Marcel’s Compels and Excels on Pennsylvania Avenue
- Although one is not listed in print, there is always a foie gras dish on the menu. In any ilk, say sautéed with Calvados and apples, it’s worth ordering.
- Alex Jenkins’ piano playing in the bar lightly wafts into the dining room and pleasantly enhances the dining experience.
- House-made bonbons lighten the blow when the bill comes. The one of passion fruit sorbet enrobed with white chocolate is a burst of pleasure.
Good to Know
- Guests tend to put on the dog at Marcel’s, but the tables in the bar lend themselves nicely to those dressed casually.
- Executive car service to and from the Kennedy Center is free with dinner. Marcel’s offers a prix-fixe dinner (any three courses from the menu) for $58 before 6 p.m. Optimal plan of action: Return to Marcel’s after the show for dessert and after-dinner Champagne.
- Table 28, in a curtained-off nook in the main dining room, is perfect for an extra-romantic and ultra-private evening.
·Tartare of Filet Mignon with Quail Egg
·Classic Boudin Blanc with Truffle Sauce
·Lamb Tenderloin Wrapped in Phyllo
·Marcel’s already superlative wine list includes more than 50 champagnes with lush brut rosés figuring prominently, from Pommery Cuvée Louise ($850) to André Clouet ($120)
·Château Rayas’ Côtes de Rhône ($120) complemented sweetbreads, turbot and pheasant beautifully, but their Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Réserve ($2000) would undoubtedly have gotten the job done, too.
Building an empire doesn’t just happen -- it requires a solid foundation of discipline, skill, and experience. Robert Wiedmaier has all of those things and then some.
Wiedmaier was born of a Belgian father and American mother, grew up in Europe with an innate interest in cooking and attended culinary school in Holland. In 1986, Wiedmaier came to Washington, DC area to work at the Morrison House in Alexandria. He then worked under acclaimed chefs Yannick Cam and Doug MacNeil at Le Pavillon and Aux Beaux Champs respectively, then as head chef at the Café on M and at Aquarelle in the Watergate Hotel, following in the footsteps of Jean-Louis Palladin.
In 1999, Wiedmaier opened Marcel’s, named after his first-born son, which immediately became one of Washington’s top tables and remains so, having just been named one of the country’s Top 25 restaurants by the Zagat Guide.
Wiedmaier expanded his empire by opening Brasserie Beck (named after his second-born son) in 2007, Brabo Restaurant, the Tasting Room and the Butcher Block market in Alexandria’s Lorien Hotel in 2009 and the Mussel Bar in Bethesda in 2010. In 2012, Wiedmaier plans to debut an eatery in Atlantic City and, along with chef Brian Mcbride, oversee another local restaurant project. He was the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s 2009 Chef of the Year, supports numerous charitable organizations and was longtime proponent of sustainable practices, whole animal butchery and local sourcing before those were just buzzwords. As real deals go, they don’t get much more real than Wiedmaier.
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