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La Chaumiere, Classic French Cooking in Georgetown


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Didn't see a thread on this oldie so I thought I'd chime in.

Charming, cozy space with a fireplace in the middle. Especially lovely on a winter night.

Reservations for 7 p.m. Saturday, party of two. A big group of patrons (at least 20), all of whom had reservations, were told that we'd be seated all at the same time "once the early wave left." My companion and I were finally seated at 7:30.

Delays are understandable...but our server, though very kind, kept forgetting about us. We ordered wine at 7:40 and didn't receive it until 8:05. In the interest of time, we skipped first course and went on to entrees.

I had marinated salmon in puff pastry (in a delicious dill sauce) with broccoli and mashed potatoes; my friend had beef medallions with the same sides. (I contemplated venison, but wasn't willing to shell out that much cash in a place that wasn't impressing me with service or efficiency.) We both enjoyed the food immensely but were a bit put off with the delays and our server's forgetfulness.

Dessert: I had a heavenly chocolate mousse with tia maria; he had profiteroles. Again, both excellent. The mousse was the perfect creamy texture and the perfect chilled temperature.

After another long wait for the check, we left at about 9:30. Two and a half hours for two courses and a bottle of wine? I know we were out the busiest night of the week in a popular area, but still...

I would return for the food, on a weeknight. I wanted to like this place more than I did. But overall a good, new experience.

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So funny! I was there Friday night for the first time ever and was looking for a thread to post. Glad you started one!

We had 8:30 reservations and a party of six. The place was completely packed, but we were seated right away and service was excellent the whole meal. Never had to wait for a drink or anything else for that matter.

I started with a spinach/beet/roquefort/walnut salad followed by a fricassee of lobster and shrimp served over risotto with black trumpet mushrooms. Dessert for me was profiteroles, but I had some of my husband's warm apple tart (divine) and my friend's chocolate souffle (very good).

I loved the atmosphere of La Chaumiere. So cozy and I probably would never have gone had my friend not made the reservations. I am glad I tried it!

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I really like La Chaumiere now more than ever. It was bought this past summer by Patrick Orange, the chef of many years, and Martin Lumet, a friend of mine from the wine world. It has the last classic French menu in the entire city. You can still get Quenelle de Brochet, Crab en Chemise, Vol au Vent, Sole Meuniere, Piccata de Veau. All the classics. I am devoted to the veal liver (Foie de Veau) with shallots. The baked oysters were ENORMOUS when I had them 3 days ago. La Chaumiere is the best kept secret in Georgetown. For a real time warp experience: if you look closely at lunch, you can still see people having martinis before lunch and Cognac after.

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I really like La Chaumiere now more than ever. It was bought this past summer by Patrick Orange, the chef of many years, and Martin Lumet, a friend of mine from the wine world. It has the last classic French menu in the entire city. You can still get Quenelle de Brochet, Crab en Chemise, Vol au Vent, Sole Meuniere, Piccata de Veau. All the classics. I am devoted to the veal liver (Foie de Veau) with shallots. The baked oysters were ENORMOUS when I had them 3 days ago. La Chaumiere is the best kept secret in Georgetown. For a real time warp experience: if you look closely at lunch, you can still see people having martinis before lunch and Cognac after.

This is excellent news -- well, not news, I guess, since it's months old. Time for a revisit.

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Aha. Anyhow, Patrick, one of the new owners, has been the chef there for the last 16 years.

I like Patrick not only because of his food, but because he was kind enough to share a recipe for saucisse du Toulouse with me so I could try my own cassoulet. A classy guy.

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Stopped into La Chaumiere last night for dinner before a friend's party in Georgetown. It might be a little too cozy for my tastes -- I almost felt obliged to introduce myself to the people seated at the next table, since we were so close to them. The food was serviceable. I had a beef wellington, which was good, although not in puff pastry as our waiter had informed us. Spouse Phor had a lamb dish which was also decent. But the food service was very slow -- we were seated for a full hour before any food arrived at our table. Verdict: for the money, there are a dozen other places across the city that I would have rather tried.

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Really interesting post since I consider this place a treasure for this area. I haven't been in a few months and, perhaps, this is a call to return. I don't know about the tables being too close; for myself this really FELT like France on our several previous visits. If, in fact, this has lost as much as the previous person believes it will be a real loss to our city. La Chaumiere was, indeed, special for many, many years.

