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Bistro Provence, Fairmont Avenue in Bethesda - Chef Yannick Cam comes from Le Paradou

Bethesda French Bistro Patio

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#1 Waitman

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 04:40 PM

I'll erase this post at some point, but for now, I can't resist poking fun at their nascent website, which is obviously nothing more than a template.

Click and have a chuckle.


Silly website aside, I wonder if will be in the same league as his Provence, which was brilliant.

Mashed potatoes with a ladle of rosemary-infused olive oil where the gravy goes....mmmmmmmmmmmm

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#2 bookluvingbabe

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 09:32 PM

Silly website aside, I wonder if will be in the same league as his Provence, which was brilliant.

Mashed potatoes with a ladle of rosemary-infused olive oil where the gravy goes....mmmmmmmmmmmm


I only ate at Provence once. It was pretty amazing.

Mr. BLB and I were wondering if it might be a bit like Le Jardin. We really liked it back in 2001.

#3 Pool Boy

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 10:59 AM

Just FYI, my office is almost directly across the street. There are more workmen there today doing things than I have seen in a long time. The sign is going up, too.

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#4 joni

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 04:11 PM

Just FYI, my office is almost directly across the street. There are more workmen there today doing things than I have seen in a long time. The sign is going up, too.



#5 joni

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 04:11 PM

What's the location, please?

#6 mnnchas

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 08:46 PM

What's the location, please?

On Fairmont Avenue, across the street from the space that has been YinYankee and Relic in recent memory. A few doors down from Black Finn.

#7 Pool Boy

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 11:17 AM

On Fairmont Avenue, across the street from the space that has been YinYankee and Relic in recent memory. A few doors down from Black Finn.

Correct. It is in a weird tall brownish-purplish brick building that is about 4 stories tall. Right next to a parking garage. On the end closer to Old Georgetown Rd.

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#8 Heathcote

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 12:31 AM

I am so glad you wrote that the website was a template. With the photo of someone not at all resembling Yannick, with a dot org website address instead of a dot com or dot net, and with a menu not worthy of Yannick Cam, not to mention the misspellings all around, I was wondering what had happened! Thank you. BTW, Bistro Provence's address is 4933 Fairmont Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20815, and the phone number and email address that I have had for some time are 301-656-7373 and Suzana9113@gmail.com

#9 annmorse

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 08:41 AM

I love Yannick .. I remember when he first came to DC and opened the fantastic Le Pavillon .. the food was exquisite and beautifully presented .. I also remember when he was in Virginia and prepared a dinner based on the movie, "Babette's Feast" .. it was such a delicious, fun evening and, at the end of the spectacular meal, we noticed that it was snowing outside .. it was a magical!

#10 Pool Boy

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 09:03 AM

Some days nothing seems to be going on in the space, and other days there appears to be further interior activity. When the place opens is still a complete mystery to me.

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#11 Pool Boy

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 09:52 AM

Plumbing contractor trucks have been out there most of this week.

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#12 jml3

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 08:16 PM

Got a phone call a couple of hours ago that Yannick Cam's new place in Bethesda will (finally) open tomorrow night. Hope he cooks at the level he is capable of - Bethesda could use a really good place to eat.

#13 Pool Boy

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 01:32 PM

Got a phone call a couple of hours ago that Yannick Cam's new place in Bethesda will (finally) open tomorrow night. Hope he cooks at the level he is capable of - Bethesda could use a really good place to eat.

I stopped by and stared. There are drapes up and all of the lights are on. I think I even saw tables with linens on them, but I didn't want to walk right up to the window. The parking garage next door is undergoing repair/maintenance, so the sidewalk nearby is a little tricky, but man it is right across the street.

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#14 The Hersch

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 04:29 PM

They don't seem to have put much work into their website yet.

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#15 porcupine

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 02:27 PM

They don't seem to have put much work into their website yet.

Yeah, but at least it doesn't have flash animation.

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#16 jml3

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 06:56 PM

Well, last night was about what might be expected- chaotic! Not all the ingredients to make what was on the carte were delivered, nor all the wines on the list. There was a fair amount of standing around by servers clearly not ready for prime time. The room is rather awkward - long and narrow - six or so tables opposite the noisy bar, and another six or so opposite the kitchen, where Yannick and his crew were also running behind and rather frantic. Not sure how relaxing it was to sit opposite the kitchen at this point. The one thing that looked great was an outside terrace with 12-15 tables - but it was too cold to use it last night.

And the food - up to Yannick's standards, which after all is the point. I had grilled shrimp atop a crepe of fennel and tomatoes ($13.50), then beautifully cooked duck breast with small pieces of turnips and diced olives, nicely sauced ($25.50). Spouse had calamari with mushrooms, gently accented with garlic ($10.50) and monkfish on a delicious (she said) bed of lentils de puy and veggies. ($26.00) The prices may not be correct - they are from my memory - but they are close to accurate.

I'd give them a few days to settle down, but definitely a very welcome addition to Bethesda. Go on a nice evening so you can sit outside.

