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Eric Ripert restaurant t open next week!!


looks like it opens next week!

Foodies, who have been counting down the hours to the November 8th debut of The Ritz-Carlton's Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert, will rejoice that they have only one more week to go until they can taste Ripert's (of NYC's acclaimed Le Bernardin) take on classic French and American fare (think fish burgers with saffron aïoli and roast stuffed chicken). While the food – prepared by Le Bernardin's former sous-chef Leonardo Marino – is clearly the draw here, the bistro's sleek environs glowing with gold leaf and seductive lighting ensure it's a feast for all senses (1190 22nd St. NW; 202-974-4900).

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    1. Woohoo!! Quite excited about trying this one out. And the prices don't seem as insane as I originally thought they would be. Glad they have the menu up---there are some intriguing items. Mainly the fish burger and the mac, ham, and cheese side. Mmmmmm.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Elyssa

        Oh wow that is a good looking menu and the prices aren't bad at all. I hope the Eastern Market Salad is from the Eastern Market! I am excited about this one too! The Chesapeake stew might have to be a try for me.

        1. re: Elyssa

          $3/oyster, $16 for a lunch hamburger that does not sound exciting? Insane prices to me (Altho I admit I have bought the $28 burger at DB Bistro and thought it was worth it--but that was out of this world). And the website is irritating to say the least. But I'll give it a try

          1. re: tartuffe

            Well it's not the prices of dinner at Wolfgang Puck's new restaurant which I certainly will not be able to afford unless some kind benefactor is in town or a special occassion (birthday, anniversary, lottery winning).

            But this seems like something I can stop by (I live nearby) and grab a bite at the bar and I won't have to give up my first born. I've seen $16 for a hamburger more often then not these days. Yes it's expensive, but I'm hoping it's not at all similar to the type of hamburgers I usually eat (ahem Five Guys).

              1. re: Elyssa

                I think a $16 burger when having to order a side (fries) for another $7 is a bit much.

                1. re: Jeserf

                  what about a burger made w/ puree of foie gras as an ingredient w/ truffle carpaccio?

                  1. re: curious4food

                    Um, I would never eat anything with foie gras in it....BUT, if you order a burger, I'm of the belief that it should come with fries. I only excuse Palena because the lemon slices make it worthwhile.

                    And honestly, as much as I like the burger/fries at Palena, for 1/4 the price I can get a truly delicious burger and fantastic onion rings at dizzy izzies in BMore which I think actually tastes better. But I'm not sophisticated ;)

                  2. re: Jeserf

                    Are you sure that the $16 burger DOESN'T come with fries? It's possible that it comes with fries but someone can order a side of fries for $7 if their entree doesn't come with it.

                    1. re: KWynn

                      Very true...but I'm assuming for some reason that they'd say it comes with 'em. But I could obviously be very wrong!

            1. Thanks for the reminder- it was great to check out the actual menu! I just made reservations for next Friday, will report back on CH afterwards!!

              1. I know this is a bistro, but Le Bernardin is far and away the best seafood restaurant I've ever had the pleasure of dining in. I'm in Baltimore and I can't wait to go.

                5 Replies
                1. re: ko1

                  Nobody on here should expect this restaurant to replicate the Le Bernadin three Michelin star experience. Rather, similar to Central, Beck and the bistro in the Willard D. C. has found an exemplery style that serves us very well. Yet, none of these have anything in common with the restaurants that may have spawned them. They must be considered for themselves, for what they are which is a bistro experience done as well as, perhaps, can be found in America. Don't go to Central expecting Citronelle nor BistroDC expecting Le Bernardin. Just accept them for what they are which in their own way may be truly outstanding.

                  1. re: Joe H

                    agree w/ above post. yet, he is a 3 star michelin, 4 star nyt. wonder how he'll compare to the other "casual" eateries in the dc market...

                    1. re: Joe H

                      Another cautionary vote. The name says it all. This is a bistro, not La Bernadin. LB is my favorite restaurant anywhere)and I am glad that Ripert is not trying to duplicate that experience here [he can't]. However, given Ripert and his chef for Bistro [formerly of LB], I would gravitate to the seafood dishes rather than the burgers.

