100 Very Best Restaurants 2014: Central Michel Richard

No. 9 on this year's list.
Photograph by Scott Suchman.
Photograph by Scott Suchman.

The master chef may be spending most of his time in New York, where he recently opened two restaurants, but Michel Richard’s lone DC dining room is not suffering. This remains one of the most fully realized restaurants in Washington. At a time when every new spot wants to blend ambition on the plate with a not-really-trying casualness in the room, the strings too often show. Here the effect is almost seamless, as is the canny marriage of bistro and diner.

Portions are big—is that a chicken schnitzel or a hubcap?—but the razor-edged cleanness and baroque detailing of the compositions bespeak the four-star world in which Richard made his name. Forgoing dessert here is like leaving a show before the rousing finale. 

Open: Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner. 

Don’t miss: Gougères; deviled eggs with boquerones; escargot tart; “faux gras” terrine; lamb burger; short ribs; fried soft-shell crabs; fried chicken; banana split; napoleon; cherry tart.

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