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Bastille, Chef Christophe Poteaux Reopen in Old Town Near Braddock Road Metro


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From: The List, Are You On It.

Christophe Poteaux, currently Executive Chef / Food & Beverage Director for Aquarelle at The Watergate, will open this new restaurant in Old Town Alexandria by September, featuring a moderately priced, modern French/Mediterranean cuisine with a blend of world ingredients.

So does anyone know where and when this is going to open?

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From: The List, Are You On It.

Christophe Poteaux, currently Executive Chef / Food & Beverage Director for Aquarelle at The Watergate, will open this new restaurant in Old Town Alexandria by September, featuring a moderately priced, modern French/Mediterranean cuisine with a blend of world ingredients.

So does anyone know where and when this is going to open?

And, does this mean that all the rumors we have been hearing about the Watergate getting a new restaurant are more or less true?

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And, does this mean that all the rumors we have been hearing about the Watergate getting a new restaurant are more or less true?

Well, they are losing their chef and Bastille is supposed to be opening in Old Town Alexandria which isn't exactly at the Watergate...some changes are coming.

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More from The List Are You On It:

The new restaurant from talented chef Christophe Poteaux and equally as talented pastry chef Michelle Garbee (both currently of Aquarelle in the Watergate Hotel), Bastille opens its doors in Old Town Alexandria September 2006. Look for a cozy a wine bar in the centuries-old tradition of the small restaurant that you find in any small town in any wine-growing region in France. Christophe promises "bold flavors, rich and exciting plate offerings...but also a sophisticated and romantic setting for a night out or for a refined wine dinner, without paying the exorbitant price of a fancy white tablecloth restaurant." (1201 N. Royal Street, Alexandria, VA)

So now we know where it's going to be....

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More from The List Are You On It:

So now we know where it's going to be....

 

That has to be up there by the Royal Restaurant, North Old Town.

EETA: Royal Restaurant is in the 700 block of St. Asaph. This place is over two blocks and up another five blocks. Is it over there where Smoot Lumber used to be?

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That has to be up there by the Royal Restaurant, North Old Town.

EETA: Royal Restaurant is in the 700 block of St. Asaph. This place is over two blocks and up another five blocks. Is it over there where Smoot Lumber used to be?

Looks like it's going to replace Cafe Marianna. Here's the location mapped out.

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This is the space where Cafe Mariana is, on Royal street next to the Metro Stage theater. Royal Restaurant is on Saint Asaph street, a few blocks over to the west.

I'm a little puzzled as to why they took this space, what with it being right next to the train line and the Mirant plant and no view of the water. There will be no walk-ins. The neighborhood already has an (Italian) wine bar down the street at A La Lucia which I have yet to see packed, but certainly hope to. And this is but one of several new restaurants by an established chef or restaurant group opening in Old Town this year: Indigo Landing, Rustico, Eamonn's, 100 King, a sister restaurant of Boulevard Woodgrill moving in, and now Morou moving into the old Blue Point Grill space (and before them, Eve and Vermillon). That said, I look forward to trying this place and all the others. More competition is just what we need to get rid of the many middling joints catering to tourists (which are only here for a few months of the year anyways) and start focusing on building up a loyal, local clientele.

Unfortunately, none of them will be as good as Eve. :)

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Went by last night and the banner outside says "Opening September 5, 2006" and the renovations inside appear to be minimal (i.e. no structural changes to the building are apparent). I'm going by for a closer look (in daylight) today.

Cafe Marianna was in the minimalist column when it came to decor. Maybe Bastille plans on opening and then morphing into a "classy joint" over the next couple of months.

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Bastille was one of the new restaurants mentioned in an article titled "Chefs Check In" from today's Wall Street Journal (subscription required). While the article focuses on big-time chefs opening outposts in hotels (with tough performance/attendance clauses in their contracts), it describes Bastille in a text box along with other new restarants around the country (e.g., BLT in DC):

Chef Christophe Poteaux calls his food Franco-Mediterranean - not fusion cooking, but a blend of similar regional tastes. One example: steak with pommes frites and long-pepper sauce with a touch of chocolate. Entrees $16-$25. 703-519-3776

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Went by last night and the banner outside says "Opening September 5, 2006" and the renovations inside appear to be minimal (i.e. no structural changes to the building are apparent). I'm going by for a closer look (in daylight) today.

