3000 M St. NW
HOURS: Mon.-Thurs. 6-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 6-10:30 p.m.
COST: Most entrées more than $20
Chef Michel Richard’s flagship restaurant, Citronelle, is one of the city’s world-renowned restaurants and winner of numerous awards, including twice being named to Gourmet magazine’s Top 20 Restaurants in the Country and also earning the Best Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year in DC in 2002.
Several chefs in the city have been named to the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who in American Food and Wine; Richard received his honors way back in 1988, landing in DC in 1994 with Citronelle after opening a version at the Santa Barbara Inn in California.
But enough of the backstory: What is it about Citronelle that makes it so special? It’s a triple threat: an atmosphere that sets the stage for an event meal, flawless service, and creative presentation of artfully prepared ingredients.
As with Richard’s other restaurants, the menu is imbued with the chef’s sense of humor: an “egg” symphony that doesn’t contain any eggs, and the tartare is served resembling stained glass. The preparations are surprising yet classically prepared.
If you are lucky enough to be here on a night when Richard is here, consider ordering off-menu, asking for the chef to decide. True foodies should also consider reserving a place at the chef’s table. Starting at $350 per person, guests enjoy a food-and-wine pairing at a table inside Richard’s exhibition kitchen, the chance to interact with Richard in planning, preparing, and enjoying a menu. Call for details.
For a less expensive way to enjoy Richard’s creations, head to the lounge. Jackets are required for men.