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Marcel's, Robert Wiedmaier's Fine-Dining Flagship in West End with Chef Paul Stearman, Pastry Chef Ashleigh Pearson, and the Great Maitre d' Adnane Kebaier


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I had a wonderful dinner yesterday evening with a couple of other Rockweilers at Marcel's. I don't know whether to begin with the food or the service or the ambiance. All were impeccable.

We dined in the bar area so I can't comment on what the regular dining room is like. The bar area is light and airy with high ceilings and a glass front that looks out onto Penn. Ave. The decor is traditional yet modern. The package puts you at ease as you either sit at the bar or one of the tables in the bar area.

The service was unobtrusive, professional and efficient, not a single mistake that I noticed. When it became apparent that the 3 of us sitting at the bar intended to dine, they asked us if we would like a table. When we gave an affirmative response, we were escorted to a nearby table and our drinks transported without the bat or roll of an eye. One of our party brought a couple bottles of wine and they were promptly taken away for chilling. The efficient food and wine service were so unobtrusive and efficient as to be almost invisible. I give the service an "A."

I only perused the wines by the glass list and we had wine that one of our party brought so I can't comment on the wine list. I had a white burgundy and it was exactly as it should be.

The food also was excellent. I started off with the boudin blanc, which apparently is their "signature" dish. The sausage came out with a perfectly browned skin, the crispiness of which contrasted nicely with the almost flan-like texture of the inside which had a light, delicate flavor. It sat atop a pool of what this morning I recall to be polenta. The whole thing was drizzled with some really good sauce. "A"

For the entrée, I had the fillet of black sea bass with ratatouille. Damn, was this good. I ordered it primarily because of the ratatouille and because the others had already ordered what I thought was all the good stuff. The fish came out perfectly cooked and atop some pommes mouselline with the ratatouille around the sides of the plate. The mildness of the fish was offset by the tanginess of the ratatouille. "A"

For dessert, I had the cheese course. The only thing I can recall was this one cheese that had so much flavor that I think my taste buds were out of commission for about 10 minutes. One bite of it was all I could handle. It was a real stinker. I give the cheese course a "B." The others had "regular"dessert which I now believe are the way to go. They have a soufflé dessert that takes about 20 minutes; if you are interested, put in your order when your entrée arrives (their failure to tell us about this might constitute a "mistake" by the service).

Between the entrées and the desserts the "habitué" came over and sat down and chatted with us for a while. Altogether, an "A+" evening.

This restaurant belongs on what has been described as the "short list," along with places such as Eve, Palena, Corduroy, Ray's and Firefly. I don't think it would be possible to have a mediocre dining experience at this establishment.

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I don't even know where to begin. I don't feel I have the writing skills to do justice to my experience at Marcel's last night. First off, the food wowed me. The seared ahi tuna with togarashi, the

It was on the menu. Adnane had recommended it, but before making my final decisions I decided to ask him about it. I am honestly not a fan of sea urchin. It's too briney for me, as are most raw oyster

I had brunch at Marcel's today. Service was superb as always. I only ate two dishes. The first was a butternut squash soup with a nut oil (I think walnut, possibly pecan) and crispy shallots. The soup

I had a wonderful dinner yesterday evening with a couple of other Rockweilers at Marcel's...

I ate there some time ago as well and had a similar flawless experience. Their pre-theater menu with limousine service to the KC is a great way to begin a theater or concert evening. The boudin blanc is most definitely one of those "not to miss" dishes in DC.

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I don't know whether to begin with the food or the service or the ambiance. All were impeccable.

I agree with Jacques that both the food and the service were impeccable. It contained all the ingredients needed for a perfect evening: exquisite food, excellent service and the perfect dining companions who knew how to make a woman blush.

On to the meal......

One thing Jacques forgot to mention about his cheese course was the waiter's failure to tell Jacques what the different cheese on the plate were. I am going to assume that it was an oversight, but I would have liked to know what he was offered. As Jacques mentioned I wish they had told us about the soufflé during the meal. It sounded divine and I would have ended my meal with it.

I think my appetizer was the most disappointing dish of the meal. I had Wild Alaskan King salmon two ways. The presentation was beautiful. Ribbons of cured salmon on one side, a timbale of the salmon tartare on the other. The cured salmon was fine, but I have had much better. The curing process did little to bring out the flavor. I found the tartar incredibly salty. It was hard to taste anything else other than the salt and a slight hint of salmon.

The other appetizer was a scallop tart. Thin slices of scallop topped a small tart like crust. On top of that was a nice sized diver scallop. The diver scallop was perfectly cooked although we preferred the slices underneath.

For my entrée I had duck. This dish is a duck lovers dream showing off the three best ways to prepare this bird. It started with a layer of duck confit. The confit consisted of only duck meat, no crispy bits of skin which is my favorite. But as far as my palate could tell that was the only flaw. Topping the confit was breast, roasted to a perfect medium rare. The skin was crispy, the meat moist and tender. Perfect. Topping the dish was a piece of foie gras. Not much to say about foie gras other than I wish there was more.

The other main was a roulade of snails and sweetbreads. I am told that it was not as good as on previous visits but it met Jacques and my expectations. The portion was generous and the plate licked clean.

For dessert I had the ginger and pineapple soup. As much as I would have like the raspberry soufflé, this was an excellent end to my meal. The ginger stayed in the background, highlighting the pineapple's sweet base. In the soup were small chunks of pineapple and ginger ice cream. The dish was light and refreshing with just enough sweet to satisfy my taste buds.

