Dining beneath the immense crystal chandeliers of the Kennedy Center's luxury restaurant is no more expensive than tickets to the Concert Hall or Opera House, and with chef Carolyn Flinn in the kitchen and Mike Williams doing the pastry, the show can be as good. The setting - high ceilings and window walls overlooking the Potomac - is pure grandeur. The furnishings are lush with dignity. And the service, given that this is a restaurant where nearly everybody has a curtain to make, is remarkably attentive.
The Kennedy Center
New Hampshire Ave. NW & Rock Creek Parkway
Hours of Operation and Prices
Lunch: M-Sat 11:30-2; Entrees: $13-$16
Dinner: T-Sat 5:30-9; Entrees: $22-$29
Brunch: Sun 11:30-3, $26
Credit Cards: All major
Parking: Garage (fee)
Nearest Metro: Foggy Bottom (with free shuttle bus)
Mindful of the scheduling complexities of such a restaurant, the chef wisely has limited the menu to seven appetizers and seven entrees, including one special of the day. That's the dish to pick, in my experience. Good timing brought me the freshest swordfish, lightly cooked, on a mound of richly cheesy and properly creamy risotto. Otherwise, the menu is fairly traditional: a steak, crab cakes, roast chicken, a vegetarian dish and rack of lamb. That's the most expensive entree, and not nearly as good as the fish. The sauce is vague and saline, the
vegetable ragout, which has been the summertime accompaniment, is murky and the lamb is not lean enough. Appetizers include a too-salty, hand-cured gravlax with three kinds of caviar, carpaccio and seasonal salads. And for both courses you'll find a pasta that nicely shows off the vegetables of the season.
The season is even more beautifully celebrated in fruit tarts. There's also creme brulee, a hot fudge sundae or double chocolate cake. The star of this list, though, is a puckeringly wonderful lemon tart with lemon lavender ice cream. It will wake you up for the show to come.
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
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