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RW Review - Bisto Bis

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dbound Aug 7, 2007 06:46 AM

Wanted to post a short review of the first of my 3 restaurant week reservations from last night (Monday). I had the opportunity to dine at Bistro Bis, which for those of you don't know is just around the corner from Union Station in the Hotel George. This was the second time I have dined at Bistro Bis.

Overall, the experience was excellent.

Environment: The restaurant was full, but not overcrowded. We were a party of two and I would recommend this restaurant as a great spot for a date. My only minor complaint is that the seating for two can be rather tight. As in, the tables are less than a foot away from each other. A little hard not to eavesdrop on other's conversations from time to time.

Service: Our waiter was very pleasant as was the Sommelier, who when he brought us the bottle of wine I had chosen explained a little bit about it for us. The wait staff was very much friendly and seemingly happy to have us in the restaurant. There was a guy, who I could only assume was the manager, intently walking around the restaurant writing things down on a pad of paper. Not sure if he was taking notes on the waiters, observing dining times, or tracking what dishes people were ordering, but my date and I found it all very amusing. Almost something out of a silent French film.

Appetizers: Our table ordered the country pate and the steak tartare. Order the steak tartare; it was amazing. Perhaps the best item on the menu. The Country pate was also good, but I would have gone with the Mussels or the Chilled Tomato Soup had I had another chance.

Main Course: Our table ordered the DUCK CONFIT FAÇON TARBAIS (Duck Confit) and the POUSSIN SAUTÉ BEAUSEJOUR (Baby Chicken). Both we're very well prepared, with the meat nearly falling off what little bone the chef had left in the birds. The pairing of the duck sausage with the Duck Confit provided and interesting contrast in both flavor and texture for the same meat.

Dessert: Vanilla Creme Brulee and Molten Chocolate Cake (with creme fraiche) . Both were very good, and considering the portion size neither of us could finish. According to the waiter (and to our casual observations) these were the two most popular dessert items of the night.

Wine: Overall, the wine selection at Bistro Bis requires pretty deep pockets. I was able to find a reasonably priced Cote du Rhone (Grenache/Syrah) that paired very well with our meal choices.

Final Note: I was expecting the restaurant to be a little pushy in trying to get us out the door. However, I never felt rushed through out the entire meal. All in all, it took about two hours for the whole event...just what I was looking for.

Next Two RW Meals: Caucus Room, and Sea Catch.

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Bistro Bis
15 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

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    food.fiend RE: dbound Aug 7, 2007 06:56 AM

    This is both wonderful, and depressing, to hear!
    I have reservations for tonight, but my dining partnet has cancelled, and I have yet to find a replacement!
    Glad to hear it's so good, though!

    2 Replies
    1. re: food.fiend
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      Elyssa RE: food.fiend Aug 7, 2007 07:33 AM

      Food.Fiend if you don't mind dining alone I would highly suggest still going and possibly eating at the bar.

      Bistro Bis does a great job with RW and I reguarly go for their brunch special. A few times my boyfriend and I have just decided to sit at the bar and the bartenders are very friendly and chatty when it's not insanly busy. I think it's the perfect place to dine alone.

      1. re: Elyssa
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        food.fiend RE: Elyssa Aug 7, 2007 09:10 AM

        I actually might just do that. Thanks for the suggestion!

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      dagmar RE: dbound Aug 7, 2007 11:58 AM

      Great review.
      Am going tonight and hope my meal / experience is as good as yours.
      I view RW as a chance to visit restaurants one would normally overlook.
      Nothing is more upsetting than poor service and/or rushing. That is the easiest thing for a restaurant to get right.
      Will review Bistro Bis tomorrow.
      Next RW meals:
      Taberna del Alabardero
      Georgia Browns
      Neyla

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        dagmar RE: dbound Aug 8, 2007 06:33 AM

        To keep dbounds themes:

        Environment: Full house, no wait. Sat upstairs next to two girls with WAY too much perfume on. Ladies.... you don't need to bathe in it, just mist it in front of you and walk into the fog for application. Regardless, for a 'Bistro', the decour is more along the lines of what a dream location Courderoy would wish for. Not only could you hear the conversation next to you, but the the acoustics of Bistro Bis made it sound more like a cafeteria than a resaurant.

        Service: Staff tries very hard, and gets an "A" for effort, but still doesn't quite have it down. Example: Got menus upon seating but didn't hear "Can we get you something to drink" until 10 minutes in when they came to take the order. Clears the bread but leaves the butter. Brings new cocktail but doesn't clear old one.

        Appetizers: Country Pate and Steak Tartar. Maybe The Steak tartar was ok but the presentation brought it down a few notches. It looked like a defrosted hamburger. The pate was acceptable, but I wish I tried the cold tomato soup on such a hot day.

        Main: Mahi and Scallops..... order the Scallops...they are out of this world.

        Dessert: Vanilla Creme Brulee and Molten Chocolate Cake.. order the creme brule.

        Wine: Ordered by the glass. Nothing noteworthy.

        Final note: No need to return... We're determined to believe that there is a better bistro out there

        1 Reply
        1. re: dagmar
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          FayeD RE: dagmar Aug 10, 2007 08:39 AM

          As an out of town hound in DC for the week, I wanted to comment on Bistro Bis. This was the third restaurant I had been to this week for Restaurant Week and really appreciated Bistro Bis wide selection even though certain items had up charges. I actually kept from making a reservation at another well known restaurant because the menu was so limited. Here it was not.

          However, I wish I had read the review above recommending the scallops before I went because a woman at the table next to me ordered them and they looked wonderful.

          Anyway, what we did have - my companion ordered the beet salad which was very good. I ordered the onion soup, which while I enjoyed it thoroughly, basically filled me up for the rest of the meal. I probably would have had room for the scallops however. I ordered the steak frites which came with a bearnaise sauce. While cooked as ordered, I was so full from the onion soup, I left half of it and took it back to the hotel with me since I had a small refrigerator. We will see how it tastes reheated. My friend ordered the pork which looked good. Again order the scallops.

          For desert we both had the peach desert which while on the smallish side was fine and not too heavy.

          As a final comment, while I haven't been to other bistros in DC, I thought this was well worth the money and the visit and will try to return and order better next time. I also felt that the staff reflected a caring attitude.

        2. Lowbar RE: dbound Aug 8, 2007 03:09 PM

          for anyone interested, i just had to cancel my 7:45 pm rez tonight (weds) for 2 at Bis due to a family emergency. should be available on opentable.

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            Scout360 RE: dbound Aug 10, 2007 07:55 AM

            I've never been and I was just wondering how formal the dress was?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Scout360
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              Elyssa RE: Scout360 Aug 10, 2007 07:58 AM

              For brunch I can get away with jeans and nice shirt.

              But I imagine for lunch and dinner its business casual. Certainly don't need a suit or tie or anything (although there will probably be people there dressed like that considering its also a big business place).

              For guys I'm sure a polo shirt or button down with khakis or slacks are fine. For women a nice shirt and black pants or a casual dress/skirt/sundress are fine as well.

              1. re: Elyssa
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                Scout360 RE: Elyssa Aug 10, 2007 12:22 PM

                Thanks! I figured as much, but I think it would be just as embarrassing to be overdressed as it would under.

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