Au Petit Paris
This little bit of Paris, charmingly set in an unassuming brick house at the edge of the Museum District, is the labor of love of two young Frenchmen, Eric LeGros and Dominique Bocquier. When it opened in late 2007, they brought a homey touch to serious French cooking. While the white napkins are starched, there's nothing overly formal about the place. The menu, though, is exceedingly, traditionally French, and it cleaves to the classics. The trembly quiche lorraine has a perfectly flaky crust, as does the mozzarella-and-tomato confit tart, while sautéed sea scallops come topped with crisp bacon and are served alongside asparagus and curried cauliflower purée. Then there's the Burgundy-rich oxtail stew and the duck confit with potatoes browned in duck fat. Quirkily prepared ingredients, such as the flash-fried cherry tomatoes that tart up the salade verte, add just a hint of surprise.
Tip: Ask to be seated in the second dining room, where the atmosphere is a bit more soothing.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.