Bistrot du Coin

Recently visited Bistrot du Coin in Washington, DC in the Dupont Circle area. They coin themselves as ‘The Original French Bistrot in Washington DC.’ The restaurant will turn 17 years old this year and offers a nice open space with high ceilings and opportunity to almost sit on Connecticut Ave when the front doors/walls are open on gorgeous days. They are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

We went on a Tuesday night, fairly early, 7ish. Was easy to get a table. By the time we left around 8:30pm, it was busy. The service was extremely slow. Took a long time to get simple things like water and drinks.

Looking over the menu, a decent selection of French food. What ended up coming to the table (along with some Stella Artois and Alsace wine).

Salade Niçoise façon Bistrot
Bonito tuna,hard boiled egg, Anchovy over mixed greens, Vegetables, black olives $17.95

While it was good, why do they have to used canned tuna? I would love some nicely grilled stuff.

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Moules Marinières
Steamed mussels in white wine with onions, shallots, garlic and parsley $13.95/$23.95

These were done nicely and the tasted delicious.

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Onglet à l’échalotte
Hanger Steak with French Fries served with compote of shallot, red wine sauce
(Chef recommends med-rare or rare) $25.95

Very traditional. Now it was ordered medium rare and came out pretty much bright pink in the middle. We did have to send it back because there is a difference between pan-searing it momentarily and letting it cook for a couple minutes. When it came back it out, apparently it was quite good.

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Overall, a decent dinner, but as commented initially, extremely slow service. Just getting refills on the water was challenging. So, glad I went, but not a restaurant I need to check out a lot, but also not one I would have a problem going back to.

Le Chat Noir

Have been in DC for many years and finally made it to Le Chat Noir.  I used to even live only about mile from it. It’s a French restaurant located between Friendship Heights and Tenleytown in NW.

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Went on a Saturday night.  Had reservations but it wasn’t too busy, the service was pretty slow, though. The menu has a good amount of selection, but of course I had to do some good picking because of being lactose intolerant.

Opted for a bottle of rose, for kicks, Le P’tit Rose. It was good, a bit sweet, a fun wine to try.

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While deciding on dinner, with the wine we enjoyed addictive bread.

Then, for the first course of dinner, I opted for a salad and my friend went for the Crèpe fourrée. Crèpe stuffed with crabmeat, bay scallops, mushrooms, Chablis cream sauce.  Apparently that was pretty darn good.

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Main course was a Bijoux de boeuf au poivre. Grilled beef tenderloin, grilled asparagus, gratin dauphinois, green peppercorn sauce (the asparagus is on the side).  It was perfectly cooked and melted in the mouth.

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I opted for the Saint Jacques à la Bretonne. Sea scallops, truffle risotto, cremini mushrooms, white wine béchamel & gruyere cheese gratin.  They made some nice substitutions on the dairy and grilled the scallops, put it on a bed of lentil ‘crust’ with a side of pickled veggies.  All very nice.

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Very happy I finally checked this place out!

Voulez-vous dîner avec moi ce soir?

Etes-vous intéressé?  Il y a un nouveau restaurant français à DC.

And now to English we go.  Was getting together with some long-lost friends the other day and they did the searching for where to meet.  There was rumor of a new French place that just opened its doors a few months back in the 14th street/Logan Circle area of DC so we wanted to check it out.  The name, Le Diplomate.

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Tough to get reservations so we took the risk of walking in and got there early enough to not have to wait too long.  Two of us got there before the other tw0 and grabbed a drink at the bar.  My friend had a glass of wine and I had a house cocktail that can be served either straight up or on the rocks.  The Romarin – Absolut, St. Germain, rosemary, and grapefruit.  Very nice and refreshing!

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Once we were seated, there were many options on the menu, traditional for French fare.  I will say, while looking it over, I had a great time talking to the waiter in French.  When I can, I’ll do it.  Have to practice.  While looking over the menu, they bring you AMAZING bread.  Baguette, wheat, cranberry-walnut stuff…waiter…another basket.  Dang, so so so good!  Two of my friends opted for raw oysters for appetizers and another for some (french) fries.  I waited for the main course.

Main course-wise, two at the table went for Steak Frites, another went for Lamb Shanks.  For me, because so much french food has dairy,  not having had it for so long, and the lack of ingredients in it, had to go for Steak Tartare.  Also ordered some grilled asparagus.
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Overall recap of the evening.  Great place, highly recommend trying it.  I would also recommend aiming for a reservation or getting there early.  It was packed 20 minutes after we arrived (6:15pm).  Also give yourself tons of time.  It took us 15 minutes to get a bottle of wine and water.  Raw oysters took 30 minutes.  Raw…  Main courses took awhile too.  We were so busy talking we didn’t really notice.  On the wine note, we had the Kim Crawford Pinot Noir.  We opted for a well priced option.

But, after dinner we were meeting some others and went across the street.  That’s where we found some wine I’d never tried or heard of.   It’s the Prima from Spain.  Check out their site — I can’t decide the exact name of the bottler/vintner because the names change a bit on the site so I don’t want to say the wrong one.  I just know this is where to visit — bodegasanroman.com.

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