as is the wine pairing.) Upstairs is the more sceney Bar Amazonia, where you can sip pisco cocktails and order à la carte. Moderate to very expensive.