 

According to today's "Daily Candy" and the restaurant's website, Bastille is opening today. Lunch and dinner, weekend brunch, a variety of soups, salads, small plates, and entrees. They also have a pre-theater menu (Metro Stage is next door) and a chef's tasting menu.

As a French major, I'm not sure what to think about a supposed French joint that misspells pommes frittes [sic] (it's frites!) - consistently in every mention on the menu. For now, I'll chalk it up to a non-French speaking web designer tongue.gif

Perhaps Capitol Icebox will provide a first-hand confirmation/report sometime soon wink.gif

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According to today's "Daily Candy" and the restaurant's website, Bastille is opening today. Lunch and dinner, weekend brunch, a variety of soups, salads, small plates, and entrees. They also have a pre-theater menu (Metro Stage is next door) and a chef's tasting menu.

As a French major, I'm not sure what to think about a supposed French joint that misspells pommes frittes [sic] (it's frites!) - consistently in every mention on the menu. For now, I'll chalk it up to a non-French speaking web designer tongue.gif

Perhaps Capitol Icebox will provide a first-hand confirmation/report sometime soon wink.gif

UPDATE

Today (Sept. 6), the "List" has emailed an opening date of Sept. 20....although the restaurant website still says Sept. 5 - who knows!?

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i'm not sure if they are open yet, but i have been invited to a complimentary preview lunch there, this friday. i am assuming they aren't open and this is a soft opening. i'll let you know how it goes (if i make it).

I wandered by last night and they are definitely open. I didn't go in, but there were quite a few people dining. They have a lot of patio seating (all empty when I saw it) which should make for some nice al fresco dining if the current (beautiful) weather continues.

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I wandered by last night and they are definitely open. I didn't go in, but there were quite a few people dining. They have a lot of patio seating (all empty when I saw it) which should make for some nice al fresco dining if the current (beautiful) weather continues.

From what I heard last night, they're still in the soft opening stage and won't officially open until the 24th. That came from someone in the business. YMMV.

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From what I heard last night, they're still in the soft opening stage and won't officially open until the 24th. That came from someone in the business. YMMV.

They're definitely open -- Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. The floorplan is very similar to what was there during the Mariana days, but the room has been updated with new tables and chairs, a paint job, seats at the bar, and plenty of drapes. I'm hoping to check out the cooking in the near future. There was no menu posted, unfortunately.

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They're definitely open -- Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. The floorplan is very similar to what was there during the Mariana days, but the room has been updated with new tables and chairs, a paint job, seats at the bar, and plenty of drapes. I'm hoping to check out the cooking in the near future. There was no menu posted, unfortunately.

But most importantly, have they put a carpet on the floor so your feet won't freeze when Winter comes? And are the tchotchkes no longer hanging from the ceiling? And where did they hang those drapes? There were only 3 windows (okay, maybe 4) to start with...are they hung randomly around the room? Mariana wasn't much of an architectural masterpiece to start with so any improvement will be huge, I just have problems picturing the room any differently than my (slightly distorted?) memory.

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Decided to check out Bastille this evening.

Service was kind of lousy. Took a few minutes to be acknowledged at the door and the waiter was rarely around. I think the service will improve though as time passes.

Wine list was pretty good. Had a few different French choices, quite a few Portuguese wines and several choices by the glass.

Dinner menu is split. There is a tasting menu option which we did not get. There is also the standard appetizer, entree menu.

We chose two starters. I had the soup of the day which was a Potato and Leek soup. Wife had the Hot and Cold Fois Gras. The soup was excellent. I asked the waiter about the soup and he said it was not really a cream soup. However, when it came out it was clearly a cream soup. Anyhow, the soup had a very nice leek flavor and was very good. No complaints.

As for the Foie Gras appetizer - it was superb. First off, for $9, the portion was huge. We were not expecting much and we were surprised. The Foie was served on a rectangular plate, one side the hot Foie and the other side the cold. In the middle was a fig mixture. The cold Foie was very tasty. A nice piece of it served on a piece of crusty bread. The hot Foie was superb. Perfectly cooked and very tasty. If you like Foie, definitely order this.

For Entrees my wife ordered the Halibut and I ordered the Duck entree. The Halibut was very fresh and perfectly cooked. It was simply prepared with salt and pepper. The fish was served over a very nice lemon/herb risotto which went well with the fish. It was also served with a Tomato/Orange Marmalade. The Marmalade was pretty bad. It was extremely bitter and didn't go so well with the fish and risotto. We asked the waiter what it was, and he mentioned it should have been a nice slightly sweet flavor. Oh well - my wife kicked the marmalade to the side.