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We ate here a month or two back. Like one of the previous posters, we had a larger party (8) and we were seated right away. We received excellent service. We were seated upstairs with several larger parties, so I can't speak to the crowding downstairs. Our food was also fantastic (I had the cassoulet). La Chaumiere is frequently referred to as a hidden gem, although I feel like everyone knows about it. It was my first time there, and I will most certainly be back. It was the best relaxed French meal I've had in the City.

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It has been far too long since we last dined here. So we took the opportunity of a rare day off to celebrate Bastille day with a late lunch at La Chaumiere. We had quenelles de brochet, wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, fricasee de pecheur, and blueberry tartlette. Everything was wonderful. The quenelles alone were worth the price of admission. They have a New Zealand pinot noir (Maven) by the glass that complemented our food nicely. There are so many appealing items on the menu that it was hard to decide what to order. Must go back for cassoulet on a Thursday when the weather turns chilly.

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It has been far too long since we last dined here. So we took the opportunity of a rare day off to celebrate Bastille day with a late lunch at La Chaumiere. We had quenelles de brochet, wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, fricasee de pecheur, and blueberry tartlette. Everything was wonderful. The quenelles alone were worth the price of admission. They have a New Zealand pinot noir (Maven) by the glass that complemented our food nicely. There are so many appealing items on the menu that it was hard to decide what to order. Must go back for cassoulet on a Thursday when the weather turns chilly.

I had lunch there today, too, and nothing could be faulted. Extremely friendly service, bisque, the house oysters, crab salad. Everything was delicious.

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Last night La Chaumiere was jam-packed and bustling, with an older, neighborhood crowd having arrived from their townhomes in Georgetown, mobbing the place, and enjoying some of the best classical French cooking in Washington, DC.

I've been to La Chaumiere perhaps a dozen times over the years, but never has the Quenelle de Brochet ($9.95) been better than it was last night, the large pike dumpling at just the right consistency and temperature, and the lobster sauce just begging to coat each cylinder you slice of the quenelle. This dish, especially when cooked like it was last night, is one of the great culinary treasures of our city.

Terrine Maison ($7.95) was just the palate wake-up you wanted after the rich quenelle, a moist, coarse grind with cornichons and just a touch of creamy vinaigrette on the large leaves of green.

Nowhere in this city will you find a Dodine of Pheasant ($25.50) (or a dodine of anything else) that's cooked and presented in the elevated manner that La Chaumiere's was last night. Artfully presented with a medley of sauteed wild mushrooms, sweet & sour cranberry sauce, and sweet dumpling squash, all on a very thin pool of herb-infused, stock-based gravy, this was an early Thanksgiving present from La Chaumiere that was every bit the equal of a dish you'd expect on Thanksgiving day at Corduroy. This dish was a triumph in every way, and even the deceptively simple floret of broccoli was well-cooked and served purpose as more than just garnish.

And kudos to La Chaumiere for carrying the torch of Tripes a la Mode de Caen ($17.25) for so many years. This rich, gutteral dish cries out for a good, hearty red wine, with the long-braised tripe in a hot, clay bowl with a dark, Calvados-based sauce with a kick to it. Like the Quenelle and the Terrine, this is something that I've tried several times here over the years, and never has it been better than it was last night. The heavily reduced broth never once showed a layer of fat as it cooled and sank down into the bowl, because it was skimmed with great care during the cooking process.

The lesson in classical French presentation continued with dessert, and both the Tarte aux Pommes ($9.25) and Chocolate Souffle ($10.75) with a pitcher of impressively thickened vanilla sauce, a sauce that takes patience and time, were shining examples of these traditional desserts. One knock is that the scoop of vanilla ice cream atop the tarte was (I'm almost certain) Haagen-Dazs, which has a very distinct, doughy aroma; a little of the vanilla sauce from the souffle worked much better with this.

I have no recent memory of perfectly cooked classical French cuisine, although I know it when I see it, since I've had it many times in the past. Last night at La Chaumiere, I saw it from start to finish in a glorious testament to the high art of French cooking.

This was the best meal I've ever had at La Chaumiere, a restaurant that has been inexplicably forgotten by the mainstream press, with a kitchen that is firing on all cylinders right now. La Chaumiere may currently be the most underrated restaurant in the entire Washington, DC area.

If I dined every night like I dined last night, I'd be a blimp, but a very happy blimp: Every week, I'd hover over golf tournaments and football games with a big smile on my face.

Cheers,

Rocks.

P.S. For now, I've moved La Chaumiere above Hook in the Georgetown section of the Dining Guide.

