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Lavandou, Owner Florence Devillier's Corkage-Friendly French Bistro in Cleveland Park - Closed


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Two friends and I went to Lavandou last night for their Bastille Day (week) special. Frankly, I was a little disappointed. The night seemed like a mediocre experience during Restaurant Week.

Service was fine, the food was cooked as ordered (steaks arrived as medium and medium rare), but there seemed to be something lacking. It seemed as if the kitchen was in a mass production mentality for the week (although the restaurant was far from full last night). Having dined there several times in the past and very much enjoyed the food and the experience, I felt more of an effort was put into the regular menu offerings than that to the Bastille Week specials.

We dined on vichyssoise soup, steak frites, salmon paillard with grilled vegetables, and Feuillete of Blueberries and Strawberries with Cream. The entrees were cooked well - nothing overcooked or undercooked. The dishes just seemed to lack any "oomph" (for lack of a better word).

Is anyone going tonight?

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Lavandou Wine Dinner Nov. 15. That's a lot of wine!

Dear Guests,

Lavandou and Les vignobles LVDH will host a wine dinner on November 15th, 2005

A special menu will be served including 8 glasses of wine.

Bourse de Fruits de Mer "Nantua"

Brick Purse filled with Seafood, champagne tomato cream sauce

Chateau Trebiac, Graves 2004

Petite Assiette du Fermier

Imported cold cuts and homemade Pate, tarragon onions and cornichons

Chateau Monbrison, Margaux 1998

Chateau Monbrison, Margaux 2003

Cassolette de Veau "Marengo"

Veal stew with wild mushrooms, garlic and tomato sauce

Chateau Monbrison, Margaux 1999

Chateau Monbrison, Margaux 2002

Salade Folle aux Noix et jus de Truffes

Mixed green salad and walnuts, truffle oil

Onglet grille, "marchand de Vin" et Gratin Dauphinois

Grilled hanger steak, marrow and red wine sauce, potato gratin

Chateau Monbrison, Margaux 2000

Chateau Monbrison, Margaux 2001

Gateau au Chocolat fondant

Individual petite cake filled with warm chocolate

Maydie - Red dessert wine

$95 all inclusive

Seating is limited, please reserve early

(202) 966-3002

Lavandou Restaurant

3321 Connecticut Avenue, NW

202-966-3002

www.lavandourestaurant.net

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An email I received

Lavandou is happy to announce its 2nd wine dinner with Vignobles LVDH Wines presented by John Peters

Tony from Cleveland Park Liquors will also be joining us on this special event. We are committed to share with you a friendly evening, great wines and a special Provencal menu prepared by Lavandou’s new Chef Brian Cartenuto & consultant Chef Bene Kruko

Tuesday, October 24th

Wine & Dinner Menu

Tarte feuilletée au fromage de chèvre, tomate et pistou, petite frisee aux herbes

Goat cheese & tomato Tarte with pesto, frisee & fresh herb salad

Sauvignon Blanc, Les Carisannes, Loire Valley 2005

***

Filet de morue roti, sauce verveine et fenouil braise

Baked filet of codfish with verbena sauce & braised fennel

Sparkling Vouvray Brut, Tête de Cuvee, Loire Valley 2002

***

Confit et magret de canard sauce grenade, ragoût de haricots blanc au basilic

Duck magret & Confit with pomegranate sauce, white bean & basil stew

Madiran, Laplace 2001

Cotes de Bourg, Château Laroche Joubert 2003

***

Clafouti aux pruneaux d’Agen, crème anglaise au miel de lavande

Clafouti with prunes & lavender honey crème anglaise

Dessert Wine, Château du Mont, Ste Croix du Mont 2003

$65

Please call for reservation at (202) 966-3003 or email us at: info@lavandourestaurant.net

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Yes, I'm pretty sure. They have changed a lot of their weekly special deals since they got a new chef a while back. However, the corkage free Mondays are still there.

Glad to hear that. Once we had a dinner there for my wine geek group (there were about 8 of us, all who brought wine) and there were 5 other tables that were doing the same. It made for a great deal since we could have a good meal and great wine without having to sell various parts of our anatomy.

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I had an underwhelming dinner last night of a salad that purported to be Caesarian and a sort of seafood stew in paprika cream sauce. The dressing on the salad was thin, dull and they absolutely hammered the romaine with parmesan. The stew had shrimp that were cooked to mush, the mussels were borderline trashable, the fish (cod? maybe some monk too?) was cooked until stiff enough to make Peter North proud. The 3 or 4 clams in it were good though.

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I had an underwhelming dinner last night...
I similarly had an underwhelming dinner there about 2 weeks ago. The waitress and staff were very friendly with good service in the cozy environs, but the food was only so so. I started with their salad St. Tropez which was probably the best part - but was a pretty simple preparation of grilled and raw vegetables. For entree, my hanger steak was very bland even with the sauce they serve on the side. The accompaning fries were better. My wife's salmon was basic and bland. I didn't try it but the only stand out entree seemed to be the mussels which were rather large in total portion and big individual mussels (think jumbo shrimp vs babies). Desserts were also merely adequate. The special crepe with nutella and grand marnier came flambe which looked pretty but was drenched in so much liquor that it had no other flavor. The crepe was not what we expected either the nutella wasn't spread on the crepe but mixed in with the batter so you didn't taste the chocolate at all. Better was the creme brulee which in my father-in-law's expert (one of his fav desserts) was good, but not great. It was a shame because the I used to really like this place in my neighborhood, but it was not worth the high price at all that night. Maybe we chose dishes badly - but 2 out of 10 dishes that were only good but no standouts probably isn't luck.
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I had an underwhelming dinner last night
I similarly had an underwhelming dinner there about 2 weeks ago.