The duck was amazing. One of the best duck dishes i've had around and I eat duck fairly often. First, the duck was perfectly cooked medium rare as ordered. The skin was crisp and the duck was very flavorful and tender. The mushroom sauce on the duck was very nice as well - sweet but not overpowering. The endive were good. If you like duck, i'd recommend ordering this dish.

For dessert, my wife and I shared the creme brulee. It was very eggy and not the best I've had. I like a creme brulee that has the sugar on top freshly caramelized so the hot sugar interacts with the cold custard. This tasted as if it was prepared on another day. They were out of the fruit tartin which we really wanted for dessert. The diners next to us had the last one and said it was excellent.

If Fois Gras and duck is your thing, definitely check out Bastille.

Overall, we enjoyed our meal and i'll definitely be back.

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But most importantly, have they put a carpet on the floor so your feet won't freeze when Winter comes? And are the tchotchkes no longer hanging from the ceiling? And where did they hang those drapes? There were only 3 windows (okay, maybe 4) to start with...are they hung randomly around the room? Mariana wasn't much of an architectural masterpiece to start with so any improvement will be huge, I just have problems picturing the room any differently than my (slightly distorted?) memory.

1. No carpet on the floor. Why would this make your feet freeze, though? Do you dine barefoot?

2. No more tchotckes, I'm afraid.

3. There are drapes on the windows, and some along the opposite wall if I recall correctly.

4. The room doesn't look that different if you've been to Mariana. It is more of an improvement to what they had than a complete transformation.

Adam23, thanks for the detailed review. What were the prices of the entrees? How was the pricing on the wine? I will be stopping by in the near future to try that foie.

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1. No carpet on the floor. Why would this make your feet freeze, though? Do you dine barefoot?

2. No more tchotckes, I'm afraid.

3. There are drapes on the windows, and some along the opposite wall if I recall correctly.

4. The room doesn't look that different if you've been to Mariana. It is more of an improvement to what they had than a complete transformation.

Adam23, thanks for the detailed review. What were the prices of the entrees? How was the pricing on the wine? I will be stopping by in the near future to try that foie.

Entrees were $16-25. Risotto was cheapest @ 16, chicken was $18, scallops and halibut were 21, duck 25. Apps were $6-7 except the Foie. Beers were $5-6. Wine by the glass was $6-8. Bottles were mid $20s+ I wasn't entirely familiar with the wines on the list so not sure the markup. The only wine I was familiar with, the Ici Pinot from Oregon I think was $45 on the list and retails for $25. So about 100% markup on that particular bottle. Deserts were $6-7 too. Overall, I found the prices reasonable and the overall quality was very good.

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1. No carpet on the floor. Why would this make your feet freeze, though? Do you dine barefoot?

Did you ever eat at Marianna in the winter time? The floor was cold enough to act as the base for a skating rink. Concrete conducts cold very well. The ground gets cold, the floor gets cold...simple physics...that said, after reading the above, I'm going to make time for a visit. Sounds like for a restaurant just opening it's pretty mature.

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I had dinner at Bastille last night. I would not put this place in the pantheon of fine dining establishments but it is not aspiring to such. This is a neighborhood French bistro type restaurant and when viewed through that prism it acheives its objectives.

After reading the thread on steak frites, I had a Jones for steak frites, which they have. Thus, I didn't look closely at the rest of the menu. I started with a duck charcuterie platter which included some duck breast pastrami, confit and rillets. The confit met standards, the pastrami OK and the rillets average (I use the duck rillets at Firefly as my gauge). The steak frites arrived and included a perfectly cooked onglet, sliced, with a "long pepper sauce." It was good. The frites appear to be home made (not the ususal frozen shoestring variety) with some crispy (which is the way I like them) and some limp.

My dining companioin had the halibut with risotto. The fish was perfectly cooked and the risotto a nice accompaniment.

The service is only average. The waiter asked me if I wanted another glass of wine and I said "yes, could I take another look at the wine list." No wine list appeared so I flagged down the hostess who brought me one.

The place was about a third to a half full on a Wednesday evening. If you maintain the perspective that this is neighborhood watering hole, I think you will have an enjoyable meal. For those of us in the Old Town area, it's a nice option to have. I'll consider going back.

