// SCENE. STYLE. SPACE.
A FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHEF STEPS INTO A NEW MILIEU.
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The buzzy new downtown restaurant Mirabelle has a lot going for it, starting with the James Beard Award–winning bona fides of its chef, Frank Ruta. Presiding over a classic French restaurant that reflects a modern American sensibility, Ruta explains that, while respecting tradition is a committed part of his cooking philosophy, he is “excited to present those traditions through my own lens in a way that feels fresh and inviting.”
With its ornate style and gilded finishings, the space harks back to a time when fine-dining service was an extravagant show, with an amusebouche as the curtain-raiser and dessert as the final act. And when it comes to a showstopping finale, it’s hard to beat the dessert cart, a mainstay of many old-school and French-style restaurants, says Aggie Chin, Mirabelle’s pastry chef. Recently, these carts have made a comeback because of their novelty and sales power. “The cart definitely helps to boost sales. Maybe you’re not in the mood for dessert, but when you see it in front of you, you splurge,” Chin says. Top treats on her stately, two-tier gold-andmahogany cart include a mixand-match of caramels, macaroons, and crêpes, plus her play on a classic Basque gâteau. 900 16th St. NW, 202-506-3833; mirabelledc.com
The dessert cart at Mirabelle is one of many gilded touches that turn dining at the restaurant into an event.