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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
 
 
1.

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.

2.

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.

3.

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.

4.

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.

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