Tracy O’Grady, an acclaimed chef who once ran the kitchen of Kinkead’s Restaurant, teamed up with Kate Jansen, a cofounder of Firehook Bakeries, to craft Willow Restaurant’s modern continental menu. Their dishes draw on traditional culinary techniques from both French and northern Italian cooking blended with high-end American ingredients. Though complex in flavor, all of the entrees—from the braised lamb shank to the roasted wild alaskan halibut to the pepper-crusted seared top sirloin steak—are prepared with straightforward, simple techniques.
Hoping to create a tranquil and relaxing sanctuary from the stressful pace of the country’s capital, the eatery calms its dining room with deep-purple and burgundy accents, rich fabrics, and mahogany woodwork. The space feels like a re-creation of a 1930s jazz lounge, with black-and-white photographs and glistening silver trays. Two semiprivate rooms with seating for up to 10 can be great for private dinners and upscale Go Fish tournaments, and the larger private dining room can be reserved for events with up to 50 guests.