Finally, we had the raspberry cheesecake. My two dining companions declared that it was the best cheesecake they had ever tasted. It was everything cheesecake should be: creamy, sweet, light.

What started out as just another Thursday night out for dinner turned into a brilliant, almost-as-perfect-as-could-be evening.

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My normal Saturday afternoon is to attend a wine tasting, at one of the better wine stores in the city. Sometimes while at the store, I get sidetracked into the warehouse where special bottles are opened for a few regulars. Today, after several years of fawning over a bottle of '83 Margaux, my friend Steve decided that it was time for me to stop talking about this wine and bought one for a few of us to enjoy. The owner of the store followed it up with a '01 Dead Arm. I thought that this was going to be the highlight of my weekend. While drinking these fine wines Robert Weidmaier called Steve and asked him to grab a bottle of wine and come by the restaurant to smoke cigars and have some appetizers.

Several of us arrived at Marcel's and expected that we would enjoy a very nice bottle of Pomerol, and have some light appetizers. While Robert was sitting with us and drinking a glass of the fine wine, he asked if anyone was allergic to anything. No one was. He said he would send out a few things for us to enjoy.

The first thing to arrive was a tomato appetizer. It was a stack of different heirloom tomatoes, topped with a mild goat cheese, shallots, and drizzled with a balsamic sauce. The dish also had lardoons of bacon, chopped shallots, pine nuts, mache, and toasted brioche bread crumbs. I like tomatoes, and I have had them many ways that have stopped me in my tracks, but nothing like this. This was a simple preparation that showed the highlighted the tomatoes like nothing else. It is my understanding that we were the guinea pigs for this dish, and because of our reaction it is going to be served this coming week.

That would have been more than enough for those at the table, but not for Chef Weidmaier. He sent out bowls filled with thimbles of sweet corn, bacon, and potatoes. A sweet corn soup was poured around this thimble. Everything that Charlie Palmer's corn soup was not, this soup was. It was rich, sweet, and filled with corn flavor. Only proper decorum and easy access to bread kept me from licking the bowl, I figured that this was going to be the end of our appetizers, and it was, but it was not the end of our food. The chef followed this with a buffalo strip steak au poive. This dish was served with a ragout of wild mushrooms, and heavenly mashed potatoes. The meat was perfectly cooked, and the sauce that accompanied it and the mushrooms brought the whole dish together.

The offer for desert was turned down by the entire table since almost everyone had other dinner plans (I was the only lucky one who did not). After this surprise meal we sat around and finished the wine and smoke contraband cigars. It was an afternoon to remember.

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We had a fine meal at Marcel's last night. The food, the atmosphere, and the service were all top-notch. I can't believe this is the first time I've gotten there. I wish I had paid closer attention to the menu descriptions, so that I could recount the meal more accurately. It's definitely a place we'll return to in the future.

I had the PEI mussels gratin with garlic cream, tomato and spinach as an appetizer. It was luscious, a somewhat different texture than I expected, but a wonderful experience. It had great mouth feel (though I don't tend to like that term, it's the best one for what I'm trying to describe), and the flavors melded beautifully. It had fine straws of cheese on top that melted right into each mouthful of the dish. That's one of the best dishes I've had in a while. For a main course, I had the farmhouse chicken, which was excellent and moist. It came with a couple of baby carrots and some green beans, and I think a little asparagus. There was also a cake of, I think, potatoes that came with it. I can't identify what the ingredients were, but it was a nice accompaniment to the chicken.

My husband also enjoyed the chicken quite a bit. He started on the chicken after he finished his salmon. I'm not quite sure what came with the salmon. It appeared to be on a potato bed of some sort. The presentation of the salmon dish was stunning. Again, I really wish I had paid closer attention to the menu descriptions. It was late, and it had been a long, rather tiring day. We didn't get a dessert or cheese or coffee. We had filled up a bit on bread and butter at the start, which was also quite good.

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I had a marvelous meal at Marcel's last night. Service was spot on and the room quite comfortable. My Maine Diver Scallop appetizer was fantastic. As was the veal cheeks special entree. If you had the distinction of having the veal cheek dish on the menu at Nectar before it closed you should quickly get yourself to Marcel's to try this. Very similar presentation and perfectly prepared. Awesome.

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I recently had the veal cheeks as part of the tasting menu.  I agree that they are reminiscent of the Nectar cheeks, but I found that Marcel's version was even better than the ones at Nectar, and that is a hard dish to surpass.

I'm going tomorrow night with my husband. Do you recommend the tasting menu or should we dine ala carte (is the tasting menu chef's choice?) I'm looking forward to it.

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I'm going tomorrow night with my husband. Do you recommend the tasting menu or should we dine ala carte (is the tasting menu chef's choice?) I'm looking forward to it.

You can't go wrong either way, but I always tend to recommend the tasting menu at a restaurant in the class of Marcel's. I think that you will get a great understanding of the chef's culinary philosophy.

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Had a wonderful dinner at Marcel's, thanks to everyone for the suggestions.

