Best Special-Occasion Dinner - 2007
Readers' Choice: Potager
It's funny how Duo's dining room -- a simple space with pale wood, exposed brick, white tablecloths -- initially seems underwhelming. At first blush, it looks like any one of a hundred other neighborhood joints going for casual bistro elegance. But Duo begins to reveal itself as soon as the menus come out -- and once the plates start arriving? You'll never look at the place the same way again. With food like this, Duo is the ideal go-to spot for special occasions of any description. Chef John Broening's ever-changing seasonal menus always maintain a pitch-perfect balance between his obsessive love of ingredients and his smarter-than-the-average-bear take on that oft-abused cuisine called New American; the service continually walks the line between educated professionalism and informal joie de travail; and the pacing of meals is excellent -- never rushed, never poky. Whether you're celebrating an anniversary or a successful parole hearing, Duo is the best spot to mark one of life's little victories. After all, that pretty much describes this restaurant, too.