Trends come and go. But French food remains culinary kingpin. Witness les trois nouveaux

NEW YORK: DJANGO, 480 Lexington Ave., (212) 871-6600
A star on paper — founded by the folks behind Union Pacific, styled by über-designer David Rockwell, and named after gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt — this Big Apple eatery also gets high marks for execution. The 250-seat Midtown brasserie suppresses kitsch in favor of glossy looks sparked by tin-framed mirrors and beaded curtains. Chef Gwenaël Le Pape turns out Mediterranean-leaning fare (think lobster bouillabaisse and wild boar cassoulet) to a background of jazz beats.

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA: ZINC BISTRO, 15034 N. Scottsdale Rd., (480) 603-0922
A taste of Paris in a shopping center in the middle of the desert? Trust us, Zinc Bistro transports. A zinc oyster bar, a 1910 vintage train station clock suspended from the ceiling, and a candlelit courtyard do the trick. Chef Matt Carter, whose résumé includes stints at Michael’s at the Citadel and French Laundry in Napa Valley, dishes classic bistro fare highlighted by braised lamb, seared hali-but, and steak frites.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: POSTE, 555 8th St. N.W., (202) 783-6060
Housed in the former sorting room of the Tariff Building, the capital’s post office for much of the 19th century, Poste serves seasonal American cuisine with French élan. Chef Jon Mathieson, who spent five years at New York’s Lespinasse, pairs native mustard greens with wine-braised short ribs and serves fondue and charcuterie in the bar. Plush banquette seating, an exhibition kitchen, and 16-foot ceilings create a convivial setting. —