100 Very Best Restaurants 2013: The Majestic

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 cliché 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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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.