I've had the pleasure of eating in almost every French restaurant in DC and now with Beck and Central joining the fray it truely is amazing what is considered "GOOD" food for the $$. Yes, Beck and Central spent a million plus on their restuarants (most likely the property owners did- a trick of the trade) but all the design in the world isn't going to make Beck's sausage/fennel mussels better, the tender essences of mussels are lost in the dish and $17 FOR MUSSELS.
Central is a service nightmare and personally I like my lobster in a more traditional style, not as a BURGER, but then again I'm in Maine every summer so it difficult for me, and Citronelle offers pitiful service, if Mark is not there, unless your at the Chef's table and for $200 per person- need I say more.
Marcel's is an excellent restaurant in every aspect- Food, Service, Decor and I look forward to my next visit but it is just as expensive as Citronelle, without the pre-theatre menu, and this takes me to my latest dinner at Gerard's Place.
Gerard's Place was excellent as well. Gerard was there and he introduced us to Jon Thompson his new Chef and I must say I look forward to my next meal there. The food and service quality were well above most other restaurants especially for the $$. I had sauteed scallops with a flan and parsley mousse $12 and a wild caught halibut with spices and red wine sauce $28 and my companion had a beet plate $10 and roasted duck with vanilla-mint poached pears $31 and we shared a chocolate tart $12. I have always heard how expensive Gerard's Place was but it WASN"T and when you combine that with the personal service not many French (or ANY) resturants compare. The decor isn't my favorite but I will return for the FOOD!