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Bistro Francais, Chef Gerard Cabrol's Late-Night French on 31st and M Street, Georgetown since 1975 - Closed


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Always enjoyed my meals at BF and will be in the area this evening so I thought I might dine there. Any recent visitors?

I haven't been in years, which is probably why I always get this place confused with Le Madeleine. I prefer Cafe La Ruche and it's fantastic back patio for my middling Georgetowne french food.

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I was at BF a couple times earlier this year for lunch/early dinner. They serve competent and unfussy French food, which is exactly what a French bistro should do. Their specials are always interesting, their wine selection is better than many pricier places, and the service has always been excellent.

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I haven't been in years, which is probably why I always get this place confused with Le Madeleine.  I prefer Cafe La Ruche and it's fantastic back patio for my middling Georgetowne french food.

Actually, I would put Francais well over La Ruche, but I've only been to La Ruche once.

I'd recommend getting to Bistro Francais before 7 (or after 10:30) to get the "Early Bird Special:" soup, entree, dessert and a glass of house wine for twenty bones. Dishes that stick out in my memory are carrot soup, steak tartare, and the rotisserie chicken, but the menu doesn't seem to change much here, so I think it will be pretty similar to what you've experienced in the past.

Bistro Francais

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So, one night about 25 years ago, I was playing poker in a frat house on GW campus and a couple of hot chicks wandered in and, as hot chicks will when confronted with a crew of red-blooded American straight guys paying more attention to the cards that the girls, began flirting shamelessly. I was living on about three dollars a day and probably hadn't kissed a girl in six months and the final pot got up to about 90 bucks, and I told the cuter of the two that if I won, I'd take her to Bistro Francais, which then featured a $19.95 3-course lobster dinner served -- as now - until late.

Lost the hand. Ran into the girl about a year later. Married her. Went to Bistro Francais Sunday night with her for a meal that was substantially more expensive than $19.95 a head bit was pretty damn good. BF is almost part of the scenery these days and, as such, ignored, but it always seems to punch out pretty good meals. I had a lovely pigeon with gaufrettes, the hot chick had a tasty seafood vrepe, the offspring had a decent entrecote and the always swell fries. It ain't cheap, but it's not expensive, either. And the $35 chef's menu is well worth the folding money.

And still open until 3AM.

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This may not help you much (since it's lunch), but I had lunch there two weeks ago. The tuna sandwich was slightly fishy-tasting, but the bread was tasty. Frites served with the sandwich were good. Service left something to be desired; took awhile to be greeted by our server after we were seated, she forgot to bring one of our drinks, and she was generally inattentive throughout the meal. This was my first visit there. I was somewhat underwhelmed.

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This may not help you much (since it's lunch), but I had lunch there two weeks ago. The tuna sandwich was slightly fishy-tasting, but the bread was tasty. Frites served with the sandwich were good. Service left something to be desired; took awhile to be greeted by our server after we were seated, she forgot to bring one of our drinks, and she was generally inattentive throughout the meal. This was my first visit there. I was somewhat underwhelmed.

The thing that really bothers me here is your avatar, which appears to be crooked, sloping downward to the right. I think it might be an optical illusion, but still, this is much worse than seeing a triple-spaced post, and I'm helpless to correct it.

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The family ate there not long ago and, while BF has never been a brilliant establishment, it usually satisfies. This last trip had us wondering why we didn't end up there more often. Stick to the simple stuff -- I agree with Mark, the tartare is always great (better than that which I had this weekend at a Jean-George franchise in the West Village this weekend, if not as cunningly presented). Has a sausange and lentil soup there once that thrilled, as well.

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The thing that really bothers me here is your avatar, which appears to be crooked, sloping downward to the right. I think it might be an optical illusion, but still, this is much worse than seeing a triple-spaced post, and I'm helpless to correct it.
You clearly have not enjoyed enough egg creams.
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The thing that really bothers me here is your avatar, which appears to be crooked, sloping downward to the right. I think it might be an optical illusion, but still, this is much worse than seeing a triple-spaced post, and I'm helpless to correct it.