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In what seems to be a regular happening for me, I had another "why haven't I been here sooner/more often" experience at Bastille. A friend and I enjoyed their Sunday brunch, opting for the 3-course $19 prix-fixe. We were told we could choose from everything on the menu, as well as the specials - this was a good selection and it was nice not to be limited to a few items in each course.

To start with, I chose the soup du jour - a celeriac chowder topped with crispy pancetta - it was creamy and a very simple presentation, no surprises. I only wished it had been served a bit warmer. My friend went with the calamari and shrimp beignets. The portion was very generous as were the individual beignets. They were a touch greasy, but very light with lots calamari and shrimp tidbits, served with a slightly spicy yogurt dip (the dish the dip was in was a bit too small for dunking though smile.gif )

For the entree - oeufs brouilles on a croissant (I added the smoked salmon for $4) for me - again, not quite as hot as I would have liked, but a lovely, creamy helping of scrambled eggs on a buttery, flaky croissant. My friend ordered the special - halibut and salmon fish cakes served over basmati rice. There were two small cakes, pan fried and mostly fish (not much filler) - a bit fishy for my taste, but enjoyed by the one who ordered them.

Dessert was tarte tatin and Valrhona milk chocolate and chestnut Creme brulee. The brulee was very good - but rich after my first two courses. The chocolate and chestnut were a nice pair. I only taste a bite of apple from the tatin but it looked like a good rendition of this classic.

The service was very good, from our young and friendly server (who kindly topped off our champagne wink.gif when he had to open another bottle to finish pouring one of the glasses) to the runners to the hostess. I liked the ambiance as well, warm and open, with some lovely paintings (for sale) by a local artist on the one solid wall. The restaurant was full by about 1:00, but not too noisy - just filled with a pleasant buzz of people enjoying themselves. I'll be back to give dinner a try.

(I can't believe it's been over a year since the last post on this thread!)

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When I get back from Florida next week, I have to try this place, it has been on my list for a while and I have always heard good things about it. I also like the fact that they do a few things, similar to Dino, to try to get people in the door on otherwise slow days/nights, such as

Early Week Dinner Menu $29 (Available only Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays)

Cromesqui salad or soup

Bistro steak or Salmon

Creme brulee

Pre-theater Menu $35 (Available Thursday thru Saturday before 7:00pm)

Any salad or soup

Bistro steak, Salmon or risotto

Creme brulee or cheesecake

Sunday Brunch $19 (Available every Sunday from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm)

Three-course prix-fixe brunch

Lunch $19

Three-course prix-fixe lunch (Choice of one first course, main course and dessert)

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I also like the fact that they do a few things, similar to Dino, to try to get people in the door on otherwise slow days/nights

And don't forget Bastille also has a Sunday dinner option (to add to the list of great Sunday dining options that include "A Place at the Table" at RTS and "Nana's Sunday Dinner" at Majestic):

Available every Sunday from 5 to 8pm

Three-Course Sunday Dinner

Prix fixe $24

Choice of one First course, one Entree & one dessert

$33 Four-courses includes cheese and dessert

First Course

Soupe du jour

Calamari and rock shrimp beignets, sheep milk yogurt & harissa dip

House made duck charcuterie tasting: confit, prosciutto and rillettes

Belgium endives and local apple salad, Gruyere cheese, mustard-pancetta dressing

Frisee & goat cheese cromesqui, dry cherries, shallot vinaigrette

Entree

Poisson du jour

*Moules a la creme & Pommes frites

Coq au vin:

Braised Chicken legs in a rich red wine sauce

with lardons, cipoline and mushrooms, Aligot Yukon mashed potatoes

Braised beef short ribs, red wine - porcini sauce,

Aligot Yukon mashed potatoes & market vegetables

Parisian bistro steak, red wine shallot sauce, pommes frites

Cassoulet of duck confit

Risotto du jour, made with organic dry-aged carnarolli rice

Cheese

Trio of artisanal cheeses

(Supplemental $4)

Or

Dessert

Brown sugar and spice bread pudding, port cherry sauce

Golden pineapple upside down cake, rum anglaise

Warm apple tatin, with creme fraiche

Valrhona Jivara milk chocolate and chestnut Creme brulee

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Received in an email yesterday:

SPRING IS IN THE AIR!!!

Bastille is rolling out its new spring menu to compliment the wonderful weather.

Starting March 12th, 2008 our new spring menu features a whole new selection of salads and appetizers like; fresh lump crab salad with Avocado mousse, endive and citrus vinaigrette, fresh goat cheese cake with balsamic and cherries or...

