August in the District is a little bit like Paris this time of year: easier parking, less traffic, fewer locals, and more tourists. The restaurants don’t close like they do in Paris though… instead many of them here are even reducing their pricing and offering special three course menus. That’s right… it’s Restaurant Week time! From August 19 to August 25 (and sometimes a week or two after that) some 240 dining establishments are trying to entice us to eat in by offering 3-course lunches for $20.13 and 3-course dinners for $35.13. And if you can’t make it to Paris again this summer (thanks a lot expansive airline fares!) may I suggest a few local alternatives that will transport you to France, at least for the time that you enjoy your prix-fixe menu?
Café du Parc ~ Pennsylvania Avenue is as close to the Champs Elysés as we get in DC (minus the Abercombie & Fitch, Disney Store, H&M etc…) and after a couple glasses of rosé at the terrace at Café du Parc you might even think you’re there. Maybe. But the food is definitely better than almost anything you’ll find on Paris’ famed avenue. Especially for $35.13 😉 Vegetarians have some good options like the pickled watermelon and brie salad or the zucchini pasta, while meat lovers might be tempted by the pork belly and the steak tartare… Either way, the menu seems pretty interesting for Restaurant Week (dinner only).
Malmaison ~ I like to use Restaurant Week as an excuse to visit places I haven’t been to before and since Malmaison has only been open for lunch and dinner for a short period of time, I’m actually really excited at the idea of checking it out, especially since I used to love Chef Gerard Pangaud’s Chez Gerard. The Popals’ latest Georgetown hot-spot is offering a dinner-only restaurant week menu that’s pretty basic, offering a choice of just 2 items per course. Basic doesn’t mean it’s bad though… For appetizers: goat quenelle, which you don’t see often on DC menus, or cucumber soup, followed by salmon with an eggplant compote or braised lamb shank. For dessert, surprisingly, no crepes. Instead a sticky pudding with salted caramel sauce or a raspberry chocolate tarte… all great reasons to go try out Malmaison non?
Mintwood Place ~ Technically Mintwood Place is an “American” restaurant but executive Chef Cedric Maupillier is French. The dorade with braised fennel or grilled mackerel with puy lentils are clearly tell-tell signs 😉 Also, the warm peach croustade with a nougat ice cream sounds just amazing. Bonus, the restaurant week menu at Mintwood Place (dinner only) is available through September 1st.
Poste Modern Brasserie ~ Yes, also not quite French, but Chef Dennis Marron’s extensive menu is French-inspired and during restaurant week diners can chose between boeuf bourguignon and pot au feu as their entrées. That sounds pretty French – and pretty good to me. Also, it sounds pretty hearty for August 😉
Bistro Bis ~ Based on the extensive restaurant week menu, offered both for lunch and dinner, and on past experiences dining there I say rush over to opentable and make a reservation NOW. The only downside is you have to add a few dollars for some of the menu items like the sea scallops provençales (dinner only + $6), the steak frites (dinner only + $8) or the Tuna Salade Niçoise (lunch only + $4.5). But at least you have many great options to chose from. I have a weakness for crème brûlées so I really want to try Bistro Bis’ cherry-vanilla rendition too…
Let me know if you try any of these during restaurant week… I’d love to hear what you thought!