What we had - we decided to start with a whiskey sour and a glass of champagne while we looked over the menu. I went with the boudin blanc for the first course. I couldn't believe how light as a feather it was! My husband had the lobster bisque that was served in puff pastry with a little lobster salad on the side and quail egg. For our main course, I decided on the farmhouse chicken and my husband had the Veal Osso Bucco. Both were excellent. We had our server, Jonathan; select a glass of wine to accompany the meal - a white burgundy for me and a merlot for my husband. Both wines complemented the entrees perfectly. We finished the meal with coffee and the chocolate soufflé with raspberry sauce and orange ice cream and a pear strudel with spun sugar. Jonathan had given us a copy of the DC Chef's magazine featuring some of the best chefs in the area, including Chef Wiedmaier, and I asked him if Chef was in the kitchen did he think I could get the copy signed. Chef graciously obliged. The highlight of the evening was when we were leaving, Jonathan decided to take us up to the kitchen to meet Chef Wiedmaier. He probably talked to us for at least 20 minutes and during the conversation he mentioned he is opening another restaurant to be named after his second son, Beck, which will feature authentic Flemish cuisine. Chef said he will spend lunchtime at the new restaurant and evenings at Marcel's, so he will be a very busy person. He is very personable and we really enjoyed talking to him. I always think it's cool to meet the chef. I was not disappointed, it was a lovely meal, one of the best we've had in DC. We highly recommend Jonathan, he did everything right including pacing the meal so that we were able to enjoy every bite at a leisurely pace. We will definitely go back. (I guess I should mention on Restaurant.com you can get a $25 gift certificate for Marcel's for only $10, if you are a subscriber, several times during the year the website offers discount codes for anywhere from 40-60 % off. Quite a bargain - we used one last night).

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Last night I had another fabulous meal at Marcel's. Amazingly this place just keeps getting better. We started off by having some passed hors d'oeureve of a Napoleon of Potato Blini, Smoked Salmon, Cr�me Fraiche, and Osetra Caviar. This was matched with Pol Roger Extra Cuvee de Reserve NV. The little napoleons were perfectly assembled with a perfect proportion of each ingredient.

The first seated course was a Flemish Pea Soup, with Veal Cheeks Meat Balls, this was matched with a 2004 Domaine du Tunnel Saint-Peray Marsanne. The warmed bowls arrived with two meat balls, a quenelle of pureed potato, and fried parsley. The soup was then dished over this at the table. The color of the soup was not that appealing, but the flavor sure was. There was not much talking at our table while we all slurped down our soup. The soup tasted of creamy fresh peas and herbs. The meat balls were meaty, with a nice tang to them. I did not understand the inclusion of the fried parsley since the soup caused it to loose its crunch. But this did not distract from the soup. The wine was a very nice match to the soup and meatballs.

The second course was a Crispy Skate Wing, Caramelized Salsify, Potatoes with a Dill Beurre Blanc Sauce matched with a 2003 Lewis Cellars Chardonnay. I wish more people served skate wing, it is a delightfully tasting fish. The fish was dredged in what I am assuming was Wondra, and sautéed until crisp. This was served on top of a hash of nicely caramelized salsify and potatoes. The sauce nicely tied all of these ingredients together. The wine was not as oaky as I would have expected from a Napa Chardonnay, but the oak that it did have stood up nicely to the sauce.

This was followed by a Squab en Croute with Artichoke Puree, Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Pearl Onions, and Bacon, matched with 1999 Corton-Renardes Grand Cru Domaine Maillard Pere et Fils. The puff pastry around the squab looked like a lovely piece of porcelain, with a curvaceous "S" on top. One problem I usually have with meat cooked enrobed in puff pastry is that the meat always seems to taste steamed. Not this. The meat was well seared before being wrapped, and it retained its curst even as it cooked in the puff pastry. The meat was wonderfully rare to medium rare. Next to it was a small squab leg confit that was delightfully moist and succulent. The mushrooms and pearl onions were a great combination with the squab. The Burgundy was a lovely match, but still a bit closed.

The final savory course is Roasted Loin of New Zealand Venison, Sweet Breads Roulade and Snails with Meaux Mustard Cabernet Sauce. This was matched with a 1999 Chateau Clerc Milon Grand Cru that had been decanted for three hours prior to serving. This is the second time I have had the New Zealand Venison at Marcel's. The meat is extremely lean but incredibly flavorful. The roulade was a lot of fun, several people at the table did not know what sweet breads were, and are now fans of this delightful offal. The snails and sweet breads were an adventurous match that worked quite well. Like all sauces at Marcel's this one tied together the various elements of this dish beautifully. Clerc Milon can generally be counted on as a solid performer, it did not let us down last night. The three hours of decanting really helped settle it down.

The final course was Poached Sugar Pear Baked in Puff Pastry stuffed with Cranberries and Almonds, with Mixed Berries and Sauce Anglaise. This was matched with 2001 Chateau Sigalas Rabaud 1er Cru Sauternes. This was the dish of the night. The Pear was in no way mealy, the puff pastry was sweet, crisp and delightfully caramelized. The berries were a mixture of raspberries and black currants. The black currants provided an exotic flavor to this dish. The sauce was beautifully prepared. It was a honeyed with citrus, vanilla, and lavender, with a delightful amount of acid to counter the sweetness.
After this meal we retired to the bar to enjoy a very rare 100 year old Cognac and contraband cigars.

** At the bar Brian McBride was enjoying a drink with Robert, he said that the plans for his new restaurant are on track and he is trying to get the word out about it. **

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Mel Krupin weighed in on Deli City in the November, 2005 Best Bites section in Washingtonian (scroll about halfway down to the blind pastrami tasting).

And don't stop at the Krupin Pastrami verdict, the piece right below it describes what is one of the best dishes in Washington, Marcel's boudin blanc.

