A Return To: Citronelle

[ 0 ] June 23, 2011 |

The last time I visited Citronelle for dinner was during my teen years.  Mind you I’m not very far from those years (*smiles*) but I’m far enough away that all I can remember about the experience is that I left feeling exceptionally full and delighted.  To dine at any of Michel Richard’s inventions is an experience not to be taken lightly especially when that place is Citronelle.  Often asked what is my favorite restaurant in the District, Citronelle rolls easily off the tongue.  Since my first visit, I have stopped in for the occasional bar fare and dessert helpings but on this particular night we went all the way.

©JohnnaKnowsGoodFood (Lobster "Begula" Pasta)

There are Chef’s and then there are food genius’s, needless to say Chef Richard falls in that genius category.  When lobster can meet a poached egg topped with tiny risotto balls all tucked neatly in a tin can to give the illusion of beluga caviar finished with a sea of “fake” ice annnd taste exquisite, there might be an Einstein behind this project.

©JohnnaKnowsGoodFood (Lobster, Potato Fried Rice, Lilly Bulb)

Lobster took over my meal, which put me in the exact location of bliss.  The potato fried rice was a bold collection of carrots, peas and garlic all tossed together in a light brown sauce.

©JohnnaKnowsGoodFood ("Extra")

Perhaps it’s the little things in life but the “extras” that the waiter brought out were quite impressive as well, all vying for my first place dish.  An “extra” dessert was brought to our table made with simple white mousse, bitter fruit and garnished with none other than:  cocoa puffs.  When chef’s can appreciate the little joys in life such as cocoa puffs and Frito’s paired with the finer things in life, they have my vote for creativity.

©JohnnaKnowsGoodFood (Strawberry Cheesecake)

When deciding on the dessert, I usually opt for sweets outside the norm which is why I surprised myself when I ordered the strawberry cheesecake.  Lucky for me, strawberry cheesecake equals the Cirque du Soleil of cheesecakes at Citronelle.  Far from the presentation I expected (*see above), the typical graham cracker base boasted a peanut butter taste and is topped with a thick layer of sweet cream cheese.  Exquisite to say the least of my experience at Citronelle, exceptional to say the most.  Peering in on the kitchen staff is intriguing as you see how effortless it takes to reach perfection.

Citronelle is an institution that honestly speaks for itself in the Washington area.  With roots dating back to the 1986 when Citrus opened its doors on Melrose, Chef Richard is a veteran in this restaurant game.  With that being said, when asked what my favorite restaurant is in the Washington, DC area, my answer is wholeheartedly Citronelle.

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Category: restaurant reviews, Washington D.C.

About the Author ()

Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Panama, Washington, DC and North Carolina. All four places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9, FOX 5 DC and WJLA (ABC Affiliate) News Channel 8. During the 2016-2017 football season, Johnna aired on Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic (CSN) show, Redskins Life, as the weekly tailgate host. Johnna is currently a regular contributor to the FOX Baltimore Weekend morning show.

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