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Restaurants & Bars 4

Maestro: On Valentine's Day

Joe H. | Feb 14, 2003 11:37 PM

When Maestro originally told me that they were booked up two months in advance for Valentine's Day I made a reservation for 2941. I should mention that this was BEFORE Tom Sietsema's rave review in the Washington Post appeared. Several weeks ago while pursuing an in depth study of proper enological investment at a gathering at Tyson's Ritz Carlton I was able to talk my way into a Valentine Day's reservation at Maestro. (Imbibing can often create the self deception of temporary superior verbal proficiency.) As a result
I gave my 2941 reservation to James.
At 9:00 tonight every single table at Maestro was full. Once again the age range was a bit older and I did not see a single male in the 100 seat dining room that was not wearing a coat, probably not even a single man without a tie. There were even several in tuxedos and, at least one woman, dressed in a strapless evening gown. Overall quite an impressive audience for what I consider to be Washington's best overall restaurant and the equal to many in Italy.
Another report that I have read describes the atmosphere as "electric" and I think this is really quite accurate. A total of twelve in the glass fronted, open kitchen along with at least another 8 to 10 waitstaff performed an ongoing ballet, rarely stopping except to pick up another platter for delivery to the adjacent dining room. At all times a private dining room just behind the kitchen with a glass wall had between two and four people with their noses pressed against the glass watching the cooks frenetically go through their paces.
I won't go into any detail. Several months ago when I first reported on Maestro I spent over 1,500 words on their menu. This time I just want to report what I think are the absolute best dishes on their menu. At this point my wife and I have probably tried every single dish and have acquired our own opinions about what we will order when we return with several Chowhounds on March 28th.
Best dishes: scallops in their shell (a great dish by any definition in the world), lobster ravioli (as good as Dal Pescatore and Aimo y Nadia which are Mchelin two and three stars in Italy), Kobe beef (this is the spectacular presentation dish where a souffle cup of sauce sits on top of a six inch lit column whose base encircles four precious bites of Kobe beef, two of whom are topped with black truffles and two topped with foie gras, and their signature souffle which is served with a pear sorbet that you scoop into a little pocket that is "sliced" into the top of the warm souffle.
For anyone on this board who might go to Maestro I suggest that with these four dishes you will have the equal (along with the "electric" atmosphere and spectacular presentation) of almost any meal in Italy. I say almost because Le Calandre, a Michelin three star outside of Rubano, is slightly better overall. But Tyson's Corner Maestro, after two visits where we have done our absolute best to eat our way through their entire menu, is now in my opinion the equal of any Italian restaurant in America.
And, Vincent, Maestro's sommolier who started at Jean Louis then later Lespinasse and now Maestro helps cement it on this level. He is outstanding.
But so is everyone there. Washington, D. C.'s best overall restaurant: Maestro.

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