Marcel’s is a favorite of the Washington elite, whether you are a Congressman, lobbyist or someone with a niece in town. Robert Wiedmair’s flagship restaurant never disappoints. First stop is the sleek and sexy lounge that embraces the color of white chocolate with a crisp white palette, bar stools and chairs covered in white leather, open glass shelving against a mirrored back and, a luxurious white leather sectional.

Guests are greeted warmly at the door and ushered either into the lounge to directly to your table. The  elegant dining room is decorated in soothing shades of beige with mirrors lining the walls and vases of fresh flowers offering a splash of color.

On my visit between Christmas and New Year’s the menu was scaled back a bit. I really wanted to try the Osso Buco. But, nevertheless, I found plenty to my liking. To start; a baby arugula and frisee salad with caramelized balsamic shallots, rocca cheese, eggs and a hint of an aged sherry vinaigrette. My entrée was a sweet and tender roasted pheasant breast served with braised tart cabbage over chopped and smoky Applewood bacon. Wonderful.

I like this wine list. It’s predominantly French and tends toward the expensive, but there are still lots of choices under $50 in both reds and whites, particularly from the Rhone Valley and Provence. There are about 18 wines by the glass and about a dozen ½ bottles.

Marcel’s offers a wonderful twist to pre-theatre dining; a $48 pre-fix, 3 course meal that includes car service in a Cadillac or Mercedes to and from the Kennedy Center. Guests often return to the restaurant for dessert after the show.

ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: Perfect for a romantic evening.

AAA Four Diamond Award

Chef-owner Robert Wiedmaier upholds “haute-cuisine” traditions at his West End flagship offering “exceptional” French-Belgian “classics with a twist” served with “panache” in an “elegant but not pretentious” atmosphere; the package includes a “luxurious” contemporary space, and while its expense-account pricing leads some to reserve it as a “special treat”, there’s an “excellent” pre-theater deal that includes transport to and from Kennedy Center. ZAGAT