Sunday, June 7, 2009

Come Again

Last week a post-conference dinner for 4 quickly turned into an 8 people affair, and I had no time to call for reservations. Since everyone else had been travelling all day, a 40-minute wait was not an option. I shepherded the group down New Jersey Avenue, hoping the views of the Capitol would stave their hunger. The host at Bistro Bis was gracefulness personified – he welcomed everyone (the nametags were a dead giveaway) and had a round table set at the far end of the wood, steel and glass dining room, which allowed me to split my attention between musings on legal anthropology and the vintage food posters in French.

Bistro Bis, a sister restaurant to Vidalia, is a few blocks away from Union Station at the George Hotel. Split into three areas that flow into each other, the rooms are tied together by the use of natural cherry wood and soft lighting. Though its location says power lunch, the feel is cozy, and there were plenty of dates going on around us.
As a quick starter for the table (aside from the bread basket, devoured in record time) I ordered mussels in curry cream for the table. The mussels have a wonderful kick from the piquillo peppers, and where it not for the consistency of the curry cream I would have thought I was at Brasserie Beck.

Since everybody was having different entrees, a bottle was impossible. I had a glass of Gamay, a fresh and floral wine that hails from the Beaujoulais region and is also served slightly chilled. The fruit notes were cherry, with the acidity of strawberry. For an entrĂ©e I had the Duck au Rhubarb, two of my favorite tastes. The duck breast was crusted with pink peppercorns, which added color and flavor to the meat while keeping it from drying out. The rhubarb was present as a compote as well as a gastrique. I’ve had duck with cherries on several occasions so the rhubarb is an interesting twist, highlighted by the fact that using breast instead of leg and thigh keeps the fat and its smoke away. A second cut sat on top of thinly sliced slightly fried potatoes and a touch of salad.

I ordered the Petit Fours for the table – a selection of confections, cookies and chocolates that on this particular night featured macarons, peanut butter and dark chocolate triangles, and lattice cookies. My favorite on the menu, though, is the spiced carrot cake topped with buttermilk panna cotta, a wonderful combination of acid, warmth, degrees of firmness, and a refreshing side of mandarin orange sorbet.

We poured into E street happy, well fed, and fully recovered from the first day of the conference.

Bistro Bis @ the Hotel George
15 E St NW
Washington, DC 20001
Bistro Bis on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Q. said...

LOVE Bistro Bis. Was just there last week for lunch and the mussels (steamed in a tomato oregano broth with yellow and red peppers and sausage.) SO good! Of course - mussels aren't complete without frites, so I split those with my friend. Best lunch I've had in ages!