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Joe Riley

Cafe du Parc, in the Willard Hotel - Chef Serge Devesa from Marseilles In Charge of Willard's French-American Cafe

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How Many more "french" bistro's do we need in this city? Beck is opening in a few months as well. Washington is known as a steak town, now we are becoming a bistro city, which is just as boring.

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now we are becoming a bistro city, which is just as boring.
Do yourself a favor and buy Patricia Wells' book Bistro Cooking, then get back to to us on the "boring" thing. :blink:

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Do yourself a favor and buy Patricia Wells' book Bistro Cooking, then get back to to us on the "boring" thing. :blink:

Actually, I cook alot from Thomas Keller's Bouchon cookbook, and I have been to a few bistro's in Paris so I know that bistro food is not all boring. I was saying that it would be boring for DC to become known as a city of bistro's. Also, I am not inclined to spend alot of money at places that serve the kind of food that I can cook at home.

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Westermann's three star is in Strasbourg and he's had the stars for about 15 years although I think his son runs it now. It's truly outstanding. While this will have little in common my expectation is that associating his name with this is similar to Bouchon from Keller or Central from Michel: I would expect quite a bit from this little "bistro." The location in the Willard is quite interesting, also.

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I just looked at the menu. They have blue foot chicken! Is this a first in DC?

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Their blue foot chicken is an American version of the bird. I think I saw it served once before at a restaurant here, but it was a special, and for the life of me, I can't remember the restaurant.

ETA: It may be a first as I remember where I saw it was New York and not DC!

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Westermann was also the consulting chef for Cafe 15.

Blue Foot Chickens.
Traditionally, and by law, Brillat-Savarin's preferred Gallic gallus must spend ¾ of its life in free range -minimum 10 square meters per creature, consume a 90% wheat/corn diet and bear the characteristic French tricolore: Blue-tinted feet, White feather, Red cockscombs. Within the species are 4 racial nuances determined by plumage: white (Blanche de Bény), black (Noire de Louhans), grey (Grise de Bourg, and blue (Bleue de Bresse). White dominates French markets with the best alleged ratio of taste to ease of raising and the blue has all but disappeared. Purist can identify the veritable White Volaille de Bresse as having entirely black/brown eyes void of any yellow or white. To prevent squabbles between roosters, flocks are kept small (producers hatch a slight average of 4200 chicks annually) which reduces risks of illness and eliminaties the need for antibiotics. Bresse poultry's prosperous yield of fattier meat, tenderness and "sapidity" can be traced back to a 16th century Municipal register from Bourg-en-Bresse noting: "...the people were, that day, so happy of the departure of the Alpine Roman troops that, in recognition of the Marquis de Treffort, the council voted that he shall be presented two dozen fattened capons..."

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So, the wife and I decided to give Cafe du Parc a try tonight. I found it found pretty amusing that every person I spoke with tonight was a recent transplant from France (no more than two months in the States) , the hostess, waiter and bartender. I was told, that the entire kitchen staff is from France as well. I must say, that this place is pretty good. It may be closet thing we have in DC to an actual French Bistro, well except for the service being really good. I was even offered coffee after dessert.

Anyways, we started with the Terrine de pot-au-feu,which was short ribs and beef shoulder with carrots and leeks in the center, shaped into a terrine, served cold with very good toasted bread. The 24 hour PORK sous-vide came to the table with crispy skin and moist meat. You are offered a choice of any side item with your entree, I would recommend the potatoes with onions and chicken broth (it was like a very good au gratin without the fat)or the leek puree. My wife ordered the very good monkfish tail with pinot noir sauce, the leeks were the recommended side item.

I don't know much about wine but the one page list offers at least 10 bottles for $30. I guess I was wrong; there is room for one more good bistro. This place does not have the buzz that Central is getting right now, but I think the food I had tonight was just as good.

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You raise an interesting point here. I wonder what the reasons are for the buzz differential.

Michel Richard?

Months of publicity/anticipation for Central, while this place sneaked up on us?

The Willard's reputation?

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Actually, I cook alot from Thomas Keller's Bouchon cookbook, and I have been to a few bistro's in Paris so I know that bistro food is not all boring. I was saying that it would be boring for DC to become known as a city of bistro's. Also, I am not inclined to spend alot of money at places that serve the kind of food that I can cook at home.

well,

While Dc may be overun with bistros this must have the best food of them all. This is first rate food without the lousy American influence. I ate there and every item was perfect. I was amazed by the perfect simplicity. As a chef who eats out with every opportunity I must suggest that everyone here tries this new place.

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My wife and I ate at Cafe du Parc on Friday night and had a generally good experience. In short, the food was very good, and the service was extremely friendly, though there were a number of problems. What you might expect from a restaurant feeling their way through things upon first opening (though worse than what we experienced at Central when it first opened). I would definitely return, and I'm glad to see a top-notch restaurant in that space in the Willard.

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I ate there this weekend. They are definitely still working out the service kinks, but did not lack for friendliness or enthusiasm. The food was mostly great. I would return for the pate alone. Monkfish was ok, but its accompanying red wine sauce was outstanding. My SO enjoyed the pike dumplings, but they weren't my cup of tea. Desserts were straitforward and really tasty. The wine list is relatively affordable and we enjoyed a $40 bottle of Saint Veran with our meal.

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We ate at Cafe du Parc this weekend as well. We were able to walk in around 8:15 on friday night with about a 20 minute wait. The service was excellent, and extremely enthusiastic. My wife had the pate, which she thought was excellent, while I had the onion soup, which was solid and comforting. We decided to share a special - a whole John Dory. The fish was roasted and presented in an iron skillet atop a bed of herbs, haricot verts, garlic, and calamari. The fish was excellent - perfectly cooked and moist. We ended the meal with profiteroles, which were just ok - the ice cream was really nothing special. All in all, we had a wonderful meal, and look forward to going back. Hopefully it'll be a bit more crowded the next time around, though.

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What did you eat?

Should have included that to begin with. I started with the short rib terrine and had the steak while my wife had the salad du Parc and the 24-hour pork. Everything was cooked beautifully.

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Does the wine list really not include vintages? The one on the website leaves them out.

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Does the wine list really not include vintages? The one on the website leaves them out.
Correct. No vintages on the print wine list. Very annoying.

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Argh. With the US market for imported European wine still struggling to put "2003 syndrome" behind us, vintages are important.

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