100 Very Best Restaurants 2013: The Majestic

The dining room at The Majestic in Alexandria, Virginia. Photograph by Chris Campbell.
The dining room at The Majestic in Alexandria, Virginia. Photograph by Chris Campbell.

How often do you see a Caesar salad and think, “Not that
again”? But Cathal Armstrong’s swank diner redeems the clichĂ© with a
tableside preparation in which chopped garlic, an egg, grated Parmigiano,
and shimmering
boquerones are transformed in a wooden bowl into
the Caesar of your dreams.

This is the Majestic’s MO: to take familiar American cookery
and treat it to a fresh turn. More often than not, the effect is
gratifying, and sometimes—as with a whole fried bass with black-bean
sauce—it’s thrilling.

As at all Armstrong restaurants, the booze menu is overseen by
cocktail master Todd Thrasher. Forgoing his potions is like going to a 3-D
movie and skipping the glasses. Don’t miss: Oysters
Rockefeller; chicken-liver mousse; meatloaf; coconut cake;
churros with chocolate sauce. Open: Monday through Saturday for
lunch and dinner, Sunday for dinner.
Expensive.

100 Very Best Restaurants 2013

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