Try our new entree's; Grilled Sea Bream withpiquillo pepper coulis and fennel orange compote, Roasted Pheasant breast "en crepinette" stuffed with Foie gras and confit leg meat, thyme scented jus or check out the Braised rabbit leg and roasted tenderloin of rabbit in mustard sauce with oven roasted new potatoes and sauteed greens.

IF THAT ISN'T ENOUGH.....

A whole new selection of cheeses comes your way featuring favorites from our favorite cheese store, Cheesetique in Del Ray.

AND TO SATISFY YOUR SWEET TOOTH...

Carrot cake with vanilla bean cream cheese mousse

Rhubarb crumble with whipped lemon creme fraiche and strawberry sauce

Guava Creme Brulee

Tropical Tapioca pudding with fresh papaya and mango coulis

or

Decadent Valrhona Manjari Chocolate Mousse with brandied cherries and almond crisps.

Wine specials are coming soon, so stay tuned to what the new feature will be next month!

Sincerely,

Christophe and Michelle Poteaux

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Received in an email yesterday:

(too bad they don't know the difference between 'compliment' and 'complement'..."yessiree bob, that's one great looking cloud") Grover and I had dinner there last Friday evening. We went with the $45 tasting menu. As others have stated, the food could be warmer for a couple of dishes, but overall we were quite happy with our selections (you have to pardon me, that was last Friday and there have been a lot of miles and a few dinners since). Our server Jawad more than made up for the wishy-washy service we had the first time we were there. All in all, a most pleasant dinner even though nothing really stood out.

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I used to think of Bastille as a very good neighborhood restaurant, but I need to revise that -- it's a very good restaurant period. It's not just a place for locals, it's a place worth a trip. A recent visit was a reminder that this place is getting more sure-footed, and better, with every season.

Bastille's caprese has long been a favorite. It's a reminder that the best versions of this dish depend on more than just ripe tomatoes, fresh mozarella and good basil; they also depend on good seasoning. Bastille excels at this. They always seem to add just the right amount of coarse salt or balsamic vinaigrette to really bring the ingredients together, making the sum even better than its parts. But while tomatoes are currently out of season (and caprese is off the menu), Bastille's organic beet carpaccio w/ housemade boursin cheese more than makes up for it. Here again, the folks at Bastille show a deft hand with the seasoning. Adding just the right amount of coarse salt and olive oil, they successfully make the earthy beets and the herbed cheese into a delicious treat.

On previous trips to Bastille, I've had good luck with the steak and frites or anything that is braised. I shied away from seafood after having a piece of salmon once that was overcooked. But on my most recent trip, I put my toes back into the water and tried the rockfish with blood orange compote. Am I ever glad I did. The rockfish could not have been cooked better. It had a light crusty exterior, and a rich -- almost creamy -- interior. The orange compote was a great complement too.

Bastille seems to be getting more accolades, and more business, as time goes on. It deserves both.

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After Jackson 20, we headed to Bastille for dinner. Cute little restaurant and nice outdoor seating... I was impressed at the size of the dishes as well, they definitely did not try to starve you if you picked the three-course menu. Price was right overall, but could get pricey quickly if you wanted to (the wine list was definitely more pricey than Jackson 20). But, unlike Jackson 20, I can definitively say that I would go back in a heartbeat.

Isn't Bastille a great little hidden gem? I need to get there more often, as it has been very pleasant every time I've been there. Food is good, service is very nice, and the prices aren't bad either. I like their brunch - they have a la carte options, as well as a 3 course prix fixe option.

It is right across the street from some waste management plant or something, whatever it was, it smelled like ass, not quite sure how the people sitting outside could have handled it.

Oh, that's not a waste management plant - it's a coal-fired power plant. (Just Google Mirant and Alexandria for all the details of the ongoing battle by the City to have it shut down)

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Tonight my wife heard someone in the kitchen say "why do we sell this f***ing S***." To which I answered, "I hope he is not talking about our order." Unfortunately, I believe that it was about the shrimp beignets that I ordered as a starter. I misconstrued what this dish would be like, what came out were four shrimp surrounded by a tough piece of flavorless fried dough. In contrast my wife's spring vegetable salad was perfectly prepared and delicious. Our mains were also a mixed bag, the steak frites were delicious (actually some of the best fries I have had in quite some time), but the plate was warmer than the steak. The gnocchi with spring vegetables was under-seasoned and the dumplings were heavy and rather flavorless, however, the accompanying vegetables were cooked, and perfectly so.