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Five of us took to La Chaumiere on the day after to celebrate the Changing of the Guard, thinking that we'd find ourselves surrounded by the same Georgetown cocktail-conservatives who were denounced by John McCain for being mean to Sarah Palin and indeed the room was full of the type of cave-dwellers who seem to have put down Georgetown roots about the time Julia Child moved out of the neighborhood and stayed on to become quietly affluent in the intervening decades. God love them -- a room full of people who still dress properly for a decent meal. Of course my compatriots, perhaps unaware of irony of porting Socialist-wear into so refined an environment brought the general level of sophistication down a notch what with their campaign regalia and jeans, a situation which we attempted to remedy by ordering champagne right off and which seemed to faze our (apparently leftist) hostess not at all.

Without going into detail -- much of which I seem to have forgotten -- I have now made the Quenelles-Cervelles combination my own personal "surf and turf" and found both the brains and the pike to be quite scrumptious, though possibly not what a gout-sufferer should be washing back with copious quantities of red wine. The service remained efficient and discreet in the face of what was surely a challenging experience for them, and I left, as I always do, swearing to return more often.

A brilliant gem and -- as the weather chills -- especially welcoming on a winter's eve.

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Had dinner here for Bastille Day. Kicking myself for having not dined there for (exactly) one year. Service and food were both excellent (quenelles, caprese salad, red snapper, beef tornados). They were busy and everyone around us seemed equally happy. We really must return before another year goes by and sample the tripe and casoulet. Softshells were one of the specials -- might have to go back before the season is over. Free valet parking at the Four Seasons is a nice perk.

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Last night La Chaumiere was jam-packed and bustling, with an older, neighborhood crowd having arrived from their townhomes in Georgetown, mobbing the place, and enjoying some of the best classical French cooking in Washington, DC.

This was the best meal I've ever had at La Chaumiere, a restaurant that has been inexplicably forgotten by the mainstream press, with a kitchen that is firing on all cylinders right now. La Chaumiere may currently be the most underrated restaurant in the entire Washington, DC area.

I completely agree about La Chaumiere being under rated. I've eaten there dozens of times over the years mostly with out-of-town relatives who love the ambiance, and have had consistently excellent experiences. Most recently, I was there for a business lunch yesterday. The place was completely packed, which I was happy to see. My client had the pumpkin soup, steak minute with pommes frites, and the chocolate soufflee. I had the same thing except for the soup (I had the French onion soup). It was a fabulous, leisurely meal with the soufflee being the highlight. I highly recommend La Chaumiere to anyone who appreciates classic French cuisine at a reasonable price. Am pleased to see that it's on the list for January Restaurant Week.

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Lunch here yesterday was wonderful. I can't resist the quenelle de brochet, which I ordered as an appetizer -- didn't leave a drop of the lobster sauce behind, cleaning the dish with a slice of good baguette. Tried the tripes a la mode de Caen for the first time -- one of the best stews I've ever had. SO's mahi mahi with lemon-butter sauce, smashed potatos, carrots and baby bok choy was cooked perfectly, the center of the fillet just a touch on the pink side. This is still my go-to spot for French comfort food when I want something a little more haute than bistro fare.

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The last time we at at La Chaumiere there were two strong negatives. One was a completely boring and almost institutional Caesar Salad. OK, I know it's not the best thing to order as a starter, but if you're going to offer it, at least make it properly.

The second was that we were seated (and as you know, the seating in there is tight) next to perhaps the most obnoxious diner I've encountered in DC. Loud, boorish, rude to the servers. It was so completely distracting that I couldn't wait to get out of there. I know that's not the restaurant's fault, but the place was crowded and so we couldn't ask to be seated. The tables were so close together that we had to grab onto our table when they were seated because as the lady made her way to her chair she (a thin, trying very hard not to crowd lady) had to lean against our table. So when the a$$hat began to pontificate, it was like he was talking to our table, too.

And on our visit prior to the last visit, we were seated (along the same wall) next to a woman who spent her entire meal breating her dining companion (a women of similar age and wardrobe) about her bad choices in life.

And on a visit prior to THAT one, the server dumped a glass of wine on someone in our party (hey, it happens). But the server fawned all over the person at the next table, who was barely affected, while my friend, who was soaked, had to ask for a new napkin and a replacement glass of wine.

The quenelles are divine, but I think something about this place is jinxed for me.