                      1. re: Dakota Guy

                        How about the seafood burger? :)

                    1. I know it just opened but has anyone been yet? We have a reservation for tomorrow night and want a sneak preview...

                      12 Replies
                      1. re: KWynn

                        I think today is the first day of service.

                        1. re: DanielK

                          So...did anyone go last night? I have a reservation for this evening and curious as to what people think...

                          1. re: cantdog

                            I did go last night, but I just sat at the bar, and had an appetizer and a couple of drinks. Both were quite good.

                            The place is gorgeous, and the bar is large, spacious, and not too loud. I will definitely be back.

                            1. re: DanielK

                              Details? What appetizer did you get? Were you able to just walk right in and get a seat at the bar (since for the time being this is probably all I'll be doing if I check out the restaurant any time soon)

                              1. re: Elyssa

                                I got there right at open, so I didn't have problems getting a seat at the bar. But the bar area is huge, and very well laid out, so except at true prime time, you probably won't have difficulty finding a bar stool or bar table.

                                Service was exemplary. I had a "Bourbonesque", which was ok, but needed more work to balance the flavors properly. Also the "Eric's Signature Margarita", which was fabulous.

                                For a snack, I had the Pate en Croute, which was very very good.

                              2. re: DanielK

                                Yes details please!! We're headed there tonight (come rain or snow, haha) so it'd be good to have some advanced feedback!

                                1. re: gyozagirl

                                  I went last night with my boyfriend and we did it all- from bar snacks and cocktails to dinner and then dessert. Here's what we thought...

                                  We arrived 45 minutes early for our reservation and were able to snag a bar table. The space looks great- kind of like Central meets Proof. By that I mean, it is darker and sexier than Central but not quite as dark and sexy as Proof. We were a little put of by the music, which was a little techno/clubby (they finally changed it to something more mellow around the time we ordered desert, at 11:30). We were able to snag a small cocktail table and proceeded to order cocktails and some bar snacks. (I should warn you that the next several lines are fairly critical as we didn’t have the most positive experience in the bar area but the rest of the night did make up for it) I ordered the Westend Cocktail, which was basically a Pomegranate Martini. It was refreshing but nothing to write home about. My boyfriend ordered a more interesting cocktail at our cocktail server’s suggestion- the Bourbonesque, which was Markers mark muddled w/strawberries and maple syrup. I am not a bourbon fan so I did not try it but he was very happy with it and it did smell delicious. We also ordered the truffle/parmesan popcorn and the marinated olives. We were disappointed in both- our big problem with the popcorn was that it was served cold. The olives were also served cold, pitted and fell flat on flavor. I could see a couple of cloves of garlic and a sprig of rosemary but I could taste very little beyond the garlic. I was hoping for higher quality olives and the flavor could have certainly been pumped up a couple of notches (I also prefer them warm, but I recognize that this is merely a matter or taste and opinion). The cocktail service was a little off but I only saw one cocktail server which tells me they probably weren’t expecting the crowd that they got.

                                  Next, we headed to our table in the dining room and began the serious eating. We started with the mini pork pies (served with mustard and some sliced house-made?? pickles) and the salmon rillette. I believe someone posted on the rillette already and their description was pretty accurate. The pieces of salmon in the mayo sauce was served with toast points and while not quite the creamy spread I was expecting, the flavor was very good and I really enjoyed it. The pork pies were also very good- reminiscent of a pig-in-a blanket meets an empanada (what’s not to like??).

                                  We moved on to another course of the tuna tartar and the crab cake and again, we were very happy with both. The tuna tartar was simple and gorgeous. The crab cake had almost no filling- also falling into the category of simple and delicious.

                                  For our entrees, I had the salmon and my boyfriend had the veal cheeks. My salmon came medium rare which I love and was very good. It came with asparagus and a buerre blanc. The sauce was a bit heavy for my taste but again it was basic but still wonderful. My boyfriend’s veal cheeks seemed to be the perfect winter’s dish- they were perfectly tender and the sauce they were served in was rich but still delicate.

