Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles in DC
their fries stink -- literally and figuratively! mr. alka and i ate there yesterday, and the fries they brought were lukewarm and had been cooked in old oil. yuck. then when they brought new fries, i think they were the same fries, but just heated up in the same cruddy oil!
go there to sit outside and drink Chimay ale. Don't bother with the moules, either. The amount we got yesterday (dinner portion) was not even HALF the size it was last year.
And the service! we had to wait for a while for the two servers to stop their personal chatting before they noticed us. no, wait, the one facing out SAW us, but didn't bother telling the other waiter that we came in. just kept on chatting, having a good ole time. mind you, there was only one other couple on the patio when we arrived.
i am totally disgusted with what has happened to les halles. will be a while before i go back. (oh, and their wine by the glass (on the specials sheet in the menu) was $18.)
Yes, we enjoyed our meal at the DC Les Halles, but that was years ago. Back then, I was not brave enough to try the steak tartare, but not now. I had the pepper encrusted steak, and their pommes frites (aka. fries). The fries were the best around back then, but the ones offered at the Blue Duck Tavern are probably the best now, since they're fried in duck fat.
Bourdain was the chef at the NYC Les Halles. I've yet to see him star in any cooking competitions though, like Iron Chef.
We ate there recently and we were very pleasantly suprised. The mussels Billie Bi were outstanding. My roast chicken was moist, crispy on the outside and very flavorful. Her hangar steak was excellent. The frites were, of course, very good. I don't recall dessert; nothing remarkable. Service was slow and ambiance is nothing special but we would go back. It also it conveniently open all day if you are looking for a place late in the afternoon. Like I said, we went just to try it and were very happy with the food.
Bourdain has never had anything to do with the D.C. Les Halles -- I'll bet he' never even been there.
And no, unless things have changed very much for the better, it's not really worth a stop, although the least time I was there (approx. five years ago), the onlget was decent.
I can confirm that Bourdain has been inside the DC Les Halles. He spoke at a dinner there hosted by National Geo. I can't say the food was memorable. I also doubt that he has anything to do with DC Les Halles. I think there are a lot of other bistros to try and DC before heading to Les Halles.
If you really want to follow Bourdain, check out 2941 until January. Scott Bryan is guest chef until the new chef arrives. Bourdain devoted an entire chapter to Bryan in Kitchen Confidential.