Editors' pick

Circle Bistro

American, French
$$$$ ($15-$24)
Circle Bistro photo
Kathryn Norwood

Editorial Review

2005 Fall Dining Guide
By Tom Sietsema
Washington Post Magazine
Sunday, October 16, 2005

Brendan Cox seems to know just what many of us want to eat before we settle in for a night of song, dance or drama at the Kennedy Center: something light yet interesting. Those adjectives certainly apply to the skilled chef's flaky tart of tomato and summer squash, or his steamed mussels in a luxuriant herb and wine broth with tiny croutons. Actually, there are a number of strong performances on his modern American menu. Hanger steak sliced into rosy rectangles and matched with a little cone of french fries is a fine display of meat; trout dusted with lemon zest and scattered with yellow and green beans, then finished with an almond and herb butter sauce, is its equal. The absent-minded service doesn't do justice to the quality of the cooking (you're apt to be kept waiting at the host stand, and side dishes sometimes go AWOL). Stick around for dessert, however, where the reward for your patience might be a peach tartlet garnished with ginger ice cream, or delicate chocolate madeleines with a trio of dipping sauces.