The Washington Post


Power lunch

Does power always trump lunch when D.C.'s movers and shakers gather? Not at these four downtown restaurants.

  • Updated 09/14/2012
  • 4 Items

Though a B.L.T. is missing from the menu, there is a raw bar, new takes on classic steakhouse sides and plenty of beef at this upscale bistro. Chef Jon Mathieson comes to the New York import from the recently-shuttered Michel in Tysons Corner. Previously, he cooked at Inox and 2941, also in Northern Virginia.


Here's a sample of what I love about the modern Italian restaurant You can order a life-affirming grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup at lunch, and a clutch of spaghetti bejeweled with Santa Barbara-fresh sea urchin and gorgeous prawns at dinner. Here, the beautiful people have a suitable setting in which to twirl their pasta. The dining room's curved ceiling appears to glow with gold leaf. The rosewood tables are linen-free but so smooth and polished they could double as mirrors.


Plenty of downtown restaurants put a steak sandwich on their lunch menus. Only this one, near the White House, bundles rosy slices of Asian-spiced beef with kimchi and pickled carrots in crisp ciabatta. The kitchen is incapable of doing anything ordinary, evinced in part by a veneer of coconut panna cotta and a sunny scoop of mango lassi (you read that right) that looks like a fried egg by way of the Taj Mahal. I never eat at the arty Oval Room without seeing a famous face or learning something new. My most recent lesson: Chef Tony Conte is cooking better than ever.


Typically packed with fat cats, Tosca might be the most moving-and-shaking restaurant in town. But is it a place for food enthusiasts as well? If I had my doubts, two recent dinners in this lair for lobbyists have put them to rest. Leave here without ordering one of the pastas, all of which can be explored as half-portions as well as main courses, and you'll miss one of executive chef Massimo Fabbri's finest contributions. Hope to be with a group that likes to share, and be sure to find room for the tender hats of tortelli plumped with rich cow's milk cheese and lapped with black truffle sauce, and for the tagliatelle stained black with squid ink and scattered with sweet morsels of crab. They are two of the best marriages of flour and eggs around.

Go Out Lists
A fun way to save and share your favorites

Love the review you just read? Want to tell others about your favorites? Save it to your Go Out List. Here's how to get started.

Create a Go Out List
What You've Recently Viewed On Going Out Guide

E-mail This Go Out List to a Friend

Power lunch

(Enter the e-mail address of the recipient(s), separated by commas. Please limit to 10 recipients. )

chars typed

Save to Go Out List

You must be signed in to complete this action. Sign In or Register

Request Removal


Your request has been submitted.

List: Power lunch
What is this toolbar at the bottom of my screen?
It's a new way to save your ideas about places to go and shows to see in Washington, and it can help you find things to do with your friends.
See something interesting?
Click on the I want to go button to add it to your Want to go list. The number on the button shows how many people want to go. If you're signed in with a Facebook account, your friends can see where you'd like to go.
Already been there?
If you have been to a place or event already, click the I've been there button to add it to your Been there list. The number shows how many people have been there. If you're signed in with a Facebook account, your friends can see where you've been.
Where are my lists?
The things you add to your Want to go and Been there lists will be saved for you. Click on your username anytime to view your list and see all those ideas.
When you want to keep your plans private, turn off the sharing toggle. You'll be able to save items to your lists without sharing them on Facebook.
Why should I sign in with Facebook?
It can help you make plans with friends for things to do together. When you share your Want to go and Been there lists with your Facebook friends, it's easy to see when you and your friends want to go to the same place.
For a better experience, Please login with Facebook
What are the benefits of connecting with Facebook?
Sharing your ideas about places to go and things to see just got easier. Share your Want to go and Been there lists with Facebook friends and see where your friends want to go or where they've been and make plans together.
Ready to get started?
Log in to Facebook