The room seemed rather understaffed, but the wait staff that was superb. Even with the few hiccups we encountered with the food, we are looking forward to giving the restaurant another try.

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I'd been sadly underwhelmed the last time I went to Bastille (after loving it all the other times I've been). I'm glad to say that whatever bad mojo it suffered when I visited a few months back seems to have been shaken off, and I had the best meal I've ever had there today at brunch (which is a meal that so many places get tres, tres wrong). Duck confit hash with a fried egg on top, decadent, original and not as over-the-top rich as it sounds. Chocolate pot du creme with cherry compote that really sang. The servers were a little weeded, but it really all was lovely, and I'm now thinking this might supplant Tallulah as my go-to Virginia brunch spot.

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I'd been sadly underwhelmed the last time I went to Bastille (after loving it all the other times I've been). I'm glad to say that whatever bad mojo it suffered when I visited a few months back seems to have been shaken off, and I had the best meal I've ever had there today at brunch (which is a meal that so many places get tres, tres wrong). Duck confit hash with a fried egg on top, decadent, original and not as over-the-top rich as it sounds. Chocolate pot du creme with cherry compote that really sang. The servers were a little weeded, but it really all was lovely, and I'm now thinking this might supplant Tallulah as my go-to Virginia brunch spot.

We were there today for brunch as well. I thought the prix fix deal sounded like a good value (although I didn't get all 3 courses. we shared some courses.) Had the smoked salmon eggs benedict and shared the shrimp beignets and the chocolate pot au creme. Everything was spot on but the shrimp beignets were a highlight.

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George Carlin's alternative to turkey for Thanksgiving is to serve swan. You get more stuffing. One of Bastille's alternatives last night was muscovy duck served two ways, both were delicious. The 1er cru Savigny les Beaune wine pairing was right on. I started with a half dozen VA oysters. My wife and I shared a small cheese plate. And finished with a fantastic beignets of apple or something. Terrific dinner. The 3 3 oz wine pairings for $30 were good but seemed just a little skimpy for the money (especially compared to the otherwise generous servings by the glass). A small complaint after a wonderful evening overall.

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Dinner for a friend's birthday on a Sunday in the past month was incredibly disappointing, and I'll be honest that I approach most restaurants in the area with high hopes but low expectations. I know, I know: Sundays aren't the best time to judge quality, but the missteps were fairly basic.

I wouldn't have necessarily minded the slug wiggling around next to my greens - means they're fresh, right? - except that they were so overdressed they lost whatever brightness that freshness brings. They came as an accompaniment to an incredibly sweet and strangely foamy chicken liver mousse heavy with an equally overly sweet gelee, and that set the tone for the entire meal.

The details are mostly uninteresting and sound nitpicky when I write them out- the confit was too salty to be eaten while conversely the frites came without salt, the mussels were lukewarm at best and served without a fork, the duckfat fried potatoes had no color or crispness, the wine had been stored improperly, the stemware was thick, our server was sweet but not terribly competent, etc etc. Perhaps this is all an artifact of the low prix-fixe Sunday meal, I can't say. I just know it was one of the most humorously bad meals I've had in a long time and there was nothing in it to make me think giving them a second shot would make any difference.

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Stopped in tonight to see Mr. Slater in his new digs, and had an absolutely lovely meal. This place should be much higher on people's radar. It's not fancy - this is classic french bistro fare - but absolutely perfectly prepared.

First off, note that while we were there for RW, and partook in the RW menu, the regular 3-course menu is only $39!

As noted by others, this is not a large dining room, and they have limited capacity for anything larger than a 4-top. But even sitting by a window on a bitterly cold night, we felt no draft, and while the room was boisterous, there was no need to yell across the table to be heard.

To start, the +1 and I shared the daily soup (winter squash) and the shrimp beignets. The soup was excellent - bursting with the flavor of squash, well seasoned, and tasting rich though there was clearly a restrained hand with the creme fraiche. But those shrimp beignets were unbelievable. A light fritter where the herbs and aioli only served to amplify the shrimp taste. I would have happily ordered a double of this for my entree.

