Under a crystal-chandelier sky, enclosed by vanilla walls and dressed in floor-length tablecloths and gold brocade, the Lafayette dining room, through its soaring windows, keeps a close eye on the White House just across Lafayette Square.
800 16th St. NW
Hours of Operation and Prices
Breakfast: M-F 6:30-11, Sat-Sun 7-11; Entrees: $11-$14
Lunch: M-Sat 11:30-2; Entrees: $14-$25.75
Afternoon Tea: Daily 3-4:30, $15
Brunch: Sun 11:30-2, $35
Pre-Theater: Daily 5:30-6:30, $30 & $40
All major credit cards
Dress: Jacket recommended
Complimentary valet parking at dinner
Nearest Metro: Farragut North
Entertainment: Pianist evenings and Sun brunch
The menu is loaded with "Health Smart Selections." They're also taste-bud smart. Spaghetti squash usually tastes like melon rinds run through a shredder. But chef Martin Saylor coaxes the best out of this winter vegetable. Lobster and pearl couscous is the most luxurious of the health-conscious choices; Saylor proves that once in a while somebody can embellish plain lobster and make you glad he did. Among the more devil-may-care dishes is smoked trout hash, an irresistible appetizer with its subtly smoky and vinaigrette-sharpened diced potatoes, carrots and shards of trout under a top hat of foie gras and fried quail egg. An appetizer that could serve as an entree is the phyllo tart piled with a buttery frenzy of dark, woodsy mushrooms. More extravagant entrees include such delicious constructions as thick veal medallions on artichoke puree, draped with a puffy brown parmesan soufflé, or filet mignon under a beret of mushroom-stuffed ravioli.
And if you're not the least concerned with restraint, there's afternoon tea. Choose among 10 teas, properly brewed and poured into your cup through a silver strainer by an attentive and dignified waiter. Thoughtfully nibble very British and totally unseasoned, crustless sandwiches. Scrape every driblet of thick cream onto an impossibly light and rich scone, and wonder where such fragrant strawberries were grown. Try every offering on the trolley of tiny pastries and cookies; then have one more lemon tartlet, because you will hardly ever find another so wonderfully sour and lemony.
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
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