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My wife and son took me out for my birthday to Marcel's (meaning I took me out for my birthday.)

Robert Wiedmaier named the restaurant for his son and serves wonderful French food with a Flemish influence. The restaurant is quite pretty, very formal in some ways, and not at all noisy.

I made the reservation on OpenTable.com and told them that I was bringing a bottle of wine with me (I had called to check and was told the corkage fee was $25) as I was celebrating my birthday. I also said I wanted no fuss. When I arrived I was welcomed, told Happy Birthday, and no more was said about it. We were shown to a very nice table, Ramon Narvaez (the sommelier) brought me a wine list and then returned with a decanter for the wine. (I brought a 2002 Martinelli Blue Slide Pinot Noir). I ordered a half bottle of the 2004 Sancerre Domaine Merlin-Cherrier Loire Valley to start and to have with appetizers.

The amuse bouche was an asparagus mousse with chives. It was very tasty (Jake made sure that he got every bit and I had to tell him to put it down before he scraped a hole into the side of the dish.) Jake ordered Gratin of Mussels with Roasted Garlic Cream Fondue of Tomatoes and Baby Spinach to start. They were delicious. Karen had the Pan Seared Diver Scallops with Fennel Puree, Red Pepper Essence and Applewood Smoked Bacon. Two very large scallops with an excellent sauce. I ordered the Belgian battered soft shell crabs with tomato puree and frizee. It was huge and very good. We ordered a couple of glasses of wine to go with the appetizers as we had finished the Half we had ordered previously and did not want to start on the Pinot yet. (A Neyers Chard for me, a Marsanne-Viognier Grange des Rouquette Vin de Pays d'Oc for Karen, though Jake ended up drinking most of it since she wanted the rest of his Sancerre.)

For our entrees Karen ordered the Veal Osso Bucco with a Melange of Wild Forrest Mushrooms, Yukon Gold Potato Puree, and Zinfandel Sauce. It was very tasty but the meal was a little stringy. Good flavor however and a huge portion with a very large marrow bone. Jake and I both ordered the Filet of Beef with Foie Gras, Yukon Gold garlic mashed potatoes and Cabernet Jus. It was fork tender and prepared just as we ordered (rare for me, Blue for Jake). They went wonderfully with the Pinot Noir.

We ended with a Lemon Souffle with strawberry ice cream for me, a trio of sorbets (honeydew, rasberry, and mango) for Karen, and a Chocolate mousse with rasberry center and cinnimon ice cream for Jake. Coffee for Karen and I, espresso for Jake ended the meal.

Service was wonderful, the water glasses were always full and the bread plates always replentished with wonderful warm french bread. All in all and excellent meal. The comped the corkage fee since I had bought wine from the list. Valet parking was $8 (plus tip). The meal was not inexpensive as the appetizers ranged from $13 to $17, and the entrees were about $40 each, but it was a very good experience. We left very full and I did not want to get up this morning, but what the heck, you only have a birthday once a year.

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Does anyone know if Marcel's has any semi-private or private dining options that can accomodate a party of around 15 people? I am thinking of taking some clients to dinner there at the end of October who will be staying near by.

My wife organized a large-ish dinner at Marcel's, and they just put tables together in the front of the restaurant. The room in the back is more than big enough for a party of 15, as well. Have fun!

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I have been to Marcel's for about a dozen events. These have been held in both the front and the back room. They never miss a beat, the food is as good as I have had dining there with a small party, the service is very professional, and they do an excellent job with the wine service (including decanting the wines hours ahead of time for us).

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Last night after a wine event I was a member of a large group of people that descended on Marcel's. To feed this unexpected horde, Robert put together a wonderful buffet. The mashed potatoes and beef stew were the standouts. Because one member of the group is very allergic to gluten Robert did not thickened the stew, this allowed the flavors and texture of the veal stock he used to shine through. As a general rule, I am not a fan of buffets, but then again, I have never had one at Marcel's or been served the food by Robert Weidmaier.

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Rocks writes:

it was the transition into cooked food where the problems began (although in fairness, Robert Wiedmaier was not in the restaurant), Creamy Polenta with poached egg, (it was an eggy evening) wild mushrooms, and shaved parmesan was heavy and reductive, and Ravioli of Duck Confit with green peppercorn sauce ($16) had terrific pasta, but the terribly fatty confit was cold, and the peppercorn sauce was herbaceous and dull, Marcel's is still a very good restaurant, and a warm, welcoming place to dine, but the food itself is a shadow of what it was several years ago

It would appear that Don is more in the Sietsema camp than the Kliman camp when it comes to Marcel's, although Don uses Wiedmaier's absence as a sort of excuse for less than stellar food, while Sietsema identifies his frequent absence as the (implied, anyway) reason for Marcel's's absence from the last dining guide. Meanwhile, Kliman puts Marcel's in the top ten (at number 9), just ahead of Komi. Did Wiedmaier happen to be in the kitchen every time Kliman or his crew dined there? I last dined at Marcel's quite a few months ago, and Wiedmaier was not in the kitchen, but the food was superb (although at this point I don't remember what I ate). I've been itching to dine there again, but I want the Kliman experience, not the Sietsema/Rockwell one (at those prices).

