In a message in the "dinner downtown" chain, someone asked about the DC Les Halles. My husband and I have been there several times, but swore it off three or four years ago.
The problem was not the food, which was good. In fact, I miss the lentil salad with sliced tongue, and if anyone knows where else I can get it, please say so! BUT Les Halles' service was awful -- not just indifferent, but rude every time. The straw that broke our backs was when we went in and asked to be seated in non-smoking, and were told that there was no such area. People were smoking cigars all over the restaurant. When we protested that there was a sign pointing to a no-smoking area, the host told us that since it was late (about 10 pm), they had decided to let people smoke everywhere.
I hope things there have changed. I'd really like to have that salad again.
Les Halles DC just can't quite cut it, at least if you've been to the original. It's not so much the service (pace our Stanford alum), which, true enuf, leaves a lot for improvement. (Mostly Francophile North Africans on the floor, with a healthy smattering of cute DC interns, but no training.) The problem is the carelessness in the kitchen. Endemic, again, to this wonderful town; if you order steak frites, fine; but anything "off menu" -- and by that I mean *on* the menu, but not something your typically adventuresome DC resident might crave, meaning, anything other than the onglet and a salad -- is reheated by nukular power. I've complained -- Muhammed, the (mostly) maitre d', is receptive and will make tartare at tableside if requested; but Les Halles DC just can't justify a full bistro menu when the pig's knuckles are ordered maybe -- maybe -- once a month. You're better off on Park Avenue South, in a New York minute.