Jump to content

Petits Plats, Owner Frederic Darricarrere's French Bistro on Connecticut Avenue in Woodley Park


Recommended Posts

I searched and could not find in the archives of DR.com a Petits Plats thread (though, I apologize if it exists). Why so little discussion of this charming little restaurant? Perhaps one reason is location: Petits Plats is located at the end of the string of tourist trapping restaurants that dot the Adams Morgan red line stop. The vast majority of those places do indeed serve insipid food at inflated prices. "Come on, Zoo visitors, walk on in and eat this chicken we just got from Safeway."

Yet, set inside a townhome with four cozy dining rooms, Petits Plats offers humble bistro dishes with honest preparation, worthy ingredients, and reasonable prices. My relationship with PP began not in the main restaurant, but in the take-out room of the lower floor. There I am accustomed to call about 20 minutes ahead so that I can be told, in an endearingly accented English, precisely when one of their fantastic roasted chickens will be freshly finished. Stuffed with some of their delicious baguette, crispy onions, garlic, and jus, this is a treat.

Eventually I started eating at the restaurant. Sietsema's review of the place in 2000 described the quality as ranging from moderate to very good, but with inconsistensies. That's about right. I recently sampled a special appetizer of asparagus, which were overcooked and not particularly fresh, with smoked salmon, which was soft and not overly salty. The main dishes, though, are the winners at this place. Their grilled salmon is fresh and well cooked, served with a zesty sauce accented with capers. The cassoulet is also good, the duck confit and garlic sausage being the highlights in that deep pot. If you like veal cheeks, sample these, they're fork-tender and rich. A caveat: the entrees are anything but "petits." Some of them are almost offensively large (why, I wonder, serve about 3 cups of white beans with a cassoulet?!) The desserts are reliable; I especially enjoyed the TART lemon tart (sadly, the vanilla ice cream that flanked it was horribly frozen and tasteless). A word to Rockwellians low on cash: it is a secret known to frequenters of the take-out room that those desserts are all available to-go for $4 (rather than $7 or 8). Indeed, on a recent visit, the tray on which a waiter graciously presented some fruit tarts was suspiciously familiar...The wine list is simple, though there is a reserve list with expensive French wines. At this place, I'll stick with the regular list. A safe bet is the 2004 Girard Sancerre, which costs around $35 (and retails at $18).

Service is enthusiastic and friendly. The staff has a feel for locals vs. tourists, and one can observe some differences in their approach as they make that discovery. That's good and bad. On whole, a nice neighborhood place worth noting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Petit Plats is my favorite brunch place - though not an every weekend excursion, due to the price (I believe it's around $15/person). IMHO the eggs benedict is the best in the city. A delightfully light and airy hollandaise with a whiff of lemon rests upon the poached eggs and country ham. mmmhmm. Also, their soups are usually delicious - I've had a mushroom consume (sp?), as well as a carrot, and a butternut squash. Big serving bowls, too.

I also love the salt and pepper shakers there - the little magnet men that you can make dance :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A friend wants to take me out for a cheapish belated b-day dinner and suggested Mama Ayesha's. I haven't been in awhile and don't remember it being all that great. Please give me any advice whether we should go to Mama Ayesha (if so, tips on dishes to order) or other better places in a similar price range in Woodley Park, CP, or more upper NW. Thanks.

I only ate there once, and it was several years ago, and no one has said anything about it here since 2006, but I've been meaning to go back to Petits Plats in Woodley Park. It's only a little more expensive than the dirt-cheap Mama Ayesha's (in other words, cheap for a French place), and the meal I had there a few years ago was very nice, and very reminiscent of dinner in a casual bistrot in Paris. If you follow my suggestion and the place is now terrible, please accept my apologies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last Friday I made a nice meal [sharing for 2] with 3 appetizers [Escargots de Bourgogne, Arugula Salad with warm Goat Cheese Toast and Grapefruit, and Duo of Rillette and Smoked Duck Breast with Mixed Greens and Cornichons] along with 1 Entree [Traditional Beef Bourguignon served with Creamy Pasta]. Very satisfied with the food choices that night, the Beef Bourguignon didn't wow me but I liked it. Probably our favorite items that night were the Escargot & the Arugula salad.

For wine, it's not the most extensive wine list I've seen in the District but we shared a decent '07 Argentinian Malbec [nicely priced at $27]. Service was fairly attentive and friendly. Overall I was pretty happy & found another place to come back to in Woodley Park,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anyone been recently?

I've always been curious, and am planning to stop by one of these weeks.

I haven't been since it was Petitio's, and we had our wedding rehearsal dinner in one of the upstairs dining rooms.

I last went a couple of years ago - same frozen, par-baked baguette and frozen fries as before. Need I say more?

I'm not pointing any fingers at anyone, but I've heard from more than one very reliable source that the bribery that takes place with the Woodley Park concierges is astonishing. Have you ever wondered how some of these *awful* restaurants have lasted so long?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice one Rich. :). Don: hotel personnel everywhere get paid by restaurants to make local dining suggestions. It occurs in Woodley Park, Wilmington, and Waterloo.

Yes, but it's particularly rampant in Woodley Park (think of the titanically awful restaurants on the east side of Connecticut Avenue that have been there for years, and note that the second and third largest hotels in DC are within walking distance of them).

I once saw a "recommended restaurants" list from one of those hotels, with at least a dozen entries on it, and New Heights was *not listed*.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, but it's particularly rampant in Woodley Park (think of the titanically awful restaurants on the east side of Connecticut Avenue that have been there for years, and note that the second and third largest hotels in DC are within walking distance of them).

The hotel currently known as the Marriott Wardman Park, a short walk from the restaurants on Connecticut Avenue in Woodley Park, was for many years the largest hotel in Washington. Has some other hotel surpassed it, relegating it to number two?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The hotel currently known as the Marriott Wardman Park, a short walk from the restaurants on Connecticut Avenue in Woodley Park, was for many years the largest hotel in Washington. Has some other hotel surpassed it, relegating it to number two?

I thought it was the Dupont Circle Hilton where Reagan was shot - I may be wrong.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought it was the Dupont Circle Hilton where Reagan was shot - I may be wrong.

According to Washington Business Journal, the Marriott Wardman Park is the largest hotel in the city, with the Washington Hilton at number two. It's a bit of a hike, but I'd say the Hilton is within walking distance of Woodley Park. Not sure where the Shoreham fits in the size sweepstakes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

According to Washington Business Journal, the Marriott Wardman Park is the largest hotel in the city, with the Washington Hilton at number two. It's a bit of a hike, but I'd say the Hilton is within walking distance of Woodley Park. Not sure where the Shoreham fits in the size sweepstakes.

The Omni Shoreham is in the top three - I wasn't originally referring to the Hilton (I mistakenly thought that was #1, and wasn't including it in Woodley Park).

BTW, I suspect the Gaylord at National Harbor - especially if you include the mammoth convention area (which is even more cavernous than the halls of the Kennedy Center) - might be the biggest of all, but of course that's in MD.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

According to Washington Business Journal, the Marriott Wardman Park is the largest hotel in the city, with the Washington Hilton at number two. It's a bit of a hike, but I'd say the Hilton is within walking distance of Woodley Park. Not sure where the Shoreham fits in the size sweepstakes.

I believe the soon to open Marriott Marquis will be the largest in the city, resetting this whole order.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...