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My husband and I went to Marcel's for dinner last night. We arrived a little early and enjoyed a drink at the bar. There was a crowd there leaving for the Kennedy Center so it was quite busy. We were seated promptly at 8. We always ask for Jonathan, the Captain for our server. He is absolutely the best. Chef was in the kitchen so we decided to go with the 6 course tasting. It is different from the tasting menu you see online, except for the duck with the puy lentils. In fact the regular menu right now is alot different from the one online, I guess due to it being winter season. Marcels was offering a stuffed squash blossom with salmon mousse as an appetizer and since I had never had a stuffed blossom asked to substitiute for one of the other courses of the tasting (sweetbread and snail something). This was absolutely one of the best dinners I have ever had. We also asked Jonathan to pair each course with a wine. We ended up only doing 4 glasses each during the tasting, as I already had 2 glasses of champagne prior to dinner. I can't remember the details, but for courses we had diver scallops, red snapper, squash blossum, the duck, a cheese course (camembert with black truffle in the middle, it was a little too ripe for me), and dessert and coffee. We spent a leisurely 3 1/2 hours there. Our total came to $290 before tip. This included 2 glasses of champagne, and 8 glasses of wine. The 6 course tasting is $98 and the meal was amazing. Chef came into the dining room and stopped at all the tables, we always enjoy talking to him. His new restaurant, Beck's, is set to open in April and will offer bistro style cuisine. While we were there we made reservations for Valentine's Day, they are doing a special menu for $125 ea. Reservations have already been cut off through open table, if anyone is interested in attending, you should call the restaurant. We highly recommend the tasting menu.

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My wife and I took my parents to Marcel's for dinner on Easter Sunday. They were visiting from Washington State and it was my mom's 70th birthday. It was a warm and intimate family meal that I think we will remember for quite some time, not least because of Marcel's impeccable service and top-flight cuisine.

We were seated in the area just off to the left of the foyer, but the cold draft that day proved irksome to my parents, so before ordering we asked to be moved to a different table. This presented no difficulties, and we were re-seated at an intimate corner table in the lower level of the dining room.

The amuse was a cup of concentrated seafood consommé that was the perfect thing to take the edge off the cold evening. We passed over the tasting menu for the most part, as the regular a la carte menu looked even more interesting to us. I started with a seared Maine diver scallop, simply but beautifully presented on a vegetable puree (fennel, if I remember) with a bit of veal jus. The dish was perfectly executed in every way. My dad had an interesting gratin of mussels in an Aurore-like tomato cream sauce that was the epitome of judicious flavoring and presentation (the porcelain at Marcel's seems custom-designed for every dish it contains). The ladies, meanwhile, had a roasted beet salad with Pipe Dreams chevre, which was a burst of color on the plate, garnished with a confetti of carefully diced shallots and chive. I didn't taste this dish but it received raves from those who did. I also had a second appetizer, the boudin blanc served with root vegetable purée and veal jus. Tender, airy, juicy, and deeply flavored with its perfect garnishes, it was a dish I knew I would order even before I arrived, and it did not disappoint.

The mains were, for my parents, seared Alaskan Halibut in a Matelote sauce, while my wife had seared Ahi Tuna garnished with a small risotto. I had an item from the specials menu: roasted breast of pheasant with leg confit served with a few haricots verts and in a veal jus with cream or a purée of some sort. The pheasant was cooked to absolute perfection, still juicy and slightly pink but also still hot, and the confit was judiciously seasoned. The Halibut and Tuna met with equal admiration.

It should be clear by now that there was nothing especially innovative or original about these preparations, unless you consider traditional French cuisine prepared to an extremely high standard something innovative and original. These days, that is an argument I could easily subscribe to.

Except for the Tuna, the dishes cried out for Red Burgundy. We had a Nuits-St.- Georges Premier Cru from Confuron that was one of those wines that restore your faith in Red Burgundy and make you realize that there is nothing in the world, when all is said and done, that can possibly beat a worthy representative of this region. The wine was served at the perfect temperature.

Desserts, a chocolate soufflé of ethereal airiness, a crepe Suzette presented in a releve with vanilla-bean ice cream, were all jewels of sweetness, loving presentation, and good taste. My dad asked simply for vanilla ice cream with a shot of Grand Marnier on the side; he was presented with three quenelles of vanilla-bean ice cream sitting on a plate that looked like it had been specially designed for the purpose, garnished with mint leaves and berries, with a little pitcher of Grand Marnier. Toward the end of the evening we were comped several glasses of Champagne, though I had made no mention of my mom's birthday.

Service at Marcel's, from FOH to walking out the door at the end of the evening, is in a class by itself. This is the only restaurant I have been to in the Washington area where the waiters appear to have had the same exacting and systematic training of their colleagues in France. But this professionalism is also combined with a warmth and generosity that indicate a true concern for the well-being of the guest. We all were quite overwhelmed by the consummate professionalism of all who served us. It was largely for this reason that our dinner went beyond an evening of excellent food and drink and became a truly convivial family celebration that we will remember for a long time to come. We had the impression that many other people at Marcel's that Easter evening were having a similar memorable experience.

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Hmmm... one of the top restaurants in the city, and no posts about the food in over nine months? I have reservations for Wednesday - I'll make a point of reporting back. In the meantime, if anyone has any suggestions for "can't miss" dishes, I'd love to hear them.

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Hmmm... one of the top restaurants in the city, and no posts about the food in over nine months? I have reservations for Wednesday - I'll make a point of reporting back. In the meantime, if anyone has any suggestions for "can't miss" dishes, I'd love to hear them.

Boudin blanc--I think it's always on the menu in one form or another.

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Help me out - Have a reservation for next Saturday night and really looking for a place to impress.

