Editors' pick

Praline Bakery & Restaurant

French
$$$$ ($15-$24)
'

Editorial Review

You’ve seen the list, now see who missed
By Tom Sietsema
Sunday, October 28, 2012

The results of my 13th annual Fall Dining Guide are out, and as in years past, many were called but few were chosen: Forty restaurants made the cut to be on my list of favorite places to eat around Washington. You may wonder why a particular establishment didn’t rate last week. Some of the contenders slipped in quality. Some were in transition. Other candidates piqued my interest but weren’t as convincing as some of their peers -- the restaurants I ultimately served up. Here’s a taste from some of the many auditions:

Only a handful of restaurants serve pike quenelles anymore, which makes Praline Bakery & Bistro worth seeking out by some Francophiles. The kitchen makes a fluffy version of the mousselike fish dish robed in lobster sauce. And the eating is enhanced by fragrant and crusty bread from the inviting shop on the ground floor of the two-story French restaurant. But a late-summer dinner left me wishing there were more good news to report; a plate of cold tomatoes, bland minute steak and duck cooked to an unappealing gray helped knock Praline off my list of favorites. It’s not just the food that has grown tired here. Praline’s scratched chairs and worn carpet have seen better days, too. Crisp and hot, the french fries served with that steak give me hope. Seemingly bored stiff, my waiter does not. I’ll take my dessert to go, s’il vous plaît.

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