For entrees, we shared the choucroute garni and a daily special, roasted Scottish Salmon over lentils and brussels sprouts. The choucroute was a perfect example of this homey dish - all of the cuts of pork were flavorful and very different from each other, yet the apples, potatoes, onions, sauerkraut pull it all together. A very substantial portion. The (also large) cut of salmon was seared until the skin was crispy, and while I would have preferred a rarer interior (which I suppose I could have requested), my +1 was quite satisfied. The bed of lentils and perfectly cooked brussels sprouts were spiked with lardons, in case we hadn't had enough pork so far.

Dessert was a lovely almond cake, and an outstanding Valrhona chocolate pot du creme. The accompanying pot of French press was the only off note of the evening - overroasted beans, thin, and not hot enough.

Service was competent and friendly, the parings selected for each dish by Mr. Slater were spot on (and a deal at 3 glasses for $25).

More than just a neighborhood gem - this is a wonderful French bistro. With the great staff, and the near-perfect execution of the French bistro standards at very gentle prices, this is a worthwhile destination from anywhere in the DC area.

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Wine dinner coming up on March 25th.

I keep meaning to get up the street and visit you some night that I am working in Old Town, menu looks delicious.  You and Dave I owe visits to, for sure.  I have some meeting nights coming up here soon...

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The Virginia "prosciutto" was from Jamie Stachowski, the cheeses were in perfect condition, here's one DC area chef that knows about rock shrimp, the soft shell crabs (from the Carolinas, $7 supplement if you're using the 3-course bistro option) were meaty and flavorful, and the May weather was ideal for patio dining - not to mention vastly more serene than inside the bustling dining room.  Oh, and the foie gras...

Really, everything went swimmingly.  But what put it way over the top is Mark Slater's incredible gift for pairings...I still don't have any idea how he figures these things out.  The Sancerre was nice, the rock shrimp "beignets" (really, fritters) were nice if a tad doughy, but together...there were flavors in the glass that I couldn't find in either by itself.  And that was just the first pairing.  Fan-flippin-tastic.

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Bastille will close after brunch on January 11 and remain closed until January 22, when it will reopen at its new location ay 606 N. Fayette Street.  Bistrot Royale will  open at the old Bastille space on January 22 also.

 

I'm looking forward to visiting Bastille in their new location (especially since it's a short walk from chez moi). The space is looking lovely, based on a peek in the windows a few nights back.

One minor correction: According to the email they sent out today, the new location is scheduled to open 'the last week of January', rather than January 22. Bistrot Royal will open on the 22nd. Can't wait for warmer weather to enjoy the new menu on the patio.

Regarding the location, the area is considered (by those of us who live here) West Old Town; the original location is in North Old Town.

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Bastille [2.0] is open as of January 19. Apparently there is confusion about their opening date? Had delicious dinner at the bar. My wife had Cassiolette, which was unbelievable--with incredible sausage! I had scallops and octopus "a la plancha" which came with grilled cauliflower, dates, and olives. The food was superb. Aside from the vacant tables, you would never know it was the first day.

The bar has four beer taps, which as of today are a Trippel that escapes me, Evolution No. 3 IPA, Great Divide's Colette farmhouse saison,  and Great Lakes Dortmunder Golden Lager.  Colette is perfect for the French cuisine, though a bit more fruity and less Belgian than typical saisons. The red Cotes du Rhone is the least expensive by the glass and is also wonderful.

The bar "happy hour" (5-7pm) is 50% off most drinks. The food discount appears to have been a casualty of the move.  ;)

Mayor Euille even stopped in while we were there.

Pic: B7wtYaHCMAAB8P-.jpg:large

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Bastille [2.0] is open as of January 19. Apparently there is confusion about their opening date? Had delicious dinner at the bar. My wife had Cassiolette, which was unbelievable--with incredible sausage! I had scallops and octopus "a la plancha" which came with grilled cauliflower, dates, and olives. The food was superb. Aside from the vacant tables, you would never know it was the first day.

The bar has four beer taps, which as of today are a Trippel that escapes me, Evolution No. 3 IPA, Great Divide's Colette farmhouse saison,  and Great Lakes Dortmunder Golden Lager.  Colette is perfect for the French cuisine, though a bit more fruity and less Belgian than typical saisons. The red Cotes du Rhone is the least expensive by the glass and is also wonderful.

The bar "happy hour" (5-7pm) is 50% off most drinks. The food discount appears to have been a casualty of the move.   ;)

Mayor Euille even stopped in while we were there.

B7wtYaHCMAAB8P-.jpg:large

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