I am assuming but really double checking, the experts are on here help out a friend -

This would be a coat and tie restaurant? Really would like a place that says romance in the air.

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Help me out - Have a reservation for next Saturday night and really looking for a place to impress.

I am assuming but really double checking, the experts are on here help out a friend -

This would be a coat and tie restaurant? Really would like a place that says romance in the air.

You will have a wonderful time there. The Maitre d', Adnane, is extremely charming. Ramon, the sommelier is great and very helpful. Ask for a quiet table. Tasting menu is the way to go. Have fun!

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The fact that this topic is still on it's first page, with the first post 3 years ago, is a shame of gargantuan proportions.

My wife and I dined here this evening, as a substitute for Valentine's Day. I can honestly say that, save for the night we got engaged at Jean Louis nearly 17 years go, this was probably the finest meal from top to bottom we have ever had in DC, in the 20+ years we have lived in the area.

Service, from the valet parking in front of the restaurant, all the way through the meal and back to the valet, was perfect. I mean, not great, perfect. Not a thing could have been done better. My wife was suffering from a sore throat and a fractured tailbone (goddamned ice storm), and she was simultaneously treated like a princess, and not made to feel like they were fawning over her.

The menu on the website is close to what we were presented, so feel free to follow along at home. As this was a special occasion, and we had a gift certificate from my boss as a holiday bonus, we elected to go whole hog with the seven course tasting menu. I would say that on another occasion we might go with 4 or 5 courses, but I can't think of any course that I would like to delete! When we indicated that we wanted all 7 courses, and weren't running for a show, the waiter made sure to indicate that he would pace us to about 2.5 hours, and if we wanted to go slower or faster at any point, to just say the word. We didn't make such a request all through the meal, never felt either rushed or ignored, and we were out the door in exactly 2 hours 40 minutes.

While looking at the menu, I decided to grab a glass of bubbly, and my wife just wanted hot tea. I should point out that during the meal they brought her a new pot of hot water 3 times, and a new tea bag twice (and not the cheap shit, but good tea), but only one charge appeared on the bill. I don't see the rose sparkler that I had on the glass list, but I will say that for $10 I was served a ridiculously large pour (par for the evening).

For the first course, my wife went for Caramelized Chestnut Soup, Black Trumpet Mushrooms, and I had Gáteau of Crab, Aged Sherry Shallot Butter (from the second course on the website menu). When we ordered the soup, the waiter made sure to point out that the soup contained bacon as well - was this ok? OK? We're talking bacon here, and we're Jewish. Better than ok, it's beautiful. And the soup was too, containing the pure essensce of chestnuts, earthy mushrooms, and of course, beautiful bacon. I shouldn't shortchange the crab, which was essentially the French interpretation of a crab cake, which was sweet, ethereal, and rich.

Since my wife was not drinking, I was relegated to pours by the glass for the evening. I wanted something white but not fruity for the second and third courses. Our waiter pushed aside the "by the glass" list, and poured me a 2005 Cháteau Graville Lacoste Graves. $50 on the bottle menu - he charged me $12 for a ridiculously large pour, which he then topped off with the third course. This was to be the theme for the evening - get Daniel sloshed.

For the second course, I had the Seared Scallop, Yellow Wax Bean Risotto. A perfectly seared scallop, nearly gelatin in the center, laid upon a bed of "risotto", made from wax beans. Playful and yet classic, this was one of the evening highlights. My wife went for a Salmon Ravioli, which I don't see on the online menu. The pasta was perfectly cooked, and while I thought my taste was a tad fishy, my wife disagreed and nearly licked the plate clean.

Next, I had the Roasted Alaska Black Cod, Pink Grapefruit & Ginger. While I thought the cod was served beautifully, nicely crisped on the outside, and the grapefruit/ginger combo was brilliant, I thought the cod could have had a bit more flavor. My wife says that I am just on drugs, and it tasted just like cod to her. She selected a Dover Sole that I don't see on the menu, but disappeared before I could get a taste.

With the meat courses approaching, I again placed myself in the hands of the waiter for a glass of something red. I don't see it on the online wine list, either by the bottle or glass, but it was a 2004 Australian Shiraz that was spicy, not too fruity, and worth far more than the $15 he poured it for.

For the first meat course, I could not avoid the Marcel's Classic Boudin Blanc. It's a freaking blend of various animal fats, stuffed in a tube and crisped. If you don't love this, get the hell out of town. It took all of my love for my wife to share this with her, though her veal cheeks over polenta, laid on a bed of mushroom-stuffed spinach didn't exactly suck.

Next my wife went with the Pepper Encrusted Bison Entrecôe, Bordelaise Sauce. This is what beef should taste like - f*ck the corn-fed crap that we're served elsewhere. Thank god she agreed to share it with me. I had a roasted squab breast that was a different preparation than the website menu. It was served medium rare over an israeli couscous with a red wine reduction and sauteed greens of some variety - my memory, along with the copious pours of booze, were failing me at this point.

For the cheese course, we shared some Humbolt Fog and Saint Andre. Don't ask me about the accompaniments with the cheese - by the time he brought over a "taste" (really, a full pour) of Sauternes for the HF and a 40-year-old Tawny Port for the Saint Andre, I was pretty well shitfaced.

But not so much that I didn't appreciate my Valrhona Chocolate Mouse Tower, Raspberry Coulis, or my wife's Passionfruit cheesecake, nor the French Press coffee that came along with it.

