Washington's Windows is a first-class New American restaurant, extravagantly beautiful and ambitious without being haughty. The chef, Henry Dinardo, clearly has been watching new American trends, mesquite grilling and pizza making among them. Chickens are farm raised, vegetables are miniatures and garnishes are special touches.
For appetizers, look for a special of vegetable terrine with caviar vinaigrette, or the terrine of foie gras surrounded with five kinds of mushrooms. The sauteed foie gras would have been perfect but its raspberry sauce tasted like dessert, although sauces in general are the strength of this kitchen.
The swordfish entree is astonishingly good, lightly mesquite grilled so that the fish is soft and pink inside. Salmon and tuna have been faultless, though not the stars that swordfish is. Equally extraordinary is the the rack of lamb, marinated in rosemary and oil, seared on mesquite, then roasted slowly so that it is evenly rare. The venison medallions were seared crusty to seal in juices, and served with a dark rich sauce that was an example of the chef's artistry. Veal dishes were the kitchen's downfall and rabbit and pasta dishes were indifferent or dull.
I've saved the best for last: Windows' delectable tender, yeasty, pizzas with innovative toppings such as seafood and two cheeses or sausage with caramelized onions, multicolored peppers and three cheeses. There are also calzones stuffed with the likes of smoked duck, wild mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes. They are both worth the trip.
Service has been polished and impressive; so far, Windows has been on a trajectory heading straight for the stars. USA Today Building, 1000 Wilson Blvd., Rosslyn. 527-4430. L $6.50-$12.95, D $9.75-$23. L daily ex Sat, Sun, D daily. AE, C, CB, DC, MC, V. Res sugg. Full bar.