Art and I just got home from a long weekend mini-vacation in our nation’s capital. We enjoyed being touristy and eating good food. It’s amazing how many great places there are to eat and how close they are to home!
I picked all of our restaurants with the help of Washingtonian’s 100 Best Restaurants list. We were not disappointed at all with any of the choices. It all started with a visit to Bistro Bis by Jeffrey Ruben.
The décor was very relaxed and we both felt very comfortable. I had requested a table with good lighting and wasn’t disappointed. Our server was attentive and extremely knowledgeable which is always a bonus. It’s nice to feel that the people serving you have actually eaten the food they’re serving!
Our meal started off with lovely little gougères. The cheese tasted like asiago to me, but I might be wrong. They were nice and light.
Gougères were followed by warm sliced bread with butter.
Salade de Tomates au Marché
Market tomatoes with opal basil sorbet, shaved petit basque, micro basil and balsamic vinaigrette
And then came my salad, the clear winner of the meal. The basil sorbet, which is in the middle, was phenomenal. Everything else was great, but that basil sorbet was perfection. Hindsight 20/20, I should have ordered this salad for every course of the meal.
Salade Frisée au Lardons
Frisée lettuce with applewood smoked bacon, poached path valley farm egg and sherry vinaigrette
Art’s salad was also delicious! He is slowly becoming a lover of poached eggs which is pretty astounding; he used to avoid any hint of runniness in eggs. The bacon was great, nice thick slices cooked almost crisp. The egg yolk combined with the vinaigrette to make a delicious dressing for the salad.
Mustard crusted loin of rabbit with glazed carrots, sweet potato mousseline, herb spaetzle and tarragon rabbit
I ordered the rabbit from the specials. It’s on the menu to try out for the restaurant’s fall menu and, having never had rabbit before, I decided to be adventurous and give it a go. The taste was somewhere between chicken and steak, a bit more flavorful than chicken breast but in a way that was hard to put my finger on. While I enjoyed the meat, I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to order rabbit again; I prefer fish, cow or lamb.
In the top left corner of the plate, I had some wild mushrooms served in a cup made of Brussels sprout leaves. The top right has the spaetzle and there are teeny roasted carrots in between the two. In the middle you can see the mousseline with sweet potato crisps on the top. I cleaned my plate.
Artichoke stuffed pasta with crisp bayonne ham, oven dried tomatoes, arugula and caramelized onions
Art ordered the ravioli. He loves artichoke and dried tomatoes, and, especially, ravioli. This was all fantastic and he was kind enough to share one delicious bite with me.
We ordered Ratatouille Provençale for the table and Art loved it. I found it a bit to bell peppery and oily for my tastes, but I’ve never been a huge lover of ratatouille to being with.
Coconut crème and almond génoise with milk chocolate crémeux, passion fruit coulis and fresh berries
I have very little idea what any of those words mean, but it was delicious. It was rich, but not too much so. The coconut flavor was very mild but present in every bite. The thing on top is a dried slice of pineapple – wow.
Art’s dessert is not on the menu so I can’t post the name and description for it. Our server referred to it as “The Chocolate Thing.” The chocolate in the middle was very heavy and similar to fudge. It was also orange flavored. Surrounding it were supremes of grapefruit, grapefruit gellée topped with berry coulis, hazelnut powder, and candied orange rind. All topped with a cherry and a praline thing. Art loved it.
And then, because we don’t do these things every day, we had a cheese course. We were given a print out of cheeses to choose from, picked three, and then they arrived with some accoutrements. Sadly I forgot to take pictures of the entire plate before we started to eat; I guess we were just too excited!
Our first cheese, Hoch Ybrig (cow) from Switzerland, can be seen in picture above. It’s the rich gold cheese that’s in the back row farthest away from the knob in front. It’s described as “slightly granular in texture with full-flavored nuttiness.”
Our second cheese, Pecorino Tartufo (sheep) from Italy, is “semi-hard and speckled with pieces of shaved truffle.” The truffle was very subtle and lovely.
This is the plate that all the cheeses arrived on, but I only remembered to take a picture of it when only the Rockie Sage (goat) from the USA was left. This is a “young cheese aged with Colorado sage to give it a distinctive aroma and spiciness.” While the sage was strong, stronger still was the rind which made it taste more like a blue cheese than anything else. I’m not a lover of blue cheese, but it was mild enough that both Art and I were able to enjoy the taste.
The accoutrements included bread, crackers, apricot mustard, and pear puree.
This was a fantastic and satisfying meal. The restaurant was very warm and inviting, nothing on the menu was “scary” for a person not accustomed to French dining.
Total price, including tip, sodas for Art, and no alcohol: $162.83.
15 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001