Again, service was picture perfect, and the Sauternes, Port, coffee, tea refills, and wine topoffs did not appear on the bill, though my 30% gratuity did.

You are kidding yourself if you believe that you are dining at the finest places in the city, but you have not yet been to Marcel's.

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I was at Marcel's last weekend celebrating early Valentines day. I have to say that I was looking for a restaurant to impress and it went above and beyond exceeding my expectations.

We did the four course meal and it was plenty. I could not imagine doing the full seven courses since we were very full from the four courses. I cannot remember the wine we were drinking but we asked for help and were very happy with the selections (left with a pretty good buzz too - Fortunately no DC police that night)

Each item was better than the next. From the lobster bisque all the way through the chocolate souffle. The souffle was done PERFECTLY. Lately when I have had a souffle, it is either overdone or underdone and just garbage inside. This was a perfection taste of chocolate and light airy texture.

And I will agree that the service was right on, never felt ignored and never felt bothered.

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The fact that this topic is still on it's first page, with the first post 3 years ago, is a shame of gargantuan proportions.

Actually, I am not that surprised that it has not generated a lot of posts. I went there last November with a friend. We had a great meal. The service was excellent, the food very well prepared, the setting very nice. It was well worth the price, and for certain kinds of special meals I would consider going back. That said, I was not overwhelmed and there were no surprises. It lacked a certain spark.

A few weeks ago I went to Brasserie Beck and was surprised and impressed. The chorizo mussels are still kicking around in my memory. Despite the fact that it is not as refined, Beck is more interesting. (it could have been the beer).

If I go back to Marcel's I would take the suggestion of the tasting menu which might provide the kitchen with a chance to sparkle. When I checked in tonight I noticed the thread immediately below the one on Marcel's was the one asking what places excited you recently. There is something to be said for doing something specific and doing it well, but in being reliable perhaps the "exciting" element is lost.

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There is something to be said for doing something specific and doing it well, but in being reliable perhaps the "exciting" element is lost.

I agree that Marcel's is not "exciting" but what I love about it is the "Old World" feel that it generates. Impeccable service, great food, good wine, beautiful room, what else could one ask for in this type of restaurant.

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I agree that Marcel's is not "exciting" but what I love about it is the "Old World" feel that it generates. Impeccable service, great food, good wine, beautiful room, what else could one ask for in this type of restaurant.

I had a fantastic meal at Marcel's last Thursday evening. I was in town for a conference and dined here alone and was treated like a queen from the moment I walked in the door. I had 5 courses, each delicious (lobster bisque, boudin blanc, foie gras, squab and chocolate souffle) and while not particularly "surprising" the quality of the ingredients and the technique of the kitchen shone through in every course. The meal was served at a perfectly leisurely pace, the servcie was beyond excellent, I had a fabulous table, and the room was packed by 7:00 making for great people watching. I would definitely return, especially for a special occasion.

I had reservations at Central for Sunday evening but, unfortunately, had to leave town early so I missed the chance to dine there. Having tried at Citonelle last time I was in town (fabulous with lots of creative surprises) Central and Beck are at the top of my list for next time.

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I celebrated my birthday with Pete on Sunday with dinner at Marcels. We arrived early and the place was empty. But they were ready for us and took us to our table. I was beginning to think we were their only guests for Sunday dinner but others did start arriving as well as a big party of doctors being wooed by a pharaceutical company, our waiter informed us as they walked by.
Our waiter was Johnathan and he was fantastic. He brought us some complementary champagne (for my birthday) to start off the evening. After some mishaps with our water (flies doing the backstroke is both water glasses) we finally made a decision on dinner - 5 courses. We were happy when Jonathan mentioned they could do a sampler on the cheese course as that was what we wanted. For those who are not familiar the menu is broken up into 5 courses, a cheese course and a dessert course. You can pick to do 3, 4, 5, or 7 courses-or they also offer an a la carte feature where you can get one appetizer and then one of the fish or meat courses doubled as an entrée.

I probably picked the heaviest dish from each course. That's just what sounded good to me.

First Course - I had the Mussels Gratin - good and rich as expected in a gratin. Nothing to wow me but good. Pete had the Trio of Scallop - the scallop ceviche he says was the best single bite of the night; vibrant and fresh scallop with citrus and a little corn in a phyllo cup. Needless to say he didn't share.

Second Course - I had the Duck Confit and Sweetbread Lasagne - sounded interesting and it's hard for me to pass up sweetbreads. It was interesting, the filling had a gelatinous feel but was good. I couldn't pick out the duck or the sweetbreads flavor on their own but the dish overall was good. Pete had the Boudin Blanc which was good but overwhelmed by the mushroom sauce. Johnathan had described it well but I was still caught by surprise by the texture. I don't expect "sausage" to be light and airy.

Third Course - I had the Lamb "Wellington" - not the true name of the dish but how it was described. I wish the filling and lamb were better incorporated or that the phyllo crust didn't fall apart so easily. It was hard to get a bite of everything onto my fork. The lamb was a perfect medium rare. The sauce was very rich which I found overpowering the more I ate. But I was also getting full at this point.

Pete had the Roulade of Rabbit with Carrot Ginger Reduction - he says this was a terrific dish that got better with each bite; the sauce was a perfect compliment to the roulade.

Fourth Course - Cheese Sampler - I was disappointed not to see Epoisses on the menu as it was on their online menu. But the cheeses they did have were great-except for the cheddar. That was the waxiest piece of cheese I've ever eaten. Unfortunately I don't remember the name but we commented that we think we also had it at City Zen-although I think it was edible there. The blue cheese had a layer of apricots on it that should have been much thinner. I had to push them off so I could enjoy the cheese.

