Top Spots To Splurge

Economy be damned, one of the most common questions I get is where can I
treat my spouse/friend/special someone to an amazing meal when price is
no object. Or, even better, my boss/parents/special someone want to
take me out.

Here are
Metrocurean's top picks for splurge-worthy meals.

The wine room at CityZen.


Eric Ziebold's food here is at times playful, at times transcendental
and always delicious. A memorable meal included a playful elevation of
falafel, over-the-top rich Miyazaki Wagyu beef with Siberian sea salt
and tempura leeks, and a pre-dessert palate cleanser that deconstructed
a pina colada with pineapple sorbet, coconut foam and rum gelee. I
love the dramatic space with high ceilings, commanding columns and the
shiny — and remarkably serene — open kitchen.
Mandarin Oriental, 1330 Maryland Ave. SW,

Michel Richard Citronelle

Richard's elegant Citronelle may be the oldest restaurant on this list,
but there's nothing dated about the witty and whimsical cooking.
Richard and executive chef David Deshaies are masters of trompe l'oeil dishes — what you're
putting in your mouth is often not what it appears to be. Take the
signature Maine lobster "begula" pasta, where the round pearls of pasta
stained with squid ink masquerade as caviar in a silver tin. Tasting
menus start at $105.
3000 M St. NW,


Tiny Komi is as big
a culinary force as ever. Chef and owner Johnny Monis treats pristine
ingredients — a scallop presented tableside in its shell, amberjack
accented by a light consommé — with reverence, resulting in delicious
and deceptively simple dishes. I dream about the roasted suckling pig
for two, turned into finger food with warm pita and housemade condiments
like hot sauce and pickles. Dinner can be a multi-hour commitment so
plan accordingly. The tasting menu is $125.
1509 17th St. NW, 202.332.9200

A bird's-eye view of the


Snagging a reservation
may be next to impossible, but a meal at chef José Andrés' six-seat
minibar is one of the most unforgettable dining experiences in DC. The
$120 menu marches playfully through 25 to 30 small bites, served by your
personal master chef behind the bar. Andrés has expressed plans to
expand the concept to more seats, so if you want to see the original,
better hurry. A tip for getting a seat: Get on the wait-list for several
days in a row, clear your calendar and hope for a cancellation.
405 Eighth St. NW, 202.393.0812

's tasting room

The tasting room at Restaurant Eve, above, reflects
chef Cathal Armstrong's commitment to local and sustainable ingredients
on his modern American menu. The locavore champion takes the best from
area farms and elevates the ingredients to amazing combinations like
sautéed rockfish with sweet corn and Maryland blue crab on one of my
previous visits. Armstrong's incredible "OOO" — oysters, osetra caviar
and onions — is a dish I'd put on my all-time top five. Take a short
post-dinner stroll to Eve sibling PX, Todd Thrasher’s retro-glam
drinking den, for some of the country’s best cocktails. Tasting menu
prices start at $110.
110 South
Pitt St., Alexandria, 703.706.0450

Crispy suckling pig at The

Source by Wolfgang Puck

If you love Asian flavors, head
to the sleek upstairs dining room at The Source, where executive chef
Scott Drewno creates boldly flavored tasting menus that honor various
Asian cuisines. Don't miss the lacquered Chinese duck with lo mein
noodles, the addictive crispy suckling pig with plum puree or the
signature spicy tuna cones. The chef's tasting menu is $125.
575 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 202.637.6100

Lakeside at 2941.


winner of the 2010 Rammy for Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year, 2941
is a delightful detour from the city. The restaurant is tucked away
(careful you don't drive right past the entrance) off Route 50 in
Falls Church beside a peaceful lake. Pair that setting with executive
chef Bertrand Chemel's skillful cooking, pastry chef Anthony Chavez's
incredible desserts and the polished service, and 2941 is well worth the
trip. The six-course tasting menu is $110.
2941 Fairview Park Dr., Falls Church, 703.270.1500