#17 Pool Boy

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 09:24 AM

They seem to be open for lunch. Also, on Thursday, they had their front sliding door/window things way wide open to take advantage of the gorgeous weather. It looked quite inviting. Still have to decide when to try it out.

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#18 Heathcote

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 04:09 PM

Two recent dinners were mildly disappointing, though perhaps comparing them to the dinners at Le Paradou is a bit unfair. I think Yannick Cam is at his best when creating appetizers and my dinners at Le Paradou usually consisted of multiple appetizers in the bar area until he allowed a la carte ordering in the dining room. Though good, the several appetizers I tried were not up to my expectations. Let me explain by example. The crab cakes, which I shared, were very good but there was nothing that made me swoon as did his lobster purses at Le Paradou. The first night, I had to return the salmon, ordered rare, because it was fully cooked. They were gracious and the service was lovely. I look forward to when they open upstairs, which I was told would have a price point somewhere between Bistro Provence and Le Paradou. My hope is that the appetizers will be as stunning as they were at Le Paradou.

In the nearer future, I am looking forward to the three reservations I have at Adour during Restaurant Week and RW Extended; I have always had remarkable dinners there!

#19 DonRocks

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 10:41 AM

Just FYI, my office is almost directly across the street. There are more workmen there today doing things than I have seen in a long time. The sign is going up, too.

Correct. It is in a weird tall brownish-purplish brick building that is about 4 stories tall. Right next to a parking garage. On the end closer to Old Georgetown Rd.

Some days nothing seems to be going on in the space, and other days there appears to be further interior activity. When the place opens is still a complete mystery to me.

Plumbing contractor trucks have been out there most of this week.

I stopped by and stared. There are drapes up and all of the lights are on. I think I even saw tables with linens on them, but I didn't want to walk right up to the window. The parking garage next door is undergoing repair/maintenance, so the sidewalk nearby is a little tricky, but man it is right across the street.

They seem to be open for lunch. Also, on Thursday, they had their front sliding door/window things way wide open to take advantage of the gorgeous weather. It looked quite inviting. Still have to decide when to try it out.

There's been a couple of fire/rescue trucks outside the restaurant this morning for the last hour or so. No smoke that I can see, but I wonder what's up.

And your next post will be about YOUR MEAL there, right? :(

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#20 JMac

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 05:19 PM

There's been a couple of fire/rescue trucks outside the restaurant this morning for the last hour or so. No smoke that I can see, but I wonder what's up.

I stopped by and talked to Chef Cam's wife. She did not know what I was talking about. The emergency vehicles do not seem to have been for Bistro Provence. They are open.

Cheers!

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#21 susan

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 10:13 PM

Had the most delicious chestnut soup tonight at Bistro Provence in Bethesda, I think it might be the best I've ever had. Also ordered the squab which was cooked to perfection, followed by almond stuffed crepes for dessert. Service was prompt and professional. I just wanted to remind everyone about this place since I don't see much notice of it. It is a real pleasure to have here in Bethesda. We are fortunate.

#22 bookluvingbabe

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 06:52 PM

I keep meaning to get over there but I haven't. Mr. BLB and I really loved his Le Jardin back in the early 2000s. And a meal I had at Provence in 1996 was probably the second bets meal I had in the 90s. (Dinner at Citrus, also in 1996 tops my list.)

Anyone know how child friendly Bistro Provence is?

#23 Popover

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 07:19 PM

I ate there recently and I would not consider it a kid-friendly restaurant. I don't believe they even have a kids menu (although I didn't actually look for one). The tables are very close together and it's a small, intimate space so unless your kids are exceptionally well behaved and quiet they would be conspicuous and I'm guessing not particularly appreciated by other patrons. The majority of the people eating around us were more mature couples and the restaurant has a far more upscale and formal feel to it than the word "bistro" would suggest.

BTW we had a really great meal there, just excellent. The only criticism was that our waitress openly admitted that she didn't know anything about the food or wine (and it showed).

#24 bookluvingbabe

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 08:16 PM

I ate there recently and I would not consider it a kid-friendly restaurant. I don't believe they even have a kids menu (although I didn't actually look for one). The tables are very close together and it's a small, intimate space so unless your kids are exceptionally well behaved and quiet they would be conspicuous and I'm guessing not particularly appreciated by other patrons. The majority of the people eating around us were more mature couples and the restaurant has a far more upscale and formal feel to it than the word "bistro" would suggest.

BTW we had a really great meal there, just excellent. The only criticism was that our waitress openly admitted that she didn't know anything about the food or wine (and it showed).

Thanks.

I don't sweat the kids menu. If there are mussels, he's happy. I had forgotten it is open for lunch so perhaps I will go solo one day.

#25 MC Horoscope

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 10:04 PM

We went for our first time this evening, a Wednesday. No reservations. Got there at 6:15 and were lucky to be seated. There were two large parties waiting to be seated and some others who had reservations, I guess. I would reserve a table next time.

It IS small and loud. You ARE close to your neighbors. But the service was very good. Our waiter gave us good suggestions for dessert (a rum-soaked baba with roasted pineapple and creme fraiche).

