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L'auberge Chez Francois or Obelisk

DCGUY5 Oct 2, 2007 06:11 PM

I realize that one is French and one is Italian, but my Wife and I want to celebrate our anniversary in a great restaurant. We want the food to be fantastic with an emphasis on great seafood, great desserts, fantastic service and stick around the $60-70 price point. We have been to 2941 many times and that is our benchmark. Citronelle is out of the question due to price.

Anyone been to either place recently??

Thanks for any thoughts....

  1. m
    mrothstein Oct 14, 2007 01:15 PM

    Question about Obelisk for those who have been there. Is it accomodating to someone who doesn't eat meat? I'm sending someone to dinner as a gift, and Obelisk sounds wonderful, but she only eats fish and pasta or vegetarian entrees, and with a set menu I don't want her to have to skip half of what's available.

    Thanks for any responses.

    5 Replies
    1. re: mrothstein
      DCDOLL Oct 14, 2007 01:37 PM

      I think you would be ok. I would ask them when you make res if they can accommodate a vegetarian and i'm sure they would. I agree w/ everyone on how good it is...the best place in Dupont. And you could go just down P street to Urbana for a before dinner drink. We ate at Obelisk a few weeks ago and the Brunet cheese was the best cheese we have ever eaten....and hubby is a Cheesehead!

      1. re: mrothstein
        whiner Oct 15, 2007 03:52 AM

        YES YES YES YES!!!!

        It is incredibly accomodating. Call before you go, but your friend will NOT be dissapointed. Along with Taberna del Alabardero, it is the most vegetarian-accomodating high-end restaurant in DC

        1. re: mrothstein
          mrothstein Oct 19, 2007 10:11 AM

          DC Doll and whiner, thank you both, you just made the sale ;-)

          1. re: mrothstein
            whiner Oct 19, 2007 08:03 PM


            As I said, tell them 1 day before you go. When I went with my (now ex) girlfriend, we did this and when we showed up they told her 12 things they could prepare for her and asked her to create her own 6 course tasting menu out of them :-)

            1. re: mrothstein
              DCDOLL Oct 21, 2007 02:03 PM

              You will love it. Ask for the table by the window so you can look at all the envious folk outside!! The first course was really multiple courses...and EVERYTHING is homemade. I was almost full before the pasta course even came! You get the antipasti course (which was the one with about 4 different things when we went), pasta, main course (usually a fish, meat & chicken choice), then the cheese course and dessert. Let us know how the veggie meal was...i'd be very tempted to order it my own carniverous self next time! (i can take or leave meat actually...)

          2. Geoff Oct 4, 2007 07:41 AM

            My one experience at LCF was a few years ago, so no comment there. I love Obelisk, and was most recently there within the last month. Outstanding food in an intimate setting, per usual. if your standard is 2941, i'm not sure you're looking for this kind of setting?

            3 Replies
            1. re: Geoff
              DCGUY5 Oct 4, 2007 11:45 AM

              "if your standard is 2941, i'm not sure you're looking for this kind of setting?"
              Geoff - what do you mean by that? Also, thank you everyone...we'll check out Obelisk!!!

              1. re: DCGUY5
                Geoff Oct 4, 2007 11:52 AM

                Obelisk is a small, casual and intimate space. 2941 much bigger, just had a different feel to me. Not bad, just different.

                1. re: Geoff
                  whiner Oct 5, 2007 03:23 AM


                  Yep. The food at Obelisk is outstanding. The feel is unlike many restaurants of similar (or in most cases, subordinate) quality. It is small, intimate, and casual. For example, the chairs are wickr and your server may be wearing jeans. But, that does not make the restaurant feel any less special.

            2. f
              food dude Oct 4, 2007 05:28 AM

              I think Chex Francois is the most over-rated restaurant in the city.

              6 Replies
              1. re: food dude
                Pappy Oct 4, 2007 05:59 AM

                I think it's DisneyLand on the Potomac pretending to be a restaurant, complete with the seven dwarfs as waiters faking a french accent and a chef who thinks covering the food with an overreduced sauce will make people pay $75 for it.