And I complete the hat-trick. Lavandou has a charming ambiance, the service is friendly and professional, the wine list is decent and fairly priced, but as much as I want to love this restaurant, my love stops at the kitchen door.

It isn't often when I'm hungry and don't finish a tiny appetizer, but I didn't want to eat my Rillettes de Canard, a good, well-dressed salad hiding two small crescents of rillettes that seemed like a hypothetical cross between potted meat and cat food. It had a bad taste, it had a bad texture, and it was a terrible dish.

But I was pleasantly surprised by my Magret de Canard, a passable rendition served with an overherbed potato puree, all sopped up with some surprisingly decent bread by Uptown Bakers (restaurateurs, take note).

I saw what a lot of the food looked like, and it's clear to me that Lavandou needs some leadership in the kitchen. I'm not quite sure what the ownership and chef situation is here these days, but I was told there have been changes. While I've never had a great meal here in the past, I've had several good ones, and up until recently, I've always assumed this place has been "one good cook away" from being a fine little restaurant. Now, however, the situation may be more dire.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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lavandou. we almost always pass this place by in our rush to palena and, like some other spots on this long block, i know we shouldn't. artichokes are the one vegetable i dislike preparing, and there are no vegetables that i know of i don't like to eat, so it was nice to be able to order a bowl of tender baby artichaux, served with diced carrot and onion in a light broth with two pale-flavored whole cloves of garlic that must have been in the vegetable bath just about from the start. the artichoke was a bit subdued in the flavor department also, but satisfying. (i still wonder if the baby artichokes purchased last year at the farmers market were actually babies, they seemed just as tough as grown ups and consequently by the time i was finished with them they were whittled down to a size that was almost not worth bothering with.)

monk fish here was good and french, served with potatoes, tomato and fennel in a meaty sauce. hangar steak and frites were good too and delicious caramelization knocked the socks off a tarte tatin served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream rather than whipped cream.

the longer you linger in this restaurant, the more you start picking up on a really nice and relaxing mood.

deciding it was too late to want to walk up the hill home, we flagged our first dc cab with a meter. apparently, the new cabbie strategy is going to be taking moderately circuitous routes to bump up the meter. even so, the final fare was lower than it would have been under the old zone system, which tended to impose a premium on short hops.

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(i still wonder if the baby artichokes purchased last year at the farmers market were actually babies, they seemed just as tough as grown ups and consequently by the time i was finished with them they were whittled down to a size that was almost not worth bothering with.)

"Baby" artichokes are secondary growths on the same stalk as larger ones. You're correct in noting that they aren't necessarily young and tender.

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the longer you linger in this restaurant, the more you start picking up on a really nice and relaxing mood.

deciding it was too late to want to walk up the hill home, we flagged our first dc cab with a meter. apparently, the new cabbie strategy is going to be taking moderately circuitous routes to bump up the meter. even so, the final fare was lower than it would have been under the old zone system, which tended to impose a premium on short hops.

I have always enjoyed my meals here. The ambiance is quite relaxing. I think the food execution is not quite to the level of La Chaumiere in Georgetown but the setting and food style, particularly in the spring and summer, are quite charming.

re Cabs: I wonder, if at least for the balance of May during the meter amnesty period, whether it might be useful to get in the cab and offer up zone fare with no dickering?

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(And remember when Lavandou was a really good restaurant?

When Francis still owned it and cooked there. I loved that place.

Although, I miss the chicken liver sauteed in port served on toast and salad.

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I've eaten there several times in the past year. Sometimes it's stellar, sometimes it is just okay. They seem to have quality control issues. One time, I'll have the best hangar steak ever, another time it's not very good. My husband always orders the endive salad. Sometimes it is too vinegary, sometimes it is just right. The fries are always good and the service is always friendly. My husband likes the monkfish entree. I guess I would recommend it with the previous caveats in mind.

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Francis, who used to be the chef there, was a nice guy. He taught me how to make chicken livers with port and shallots ("Grilled bread" on the menu there.)

He also gave me GREAT advice on restaurants the first time I went to Paris.

I have forgotten the name of waiter there who was always so good to me. I wonder where he is now.

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I got this email from Lavandou this evening.  I hope it doesn't mean they are kaput!

                              Lavandou restaurant is selling all equipment, tables and chairs, art work, paintings

                                              dishes and flatware, chandeliers etc...
                                        Monday 1/27,Tuesday 1/28, Wednesday 1/29  from 2pm to 7pm
                                                                         Cash only
,

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I got this email from Lavandou this evening.  I hope it doesn't mean they are kaput!

I waited a couple days to confirm this out of respect, but, yes, they are kaput (and thank you, cheezepowder, hopsing, et al, for alerting everyone to the closure).

Lavandou was, many years ago, a good French bistro, always wine-friendly to the customer. Ask wine-lovers who enjoyed bringing their own wines to restaurants, and they will tell you that in the early aughts, Le Lavandou was a reliable place to have a nice meal.

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I waited a couple days to confirm this out of respect, but, yes, they are kaput (and thank you, cheezepowder, hopsing, et al, for alerting everyone to the closure).

Lavandou was, many years ago, a good French bistro, always wine-friendly to the customer. Ask wine-lovers who enjoyed bringing their own wines to restaurants, and they will tell you that in the early aughts, Le Lavandou was a reliable place to have a nice meal.

They had a good run. We had a good but not great meal there back in the 90s. Most notable part of the meal was Janet Reno's presence at a nearby table.

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