Destination: Washington, D.C.
Owned by Robert Wiedmaier, the proprietor of the grand Marcel’s, Beck is a hopping Belgian brasserie with such hearty fare as braised pork belly and lamb sausage with lentils. It’s loud, crowded and tons of fun.
Central Michel Richard
Central, which just won the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in the country, is part of a new trend in D.C.: top toques—in this case Michel Richard, of Citronelle fame—creating more accessible fare, in terms of both price and preparation. (Another example is Robert Wiedmaier’s Brasserie Beck.) Central’s menu is upscale bistro: bangers and mash, an ahi tuna burger, Caesar salad with goat cheese and a charcuterie plate with prosciutto, salami and garlic sausage. Casual and almost cafeterialike in ambiance, it is constantly packed, hugely popular and does get some complaints for being on the loud side.
Chef Todd English has expanded his Olives empire to D.C. The big, open room centers on the wood-burning oven. Most tempting are English’s savory Tuscan flatbreads: prosciutto with fig jam, Gorgonzola and a rosemary crust, perhaps, or artichoke with Montrachet and caramelized onions. Closed for lunch on Saturday and all day Sunday.
Right next to the Newseum, the Source is the latest venture from Wolfgang Puck. The look is stylish, the crowd glam, and the menu interesting, but locals complain the restaurant has some kinks to work out, including inconsistent service. Naturally, it serves Puck’s trademark gourmet pizzas with toppings like smoked salmon, dill cream and caviar or pesto-marinated shrimp and sun-dried tomatoes.
Executive Chef Phillip Blane (formerly of Equinox) and his wife, Laura Schiller, are the masterminds behind Unum, a contemporary American restaurant in the heart of Georgetown. The sophisticated atmosphere at this cozy neighborhood spot make it the perfect dining choice for a delicious meal in a low-key setting. Fresh local ingredients make up dishes such as fried Chesapeake soft shell crab and basil gnocchi.
What’s not to love about a restaurant that features a “TV lunch” of “duck Salisbury steak” on its menu? (It’s served with foie gras gravy, buttermilk mash and sautéed onions.) Chef Bryan Moscatello offers classics with a twist: salmon pastrami on rye with aged goat cheese, for instance. More serious diners may gravitate to dishes like sunchoke tortelloni with grilled ramps and lemon–spring garlic jus. Zola is right next door to the International Spy Museum.
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