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Nov 5, 2006 02:43 PM

"Real" French in Maryland/DC?

A friend lived in France for a while, and he occasionally pouts about not being able to find "real" French food in America - correct as to both the cooking and the order in which the course are presented. The one exception he makes is Gabriel's Inn in Ijamsville, but he feels that is "terribly far". Any suggestions for other places that do "real" French, either as a normal menu option, or by request?

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  1. I love Le Vieux Logis in Bethesda. Arguably the entire menu is not "real" french, but there are some true staples. The menu is more European, but consistently creative and high quality food and service. (And the only place I know of that imports Danish herring and serves it, as it should be, with Aquavit.)

    1. Hard to find. When I want my French comfort food, I find it at La Chaumiere in Georgetown. The menu is available at I love their Cervelle de Veau au Beurre Noir when I can deal with the cholesterol spike. Great fish soup and other lovely traditional dishes.
      Wonderful food in a country inn setting. Lovely dining room, warm, friendly service.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MakingSense

        La Chaumiere is overrated. I was there last year, and aside from the food which was mediocre at best, the place seemed like a senior center. For my salad, they used CANNED PEARS on a bed of spinach DRENCHED in a balsamic vinagrette dressing. Crab cakes were so overloaded with cream and salt, yet lacking flavor, that they gave me a stomachache afterwards. Presentation was horrible. We were probably the only ones in the restaurant under age 60.

      2. La Chaumiere, agreed. Also Bistro Lepic, Montmarte, and Bistro Francais. We spend at least three weeks in France every year, and these places all satisfy us sufficiently (not quite Tout va Bien in NYC, but close enough! 8;).

        As to course order, for example preferring a cheese course before (as we do), rather than in lieue of, dessert: that is up to the diner to specify. Any good restaurant will accomodate your desires.

        -- Larry

        1. How could I forget Montmartre? One of my favorites! They've just opened a second restaurant, Montsouris, at Dupont Circle which I have yet to try.
          Also, Auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls for Alsatian food - this restaurant has been popular for over 30 years - hard to get a reservation.
          La Cote d'Or in Alexandria is owned by Raymond Campet, who started in Washington at the French Embassy and formerly owned the wonderful La Brasserie on Capital Hill.

          3 Replies
          1. re: MakingSense

            Where is the new place at Dupont Circle?

            1. re: GregJ

              Montsouris is at 2002 P St, NW, formerly the location of Johnny's Half Shell, which has moved to the former site of La Colline on Capilal Hill. If it's as good as Montmartre, it will be a great addition to Dupont Circle.

              Most restaurant locations can be found by googling using the restaurant name plus the city name. Many have menus online, reviews and sometimes reservation service information.

            2. re: MakingSense

              "La Cote d'Or in Alexandria..."

              Arlington, not Alexandria.

              And, while I'm thinking of it, we would also take the onglet with frites and salad at Les Halles over any other steak in the entire DC area.

              -- Larry

            3. Let me add Bistro D'Oc on 10th Street in DC for yet another region of France. Chef Bernard Grenier pays homage to his native Languedoc regin in the south of France.