                1. re: food dude
                  dpan Oct 4, 2007 06:23 AM

                  I went there once and was tremendously underwhelmed. I just don't understand the rave reviews about this place.

                  1. re: dpan
                    bordeauxfan Oct 4, 2007 06:26 AM

                    I think the rave reviews are based on people's nostalgia of 20 to 30 years ago, when driving out beyond the Beltway into bucolic Northern Virginia felt like a rural experience.

                    1. re: dpan
                      Indy 67 Oct 4, 2007 06:36 AM

                      The chef's roots are Alsacian, and I've eaten well by ordering the classics of that region. Admittedly, I only eat there once a decade! That's as often as I work up sufficient enthsiasm for the decor and heavy food.

                      1. re: Indy 67
                        dpan Oct 4, 2007 07:33 AM

                        The dish I had during that visit was their version of the old Alsatian standby - a Choucroute platter with assorted smoked meats. The choucroute was way overcooked and tasted like it came out of a can. I've had choucroute in France and this bore very little resemblance of a very simple but satisfying dish. That was why I was very disappointed.

                        1. re: dpan
                          applerochez Oct 8, 2007 12:41 PM

                          i agree that platter verged on disgusting--i got to l'auberge every year and usually get the briand... the last time i strayed and truly regretted it.

                  2. b
                    bbw05 Oct 3, 2007 08:48 AM

                    Chez Francois is excellent - the food is 100% top notch. But, it is very very expensive. With a good bottle of wine and a 5 course meal, we have never gotten out of there for less than $300 for 2 people. Even without a good bottle of wine, you are still lookng at $200. So if price is an issue for you, this isn't your best bet.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: bbw05
                      DCGUY5 Oct 3, 2007 09:02 AM

                      Thank you. $200 total for the 2 of us would be great. We're not big wine drinkers (maybe 1 glass between the 2 of us) so I think with tax/tip we could make it out of there for $200.

                      1. re: DCGUY5
                        Ziv Oct 4, 2007 07:22 AM

                        A friend took me to Chez Francois, and it was a beautiful meal. Casual, friendly, excellent, unobtrusive service. The food was nearly the best I have ever had, though no one dish was superlative, they all were very, very good. The tarte was pretty memorable, as were the tournedos and the seafood medley was a daily special and it was outstanding. Phenomenal meal!

                    2. d
                      Dakota Guy Oct 3, 2007 05:49 AM

                      Of the two, I pefer the intimacy and imaginative cooking at Obleisk. Neither are particularly know for seafood. If you want an "emphasis on great seafood" I would recommend Black Salt, Hook, or Pesce. All have outstanding seafood although I wouldn't call any of them "fantatastic" for service. None of the restuartants that I (or you mention) are in the $60-70 price point. For what you state you want, I would be thinking in the $100 range (each) for an appetizer, entre and dessert (tax, tip, and drink extra).

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Dakota Guy
                        DCGUY5 Oct 3, 2007 07:35 AM

                        DG - Obelisk is a $65 price fixe that includes everything (tax,tip drinks extra) and LB is also a fixed price between $60-$70 ish.

                        1. re: DCGUY5
                          Dakota Guy Oct 3, 2007 07:51 AM

                          Thanks. I have eaten in both places and didn't recall it being so inexpensive.

                      2. w
                        whiner Oct 3, 2007 02:28 AM

                        Not in the past two years, BUT...

                        I was at both about 3 years ago. Obelisk, at the time, at least, was the better restaurant, without question. It is very intimate and very casual for a restaurant of its pedigree, but in a way that makes it even more romantic.

                        1. l
                          Lauman Oct 2, 2007 07:23 PM

                          My husband and I celebrated our anniversary at Obelisk a few weeks ago and we loved it! We were in the mood for great food in a more relaxed atmosphere than Citronelle and we found it. It was a prix fixe dinner at $65 per person. Almost every course was fantastic and the service was very friendly while also very professional. We can't wait to go back. I highly recommend it. Just note that Obelisk is a very small and intimate restaurant -- maybe a dozen tables. So, reservations in advance are important.

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