100 Very Best Restaurants 2013: Willow (CLOSED)

The dining room at Willow restaurant in Arlington, Virginia. Photograph by Chris Campbell.

After blowing hot and cold over the years, chef/owner Tracy
O’Grady’s kitchen is on fire again. The roster unfolds with dishes earthy
(foie gras and truffles gild many plates) and ethereal (savory mousses
seem spun from air). O’Grady has always been a whiz at the fryer—a legacy
from her days at the recently shuttered Kinkead’s. Then there’s her flair
for flavor pairings: Cauliflower bisque doubles in intensity from a hit of
goat cheese, and duck confit and duck sausage are winningly married with
creamy leeks on crisp flatbread. Co-owner/pastry chef Kate Jansen whips up
grown-up sweets—including to-go bags of cookies—that make you feel like a
kid. The separate bar draws neighborhood folks for more casual fare
(prosciutto-and-fontina fritters, swordfish tacos). Don’t
Gougères with truffle butter; deviled eggs; fried
chicken stuffed with foie gras mousse; tempura-fried crabcakes;
sausage-crusted rack of pork; Brussels sprouts with bacon;
bourbon-chocolate pudding cake with salted-caramel ice cream.
Open: Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner,
Saturday for dinner. Expensive.

100 Very Best Restaurants 2013

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