Downward, and to the right... downward, and to the right.

When I was a little girl dreaming of what post #30 would be like, this is not how I imagined it.

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I was in Georgetown today and decided to give their early bird menu a try. $24.95 for house wine, appetizer, entree, and desert. It was good value and I was happy to find out that the place is actually not that formal and I saw some kids in the restaurant. The house wine was obviously a cheap variety, and too sweet for my liking. The apetitzer was 9 baked mussels in butter and lemon. The flavor was ok, but the mussels were too well done. For entree, I got the Chilean sea bass with leek and crab meat souffle in lobster sauce. The souffle was good while the lobster sauce only had a very faint lobster taste. The fish was still moist, although if I was cooking it at home, I would have had it medium well. The two small boiled potato that came with the entree was bland and waterlogged. The dessert was strawberry tart, while the strawberry was fresh, the tart was swimming in syrup. Everything I tried ranged from passable to it could have been so much better.

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The three of us found ourselves in Georgetown last night. Concerned that we couldn't find a place to eat because of Restaurant Week, I looked up Open Table and saw lots of openings for Bistro Francais. That made me wonder if it was unpopular since plenty of restaurants had no openings. Well, we booked anyway and were glad we did. We all had the Restaurant Week special: husband and I had the onglet with frites. It was delicious. Friend had lamb, also good. Nice starter salads and I had the mussel soup, very tasty. Good chewy bread. Dessert was apple tart, pretty good. Plus a good bottle of wine. They had plenty of wines in our price category ($30s).

My husband and I decided to add it to our rotation if we could manage the parking headaches. The service was great and we felt perfectly comfortable and casual. It is quite a large restaurant and although there were lots of diners and a good vibe, they had many smaller empty tables. I wondered why more people didn't go there. I had gone to La Ruche in the summer and thought that this place trumped that one in all respects.

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17 hours ago, pjnewman said:

The fact that it is always open so late (3 AM, 4 AM on weekends) made it a destination to get real food when a musician friend and I needed a place catch up after a concert when he was visiting the area while on tour.

My friend and I were once there at 3 AM with a Stradivarius just sitting there right next to us.

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I recall this being the first place I had avocado stuffed with shrimp salad.  Weird thing to remember and my visits were never super late at night.  Is it insane to try to have a DR dinner before they close?  (I'm not volunteering to organize. Dear God, I'm not volunteering.  It would be cool, though.)

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1 hour ago, Pat said:

Is it insane to try to have a DR dinner before they close?  (I'm not volunteering to organize. Dear God, I'm not volunteering.  It would be cool, though.)

I think so - the food here now is just not what it was fifteen years ago.

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16 hours ago, DonRocks said:

I think so - the food here now is just not what it was fifteen years ago.

This is sad to hear, but I guess not totally surprising. Bistro Francais was the first restaurant I went too when I moved down here some 16 years ago. Haven't been back in at least five, even though I stay in Georgetown now when back in "town". I will head there one last time in the next few weeks though - at a much earlier hour than in the old days!

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I headed out to Bistro Francais today for a final lunch. Seems like many had the same idea as nearly everyone else in the restaurant spoke with the manager about the closing and mentioned that they were coming in for a last time. I was told that they are closing in two weeks, so seems like on or around 5/21 as initially planned. When did they contract the space? I hadn't been in since the left right side of the dining room was closed subdivided into another store.

Onion soup was mediocre, with a paucity of onions and a light colored broth, as opposed to the darker, thyme-spiked versions that I had enjoyed in years prior. Would have been better served ordering the escargot.

The filet with peppercorn sauce fared better, as the filet was cooked to correct temperature and the sauce was as remembered. The fries were the best part of the meal - hot and perfectly crisp.

I wasn't expecting miracles, just some solid bistro fare. Safe to say that heading to Bistro Francais in these last days is more about nostalgia than cuisine.

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