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Bar Pilar, Cafe Saint-Ex Sibling on 14th and T Street in 14UP - Chef Jesse Miller and Sous Chef Justin Bittner


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Hello everyone, yes I am still chef at pilar, sorry it took me so long to actually write anything. I'd like to thank everyone for the enthusiasm towards our food as well as the criticism, any additional thoughts are welcome now that I am again a member here I will be able to be in on the conversation.

Congratulations to you, Justin, for being named Honorary Chef of the 2012 March of Dimes' Signature Chefs Auction, taking place on Wednesday, November 14, 2012.

Put this on your calendars, everyone!

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Just a heads up to anyone interested, next Saturday the 17th is my last official night at pilar and Sunday the 18th were closing the upstairs dining room to throw a party. I'll be roasting 3 suckling pigs and a prime rib among other things and tickets are 50 inclusive of drinks and grub. I believe they're available through city eats. There's gonna be plenty of food and a dj as well.

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Good things don't last forever, and this probably won't either, but for now? I think it's safe to say that Bar Pilar is going to have one of the strongest Chef / Sous-Chef combinations in the city. Justin Bittner is going back, this time to work under the toque of Chef Jesse Miller - it's going to be tough to go wrong with this team. Just like it was before, except in reverse!

"I'm going to get to *cook*," Justin told me, "which is what I want to be doing."

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OK, so Justin Bittner is only supposed to be playing a supporting role now, but it's hard to imagine he's not having an influence on the direction of the kitchen, even if his stay is temporary while he looks for other opportunities, as the bartender described it.  I don't think there are too many menus in DC more interesting than this one right now.  A few highlights as I perused the offerings: Buttermilk fried sweetbreads with maple sriracha glaze; crispy duck boudin, with whole grain mustard mushroom gravy; kombu salted Hamachi, ponzu, and scallion; fall octopus and white bean stew with olives and harissa; seared scallop, lobster, and fennel salad with honey carrots and sorrel; rabbit cacciatore...I could go on and on, that's only a small part of a pretty big menu and nearly all of it looked good to me.

Execution on the three items I tried was excellent -- the Hamachi was a beautiful, sophisticated presentation of three pieces of sashimi, with edible flowers and little piles of accompaniments; the crispy duck boudin was 3 crispy arancini-sized balls of what to me seemed like (excellent) duck rillette.  And finally, brown sugar and soy marinated beef over rice, with an enormous crispy fried egg (I know, trite, but the yolk is so good mixed in with the rice).  This was basically a super savory and fairly spicy bulgogi (the beef more thinly sliced than you'd find traditionally) over rice, no fancy presentation like the hamachi but delicious and comforting on a cold night.

I hadn't been in a while and my last visit, before Bittner's return, wasn't that great, but this was a welcome reminder of how good Bar Pillar used to be and hopefully a good sign of things to come as well.

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10 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

How was the texture?

It's soft, not chewy.  They do it almost like a tuna carpaccio, spread out thinly on the plate.  (Disclaimer: the last time I had this dish here was over a month ago, so they may have changed the presentation since then.)  The texture is complemented nicely by the bits of puffed tendon in the dish.

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