Fifth Course - Dessert - I had the Triple Chocolate Brownie with passion fruit sauce and chocolate sorbet. The passion fruit was a great tart punch to break through all the chocolate. The brownie was ok but made better by the layer of ganache and another layer-maybe a mousse (?) on top. The chocolate sorbet was so rich. It was good but I'm not a huge fan of chocolate ice cream or sorbet.

Pete had the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake - This was fantastic-as I can remember from only one bite. It would have been a better ending to my heavy meall.but that was my mistake.

Overall, the food was enjoyable but nothing wowed us. The sauces were rich (as I know French sauces are supposed to be with all that butter) and sometimes overpowering.

The service was excellent! Very attentive but not overbearing. Johnathan also brought us a glass of a late-harvest sauvignon blanc from Chile that was excellent with the cheese and dessert. We would definitely go back.

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I had heard from a friend with a more refined palate that mine that Marcel's might have lost a step, what with Wiedmaier distracted by the the bushels of cash one assumes that Beck is raking in, but an accidental visit Saturday night -- apparently they no longer offer the bar menu in the bar -- suggested otherwise.

Mrs. B and I were trying to compensate for Cafe du Parc's inaccurate website -- the Breton dinner is no longer available, regardless of the menu posted prominently on their home page -- and figured we'd hit Marcel's for the cut-rate bar menu and maybe something just for a treat off the regular card. Sadly, the bar menu has gone the way of the buffalo (though we were told that Gruyere "pizza" can be had if one asks politely) and so we said "fuck it" since it was the first date night in weeks and ordered off the regular menu.

The thing I like about French bistro cooking is its rich, unctuous wonderfulness nd the dinner at Marcel's was kind of the same thing, only raised to an etherial level. When you sip a spoonful of the celeriac soup with pheasant rillette raviolies, you're not really picking out the different flavors comparing and contrasting in your mouth. You're simply saying "holy freeking Jesus" and arm-wrestling your significant other for another slurp. Snails and a garlic creme brulee...who knew? Spectacular. Nothing tests a kitchen like a delicate fish and the turbotin/grey sole (I think) in a bit of buerre blanc featured a crisped surface and just-warmed interior that both crunched and melted. Even better than an excellet lamb tenderloin in phyllo.

Desserts were kind of OK, but by then we hardly cared. Whatever regret we had about not dining in the dining room with its legendary service (because we thought that we were going to get that bar menu) were overcome by the excellent piano player, who will break out some serious stride if you ask politely. Our bartender, whose name I forgot to get, was charming and elegant, and had a bit of industry gossip to share as well.

All in all, a brilliant meal, perfectly calibrated for a cold night.

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The wife and I had a great meal at Marcel's on Friday. We did the 3 course Pre-Theater menu with wine pairings and were very happy with the food and the service and you get the added bonus of car service to and from the Kennedy Center. I started with the Diver Scallop, moved onto the Venison and finished up with the Butterscotch Creme Brulee (something I don't normal get, but this one was excellent). The wine parings were spot on as well.

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Marcel's is definitely one of the top three restaurants in the DC-Baltimore area (Sushi Sono and Tosca being the others).

My first experience was pretty solid (led by a memorable duck confit ravioli), but what really brought me back was the regal service by Rigaa. My second visit was one of the best dining experiences ever! Rigaa, made our divine dinner into a divine experience with his perfect recommendations, courteous service and informative explanations to all of our questions. In fact, it is Rigaa who provides the consistency in the restaurant's service.

First, my date and I were seated at a table in the perfect spot, facing the kitchen and sitting right next to each other (rather than across the table from each other), which made it perfect for sharing our meal.

All of the dishes we ordered were excellent, but we must point out the three that made the culinary experience absolutely superior (two of which were strong recommendations by Rigaa):

- Loup de Mer with Truffled Pommes and Chive Beurre Blanc: The fish was perfectly cooked, with a crisp skin and tender, flavor-packed meat. The pommes puree had a tasty infusion of truffle flavor, but still just subtle to complement the dreamy fish. The celery leaf garnish was the kiss of perfection.

- Lobster Bisque Encroute with Lobster Tartare: The texture of the lobster meat in the bisque was absolutely perfect, beautifully paired with the cool tartare, refreshing frisee, and fragrant cherry vinaigrette.

- Passion Fruit Cheesecake with Mango Sorbet: We savored every bite and angle of this dish, the perfect balance of form (beautiful presentation) and function (amazing taste). After devouring the sorbet, we divided up the two stories of cheesecake and delighted in dipping it into the lovely passion fruit-raspberry sauce. The fragrance and tartness of the sauce was balanced by the mellow cheesecake and hazelnutty tuile.

Our most recent visit was not nearly as magical, but still very solid. The Lamb Tenderloin in Phyllo was flavorful, tender meat harmonized with bitter chard, buttery crust, and rich cumin-madeira sauce, complemented by caramelized garlic, whipped potato and crisp; Grand Marnier Souffle with tangerine ice cream one of my favorite souffles ever; along with the delightful Petit Fours, these three were our favorite dishes.

The service was great, but we heard that Rigaa had left. For us, this is a bigger loss than the departure of the sommelier. A star like Rigaa may be tough to find, so hopefully Chef Wiedmaier can do so as soon as he gets comfortable with BRABO :P

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