                                  We ordered three deserts- the apple tart, the rice pudding, and the warm chocolate cake. The apple tart was described to us by our waiter as their signature desert but it was actually our least favorite. Again, we had a problem with the temperature and we felt that it should have been served warm rather than room temperature. It was fine but certainly not outstanding. The chocolate cake was the biggest hit. It seems that every restaurant does some version of a molten chocolate cake these days (and as chocolate is my weakness, I think I end up ordering each and every one) but this one ranked high. It was rich but not bitter and the inside almost tasted like brownie batter. It was served with rum ice cream, which was fine but the I couldn’t really make out the rum flavor over the rich chocolate. The rice pudding was also quite good- reminiscent of the rice pudding that you would be served in an Indian restaurant more than in a Jewish deli. It was bruleed and topped with dried fruit- creamy and perfume-y (from the honey, I assume).

                                  All and all, we had a very positive experience, especially considering that last night was their first night of service. Beyond the bumps we experienced in the bar area and the limited wine list, we found very little to dislike. Our service in the dining room was great- although they obviously had all hand on deck last night. Our server was very attentive but not intrusive. He seemed to know the menu very well and he was happy to offer his recommendations.

                                  I know this was a long review but I hope it was helpful....I also hope you are not judging me for all the food I managed to put away in one sitting!!

                                  Happy Friday :)

                                  1. re: JAC13

                                    Wonderful, expressive report. Thanks for sharing. And, three desserts: you already have credibility with me!!!!

                                    1. re: Joe H

                                      Yes, ditto. Thanks for the detailed report. We had a backup reservation at Hudson for tonight (still do as that is at 8 pm and Westend Bistro is for 7:30 and they couldn't push it back!) but are leaning more towards trying this out after reading your review. Oh, and I hope to get the veal cheeks as well! :)
                                      I'll also report back if we do go tonight.

                                    2. re: JAC13

                                      Why do you say the wine list was limited?

                                      1. re: Bonz

                                        I am so glad my review was helpful!

                                        In terms of my comment regarding the wine list...

                                        First, a disclaimer: my boyfriend is a wine nut so he can have pretty high expectations. Check it out for yourself- www.westendbistrodc.com. It is a decent list but it could be more interesting. Also, the list tops $240 or so a bottle- I think this seems fairly low considering the clientele of this neighborhood and the facts that they will be catering to the guests of the Ritz.

                                      2. re: JAC13

                                        Agreed- thanks for the great, thorough review!! After seeing the online menu and reading your review, the side dishes and appetizers seem to hold my attention more and more, but hopefully what we decide on tonight will be great too.

                            2. I am going tonight as well. I am going to try that fish burger. The Wall Stree Journal published the recipe for the fish buger early this year (It's a staff meal at Le Bernardin), which I made, and it was really good! Alot of people have been making comments that the menu is too simple. However, I have never heard that said about the very simple menu at Central, which is very good most of the time.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: DLB

                                The fish burger was excellent!! But I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

                                We went last night and it was very crowded, snagged a table at the bar to wait for our table, and waited...and waited...about 2 glasses of wine each (30 minutes after our reservation time), we asked the hostess about our table, and was told that she had been looking for us at the bar, but couldn't find us, so we'd get the next available table. A minor snag, but we were enjoying the bar scene and seeing Eric Ripert come up to speak with someone at the front of the house! Unfortunately we did not have any of the popcorn that someone mentioned here, I think because we were sitting at a table and not at the bar itself, so will know to catch some seats at the bar next time.

                                We were seated and offered 2 glasses of wine for the seating snafu, which was nice. However, then, we were not offered menus for about 15 minutes, and no servers by us in sight. It was very busy, and eventually a different server brought us menus, so it was fine. We ordered the pork pies to start, which came out hot and delicious. The pork was very tender and the pickles were very tasty as well.

                                Then, we got the Eastern Market salad, which was large enough for both of us to share, but otherwise more of a "good not great". I could make out mixed greens, cucumbers, peppers, and a few other veggies, and the truffle dressing was good.

                                For entrees we got the veal cheeks and the fish burger, with a side of fries. The fish burger is a good-sized patty that was perfectly browned, a little crispy on the outside but tender in the middle. It comes with a small side salad on the plate, which seemed like a basic version of the Eastern Market salad. The veal cheeks were tender and delicious- I don't even like mushrooms but I loved this dish. However it may be good to note that the portion was pretty small, in case anyone wants something more substantial as an entree. The side of fries are HIGHLY recommended- I loved the seasoning (pretty garlicky), and they tasted great even without the ketchup and mayo that came with it.

