04 May 2007

Lunch at Bistro Bis, Washington, DC

I love Bistro Bis. The food is consistently outstanding. The menu is creative, and the food is well-prepared. So when a friend of mine suggested Bistro Bis for a lunch meeting recently, I quickly agreed.

Bistro Bis is considered a French restaurant. But I think it’s more accurately described as a Mediterranean/French-Italian restaurant. I’ve been there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they do all three extremely well. They also do a great job with groups. I’ve entertained a table of 12 for lunch. I’ve attended breakfast and lunch group events. They just consistently perform well.

Another thing I like about Bistro Bis is the location. It’s in the Hotel George, two blocks from Union Station and four blocks from the U.S. Capitol. The George is a Kimpton Hotel. It’s a great place to stay, and occasionally, you can find great room rates. (My wife and I stayed at another Kimpton, the Hotel Serrano, in San Francisco in March.)

For our recent lunch meeting, I was accompanied by two co-workers, and my friend had his wife along. My friend is an aficionado of morel mushrooms, and they had an appetizer of ‘morilles et oignons.’ It was a small ramekin of sautéed morels and caramelized onions. His wife had the ‘beet salad au citron.’ It was a platter of red and golden beets with goat cheese, walnuts,
orange, arugula and citrus infused olive oil. It looked lovely, and she liked it very much, but I’m not a fan of beets. One of my coworkers had the ‘panachee with cheese.’ It was a very nice salad of shallots, chives, cherry tomatoes and dijon vinaigrette with warm goat cheese.

My other coworker ordered a luncheon entrée salad – ‘crab salade Lucullus.’ It consisted of nice-sized chunks of crab meat with grapefruit, mango, tomato, avocado, spring salad and citrus-dill aïoli. It was served molded into a tower on the plate. It was very attractive. She reported it was good, but not as flavorful as she expected.

Three of us had the daily special of rockfish ‘barrigoule.’ It was a delicately cooked piece of rockfish served on a white bean puree along with artichokes, zucchini, and green olives. It was amazing. The sauce was light and delicate. The vegetables were cooked crisp tender, and the olives added a tangy, salty accent.

The other entrée was seared scallops. It was four nice-sized sea scallops, cooked just right. They were cooked through, but still very moist and not at all rubbery. It was served with garlic, tomato, olives, basil and a timbale of roasted eggplant surrounded by the scallops. An attractive, creative presentation that was appropriate to the superb preparation of the scallops.

A few of us opted for dessert. My friend’s wife had a bowl of seasonal mixed berries – very fresh, very tasty. One of my coworkers had the ‘terrine fraises.’ This turned out to be a layered strawberries and white chocolate mousseline with pistachio sponge cake and strawberry sorbet. He said that it was so good, he wished he’d had two desserts instead of a meal.

I had a lemon goat cheese torte. It was a light, fluffy torte topped with lemon curd and a goat cheese cream. The pungent goat cheese went well with the tangy lemon curd, and it looked beautiful on the plate.

I enthusiastically recommend Bistro Bis for any meal of the day.

No comments: