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Brassierie Les Halles

November 4, 2008

Les Halles
1201 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20004
Nearest Metro: Metro Center

Update: As of November 18, 2008, Les Halles is closed. 

Les Halles makes a great first impression as it is beautifully decorated with gold lights and overgrown plants. The staff was friendly, unpretentious and welcoming, and we were so excited to sit down and have dinner at this beautiful restaurant.

The restaurant may sound quite familiar because it is the home base of chef turned author turned TV host, Anthony Bourdain. Les Halles’ flagship restaurant is on Park Avenue in NYC and features a second New York and Miami location as well.

The concept is quite simple, Les Halles serves timeless French cuisine like escargot, pâté, steak tartare (prepared tableside), steak, and of course their “Award Winning” pommes frites.

Erin’s take:

Peter, his roommate and myself met for a late dinner at Brassierie Les Halles on a Saturday night. There were so many great things about the restaurant that I almost forgot how unmemorable my main course was. Besides the welcoming decor, the service was warm and well timed and dessert was both tasty and full of showmanship. Also worth mentioning is their well edited wine list and their interesting selection of beers.

I ordered the Coq au Vin with pommes purée, which was more than enough food after filling up on crusty bread and butter. Paired with a glass of wine, I somehow managed to clear my plate, but not feel stuffed. Where my dinner was certainly delicious enough, the “wow” factor I was looking for, just wasn’t there.

tableside crepes suzette

tableside crepes suzette

Dessert was really the highlight of the meal. Along with a half bottle of champange, the tableside presentation of Crêpes Suzette was not only fun to watch, but fun to eat! Since I was forced to share with Peter, they were gone in a heartbeat. I would go back to Les Halles, because like many restaurants, they clearly have stronger dishes than others. While my coq au vin was just okay, Peter’s french fries were delicious. The prices make Les Halles worth trying again. Between the champagne, service and company, I had fabulous time.

Peter’s take:

Like most French restaurants, we were started off with bread and butter. JK and I opted to drink a glass of beer with our meal. I went with good ole Guinness, and while Guinness is always good, I was a little disappointed that Les Halles did not have it on tap. JK and I chose to have appetizers with JK going with escargot. I ordered the frisée aux lardons, a frisée salad with bacon and roquefort croutons. I found my salad to be fresh, simple, and a great mix of crisp, fatty bacon with cool leafy greens. I sampled JK’s escargot and since this was my first taste I have nothing to compare it to, but I found it to be over salted.

For my main course I had to go with onglet a l’echalote aka hangar steak with shallot sauce and pommes frites. Hangar steak is a cut of steak that is quite popular in Europe for its flavor more than its tenderness. My steak was seasoned just right where you know the seasoning is present but it doesn’t overpower the meat. I like my steaks cooked medium to medium-well and I found mine to be just a tad undercooked. Nonetheless, the hangar steak was delicious. The pommes frites were some of the best I’ve had, crispy, perfect amount of potato, well seasoned, all around excellent. Honestly, I think I would go back to Les Halles just for the pommes frites.

I don’t even remember what dessert I ordered because it never showed up. C’est la vie, right?  Because my dessert never came I got to share crepes with Erin. The crepes were made tableside and honestly did taste like the ones I had from a vendor right by the Louvre. C’est bon! I’m pretty sure all three of us thoroughly enjoyed our desserts, which were accompanied by Tattiniger champagne.

Les Halles is great for those nights when you crave “un repas délicieux” at a reasonable price.

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