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Fearless Critic restaurant review
DC
Food
Feel
Price
9.2
8.7
$80
Modern
Upmarket restaurant

Hours
Mon–Thu 7:00am–10:00am
Mon–Thu 11:30am–2:30pm
Mon–Thu 5:00pm–10:00pm
Fri 7:00am–10:00am
Fri 11:30am–2:30pm
Fri 5:00pm–10:30pm
Sat 8:00am–2:00pm
Sat 5:00pm–10:30pm
Sun 8:00am–2:00pm
Sun 5:00pm–9:00pm

Features Date-friendly, good wines, outdoor dining
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted

www.postebrasserie.com

Penn Quarter
555 8th St. NW
Washington, DC
(202) 783-6060
Poste Moderne Brasserie
Some of the city’s most intelligent modern food in an escapist setting

Poste Moderne Brasserie, part of Hotel Monaco, is a restaurant that feels like a village unto itself. Maybe it’s the huge outdoor courtyard where well-dressed visitors, like so many townspeople whiling away time in the village square, arrive early and stay late. Maybe it’s the sense that there are thriving worlds hidden around corners and behind the huge stone pots of bushy herbs that scent the air, like the little garden out back where fresh mint is picked warm from the sun to garnish your drink. Or maybe it’s the rustic, old-world breads. Every visit to Poste reveals another detail worth falling in love with.

The first thing you’ll notice at the bar is the impressive mosaic of glass bottles lined against the wall, each labeled with a base and an infusion: chamomile in vodka, perhaps, or cinnamon and anise in Bourbon. The colored liquids—their infused ingredients floating inside—create an apothecary aesthetic. Bartenders are masters of their craft, preparing drinks with awe-inspiring fluidity and textbook attention to detail. Although a lot of their cocktails are too sweet (pear vodka, raspberry liquor, pineapple juice, and a dash of sparkling wine), some are well-balanced, creatively fun throwbacks (a Jack-Daniels-based Sazerac, for instance).

The dining area is warm and handsome, with deep booths embellished with pinstriped pillows. A long open kitchen tends toward the rustic, with baskets of brown eggs and vegetables. Poste’s seasonal menu combines complex flavors that are often earthy, sometimes haute-nostalgic, and frequently exciting. For example, “bruschetta” (tired in most kitchens’ hands) is generously topped with a gloriously rich, fluffy, mousse-like liver pâté, which is punctuated by nubs of smoky bacon and deep-fried sage and sweetened by dried apricots and Port-wine sauce. A thick cube of striped bass is nestled among potatoes and topped, to a macabre and beautiful effect, with an egg poached in red wine. The combination of gooey yolk on crisp, flaky fish tangy with capers is substantial yet blessedly clean. Poste’s wine list is balanced and well-composed, but also pricey, and too weak on affordable red Burgundy or Bordeaux.

Desserts are so carefully put together that your spoon feels like a wrecking ball. A fig-and-mascarpone napoleon is acrobatically staged and charmingly serious—you can dive into the generous figs, flaky pastry, and creamy cheese, but you’ll find almost no sugar. A final treat of miniature cookies sweetens the bill. If it takes a village to make a superb meal, who wouldn’t want to move to the country?

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