The menu was larger than we expected. The tasting menu (4 courses for $68) was tempting. Chestnut soup, scallops, squab, and a crepe for dessert. Both of us would have had to get it. I would try it another night. Wasn't ready for it tonight.

There must have been over a dozen specials of the day. From that list of specials we had an appetizer of foie gras, which was delicious if a bit pricey at $26. Came with marinated plums in some kind of wine reduction. Outstanding! I expected the plums to be tart but they were sweet. Other specials included veal chop, rack of lamb, duck confit, boudin blanc, escargot, lobster bisque. Others I can't remember.

The regular menu had several fish dishes: whole branzino, roasted Dorade, grilled salmon, roasted monkfish with lentils, sea bass, bouillabaisse. Meat choices included hangar steak, NY strip, roast chicken. My wife had the monkfish and I had the Dorade, which came with a wonderful potato gratin dish with parmesan cheese, toasted well on the exterior. That was probably the best part of my entree. I don't know how it would compare with the potato dish mentioned upthread from the chef's previous restaurant, but I think I would try potato dishes here again. Didn't notice if potato was on the list of vegetable side dishes you could choose for sharing family style. Wish I could do that potato dish justice in my description!

I hope this place does well!

#26 Pork Belly

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 12:46 PM

Lovely dinner last night in the courtyard. Had not been there since the chaotic opening weeks when the place was clearly overwhelmed by the crowds. No evidence of those problems now, service was warm, efficient and accommodating, and the food ranged from very good to excellent. My wife ordered the bouillabaisse, which is an amazing rendition, with a depth of flavor that had me reaching my spoon over again and again. There is some sticker shock when you sit down -- no sign of a recession here -- and the menu if anything contains too many choices (12-15 special apps and an equal number of special entrees in addition to the regular menu). But the bouillabaisse is a relative bargain at 28 bucks and then you can focus on the apps (I had the morel soup with mini crab cake to start and it was terrific; this guy clearly has a way with soups).

#27 Roberto Donna

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 10:09 PM

Lovely dinner last night in the courtyard. Had not been there since the chaotic opening weeks when the place was clearly overwhelmed by the crowds. No evidence of those problems now, service was warm, efficient and accommodating, and the food ranged from very good to excellent. My wife ordered the bouillabaisse, which is an amazing rendition, with a depth of flavor that had me reaching my spoon over again and again. There is some sticker shock when you sit down -- no sign of a recession here -- and the menu if anything contains too many choices (12-15 special apps and an equal number of special entrees in addition to the regular menu). But the bouillabaisse is a relative bargain at 28 bucks and then you can focus on the apps (I had the morel soup with mini crab cake to start and it was terrific; this guy clearly has a way with soups).

You are talking about the work of one of the best chef in this area!!!! Chef that cooks serius good food !

#28 Pork Belly

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 04:52 AM

You are talking about the work of one of the best chef in this area!!!! Chef that cooks serius good food !

Totally agree that Yannick Cam is one of our finest chefs. That's the whole reason I went there and posted what I thought was a pretty glowing review. If I gave the impression I didn't know who was cooking for me, nothing could be further from the truth -- the sight of Yannick cooking in the open kitchen when I walked in gave me goose bumps.

#29 Lori Gardner

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 11:03 PM

No one has posted about Bistro Provence for quite some time, so thought I would give an update. I was there recently and fell in love with the bouillabaisse. I am always saying that there is no where really good to go in Bethesda, but this one dish has given me a new perspective. It was close to brilliant- chock full of sea scallops, shrimp, and sea bass. The seafood is plentiful and perfectly cooked. But it is the broth that distinguishes this dish with notes of pernod and fennel. Each dip of the spoon brings forth something just a little bit different than the taste that comes before it. The memory makes me want to immediately head back to Bistro Provence for more.

I will say that service was a little stiff and our waiter seemed to lose patience with us as we took our time picking our wine and we didn't order dessert. It's loud and it's expensive. But I can't say enough good things about the bouillabaisse and this one dish makes it all worthwhile.

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#30 Pork Belly

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 08:40 PM

This place should get more love than it does. Had a wonderful dinner there tonight. My wife had the asparagus salad with quali egg and the Bronzino entree; I had the clam app and the bouillabaisse; my sister-in-law had a spectacular halibut with fennel purée and wild mushrooms. We shared the tea-infused creme brûlée for dessert. Everything was cooked perfectly. What makes it really special is that Yannick is there, day-in, day-out working the line and checking every dish that goes out. The maitre d said that if Yannick isnt there cooking, they don't open. That's a personal commitment. True, it may not be the most challenging food. But there's also a reason that the classics are the classics. In the hands of a master, they're hard to beat.
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#31 Pool Boy

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 03:30 PM

Went late last summer for lunch. I was seated back near the kitchen so got to watch Yanick do his thing which was fun. Food was very good. An expensive lunch though. Lunch crowd is generally pretty light from what I have seen walking by though. Good to very good food, but it did not wow me. That said, one visit does not always an impression make.


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