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On ‎5‎/‎21‎/‎2014 at 1:58 PM, dwt said:

La Chaumiere -- solidly in the "what's new to say?" category. Can't believe it's approaching 40 years old.

I walked by last week and the printed menu had Dover Sole at $42.   That's way less than any place else I can think of.

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Took the kids to see GLOW and then dinner at my old neighborhood bistro.  The foie terrine was good.  The quenelle better than I remembered.  At first, it’s fishy but it mellows out after a few bites.  The tripe calvados just needed a pinch more salt and more tripe.  If you paid over $20 for tripe at a chinese joint, you probably get a whole stomach.. The steak au poivre was cooked well but the quality of the meat didn’t seem to match the price ($40).  Warm service, and relatively quiet even with a full house.  No cell phone use allowed and not many clients under 50.

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2 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

Took the kids to see GLOW and then dinner at my old neighborhood bistro.  The foie terrine was good.  The quenelle better than I remembered.  At first, it’s fishy but it mellows out after a few bites.  The tripe calvados just needed a pinch more salt and more tripe.  If you paid over $20 for tripe at a chinese joint, you probably get a whole stomach.. The steak au poivre was cooked well but the quality of the meat didn’t seen to match the price ($40).  Warm service, and relatively quiet even with a full house.  No cell phone use allowed and not many clients under 50.

I was here six months ago, and it was as good as ever. I'm sorry for the poor quality of the photos, but this is exactly what the dishes were:

Their classic Quenelles de Brochet:

IMG_2261.jpg

A whole Dover Sole, split

IMG_2263.jpg

Grand Marnier Souffle

IMG_2264.jpg

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This restaurant doesn't get enough love. It's my go to place in the entire dc metro place for really exceptional rack of lamb. I also love the Oysters Chaumiere, I remember the first time I had it with a friend who thinks he doesn't like ginger. It has ginger and hazelnuts and is delicious. Now it's a given to order it. Love this place. The souffle is great but love the profiteroles even more. This place never disappoints. It is consistently good, all the time. Never been "bruised" here.

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Well, here I am again gushing about my favorite restaurant in Georgetown. My friend and I went to celebrate not only our recent vaccinations, but also his 81st and my 69th birthdays. As mandated by the District, seating is reduced, so no crowding. We had the front room all to ourselves. Martin, as always, was very welcoming. Henri, our captain whom I've known for about 30 years, was on point as usual. I never dine here without starting with the wonderful Oysters Chaumiere- super plump baked oysters with spinach, hazelnuts and very light cream sauce. For a fish course, I had the best soft shell crab I can remember having in years. Simple, sauteed with lemon butter. Couldn't have been better. For mains, I had a craving for veal. The special of the evening were Grenadins de Veau au Porto. It was accompanied by copious amount of wild mushrooms. I found it very satisfying. We passed on the souffles and instead chose creme brulee and chocolate cake (no candles, no singing!!). Martin invited me to bring Skippy, my canine companion, but it was past his bedtime. Skippy retires at 7PM for the night. He missed some stellar table scraps. 

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22 minutes ago, Mark Slater said:

Well, here I am again gushing about my favorite restaurant in Georgetown. My friend and I went to celebrate not only our recent vaccinations, but also his 81st and my 69th birthdays. As mandated by the District, seating is reduced, so no crowding. We had the front room all to ourselves. Martin, as always, was very welcoming. Henri, our captain whom I've known for about 30 years, was on point as usual. I never dine here without starting with the wonderful Oysters Chaumiere- super plump baked oysters with spinach, hazelnuts and very light cream sauce. For a fish course, I had the best soft shell crab I can remember having in years. Simple, sauteed with lemon butter. Couldn't have been better. For mains, I had a craving for veal. The special of the evening were Grenadins de Veau au Porto. It was accompanied by copious amount of wild mushrooms. I found it very satisfying. We passed on the souffles and instead chose creme brulee and chocolate cake (no candles, no singing!!). Martin invited me to bring Skippy, my canine companion, but it was past his bedtime. Skippy retires at 7PM for the night. He missed some stellar table scraps. 

I never made it past the Quenelles for an appetizer.  Always meant to try other things, but then they just called me - softly, subtly, but oh so nicely.

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The lamb chops here are my gold standard. Always perfectly cooked with a fabulous sauce. In fact, everything in this restaurant is consistently great, I've never ever been disappointed in a dish. They must have wonderful quality control in the kitchen. The Oysters Chaumiere is one of my favorite dishes to start a meal.

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