100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 20 Marcel’s

French favorite Marcel's makes lobster bisque even more decadent by capping it with butter pastry. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Here’s why you want to book a table for your next birthday at Robert Wiedmaier’s flagship. Not because the cooking is great, though it is; but these days you can find terrific food in a strip mall. What’s in short supply is the kind of cosseting this blast from the past specializes in.

It doesn’t matter that you’re not among the regulars. The staff will work hard to make you feel like one, even if you’re there for the pre-theater menu.

The food is the epitome of Old World extravagance—labor-intensive and richly sauced, perhaps nowhere as fully realized as in the signature dish, the boudin blanc. In other words, exactly the sort of cooking you think about when you want to be spoiled.

Don’t miss:

  • Salmon carpaccio
  • Porcini-mushroom soup
  • Butter-poached sablefish
  • Squash agnolotti
  • Roasted poussin
  • Duck with peppercorn sauce
  • Chocolate mousse
  • Hot-chocolate cake

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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.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.