                                We got the chocolate-caramel cream for dessert, and the sea salt added another level to the taste. The portion was perfect for sharing, and it was a great end to the meal. We also got two glasses of champagne for dessert, and tried the house red (a pretty good deal, starting at $7 for a 1/4 carafe), which tasted very nice.

                                Overall it was a fantastic dinner, and I think that the only snags we hit were minor, especially considering it's the second day for the restaurant, and they were quick to remedy everything. The highlight was definitely being able to speak briefly with Chef Ripert at the bar on our way out- he was very nice and seemed very happy with his opening weekend. I would highly recommend this restaurant for anyone looking to try it out!

                              2. I went opening night and sat at the bar. I had the dogfish ale and fish burgers (comes with three small burgers), salmon rillette, and grilled shrimp. All were excellent, but the fish burgers and grilled shrimp really stood out. I'd recommend both, particularly the fish burgers, which really melt in your mouth. The salmon was OK, but a little fishy tasting, not as good as good a good order of salmon sushi, even though the fish here was raw.

                                1. Went opening night and went back again last night for drinks at the bar. Food-wise, the Pate en Croute (the pork appetizer described by others here) is probably the best thing on the menu. And the Veal Cheeks are definitely the way to go for your entree.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: Bacon Heather

                                    i went on Saturday night and it was great. We got there at about 8:15 for our 8:30 reservation and were seated at about 8:50, no big deal. The bar was nice and not too crowded. Between my party we had the tuna, salmon, chicken soup and potato leek soup to start. Everyone was very satisfied. For dinner 2 of us got the veal cheeks, they were unreal. They melted in your mouth. The others got the crab cake and the fish burger and were equally satisfied. For dessert we got the chaoclate/caramel creme and the brown sugar walnut tart. The tart was definitely the way to go. The service was very good and it wasnt too expensive. We will definitely be back!

                                    1. re: elegantelliot

                                      Going to Westend Bistro this weekend. Why isn't this restaurant more highly touted? The veal cheek and the fish burgers are the best dishes at a Ripert restaurant? What about the cod or skate? Anyone's been there since the opening rush?

                                      1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                        I keep hearing bad things, so I am eagerly waiting your report :) You seem to like some of the same things as me, so I will let you be the guinea pig on this one. Have fun!

                                        1. re: ktmoomau

                                          Have you heard any good appetizers other than the mini pork pies? I guess one can't err with mussels in white wine sauce.

                                          As for entrees, I'm tempted to order the Chesapeake Bay Stew, Cod, or Skate. Ripert's reputation is built on seafood, so going safe by ordering the veal cheek just doesn't seem right.

                                          Just looking at the menu - too simple and expensive for what it is. The execution almost has to be perfect to succeed - or does Ripert think the name will succeed by itself?

                                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                            Went there last night. We started with tuna carpaccio, pork pies and grilled shrimp. The tuna carpaccio was extremely bland, basically flavorless. The pork pies had very buttery and flaky crusts which makes you wonder how many calories they pack. These are tasty. The grilled shrimp was also pretty good. When it comes to entrees, I asked for the best fish and the waiter recommended the Cheasapeake Bay stew. My fiancee ordered the beef tenderloin. The tenderloin was overcooked. We ordered it medium and it was medium well to well done. The stew was okay. Any bouillabaisse in Nice would have matched it. So overall, not impressed.

                                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                              Thanks for your report, I think I will be skipping this place till I hear better things too many other good places.

                                  2. Todd Kliman of the Washingtonian writes a in-depth story about Eric Ripert's growing restaurant business in anticipation of Westend Bistro. Check the latest issue.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Minger

                                      Check my post which was moved to the Media Board.

                                    2. We went there on Friday night, and while Westend Bistro is by no means Le Bernardin (yes, I did dine there - once), it does do a very good job and I only wish there were more of these places around. Eric does seem to be expanding his empire slowly, so perhaps there's hope for something similar in NYC. After all, Daniel Boulud has Daniel, as well as DB Bistro Moderne (which I also loved). One can dream, because my budget won't accomodate dining at Le Bernardin on any frequent basis. I'd recommend Westend Bistro in a heartbeat.