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Nov 7, 2007 09:12 PM

Bistro Du Coin

Alright. I searched through the board and while this place have been mentioned, there's no thread strictly about it.

I've been to this place (based on recs here) a few times, and here's what I have to report.

First time was a Thursday night after a movie. My overall first impression was good. This was definitely the type of place I could see coming on a regular basis. I like the noise, the hustle/bustle, and the old school french menu. However, the food on that night missed the mark. My partner and I ordered some basic favorites - steak tartare and duck confit. The tartare was mush and under seasoned while the confit was stringy and over seasoned. However on that night the service (we ate at the bar) was right on point. The bartender was attentive and made a great martini.

Second time was a complete opposite. Wednesday night around 9:30. The place was still pretty busy so we stood at the bar and ordered a round of drinks while waiting for spot at the bar to open up. After about 15 minutes a patron leave only to have the bar stool I've been patiently waiting for to be taken away to someone who've came in way after our party. I asked the bartender (a different one from last time) why did he gave the barstool away. He said that the other patron ordered food while he was standing up, and when I said I too was going to order food if I was given the chance he said, "OK FINE!" Wow. Food was good this night because we ordered steaks. (yes - we all can grill up some steaks....)

Long story short - he subsequently made me a wrong drink, didn't provide our party with plates and utensils, and was basically dismissive and rude. I know this is supposed to be french bistro, but I'd bet they didn't need to (falsely) flash the french attitude!

Anyways. I'm sure lots of fellow chowhounds will think differently - but this is my experience there and honestly I give it my "take a good look around...." ratings because chances are I'm not going back.

Honestly - Bistro D'Oc got much more authentic food (hello boudin noir!) and better service. I knew I shouldnt have wasted my time.

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  1. This is why I love Chowhound - we can all agree to disagree. I really like Bistrot du Coin - it's a default spot for us. However, we tend to try to go at odd times to avoid the worst crowds, and therefore our service is usually good. If we're going during a normally busy meal period (Sunday brunch or weekend dinner), we ALWAYS make a reservation. Some food choices are better than others - you just can't go wrong with steak frites or mussels. I also like the onion soup. Those little dumplings/ravioli on the starter menu are awesome. Service can be brusque, but I've always found it to be efficient. Also, the wine prices are quite reasonable. That's my view. I've never tried Bistro D'Oc (I know Elyssa will encourage me here!) because every time I finally decide I see another negative review (it was recently panned in a TomChat). So maybe I should try it for comparison!

    1 Reply
    1. re: dcandohio

      Just like Dcandohio Bistro du Coin is a default spot for me as well. I live in the neighborhood and when I want to sit at a little table, have some decent food, and read I go there sometimes. Is it the best bistro food? Not really. But it's good enough if you order the right thing. I like the steak frites, the french onion soup, goat cheese salad, roast chicken, and most of all the salmon dish with leeks and polenta (very tasty). The service is only so-so but sometimes they recognize me as a regular which is nice.

      That being said...Bistro D'Oc is SOOOO much better! For everything I like at Bistro du Coin, it's 10 times better at Bistro D'Oc. The restaurant is more quaint, quiet, and relaxed. The service isn't over the top but it's good enough. It's not that far away from Bistro du Coin in terms of metro stops so it's worth a trip to just try it out either before a show at the theaters in the area or a movie at E Street Cinema. I was actually very surprised to hear that Tom didn't like the place that much (I wouldn't say he "panned" it necassarily). Every meal I've ever had there has been consistent and delicious.

      Plus I should mention that at both restaurants the price is spot on. I know a lot of people mention better french food in the area but a lot of those places are a little more expensive then du Coin and D'Oc.

    2. Well, as dcandohio says, we can agree to disagree. Bistro du Coin is my least favorite bistro in all of Washignton. I think the food is mediocre and I do not like the noise and the hustle and bustle. But that's just me. If you want great Frecnh bistro food try Bistro D'Oc or, my favorite, Bistrot Lepic. But then I like good food, good service, and quiet ambiance. Others differ.

      1. How does the cassoulet compare between Bistro du Coin vs Bistro D'Oc?

        1. Similar to others, Bistro du Coin used to be our default spot. The food was fairly priced and they did basics fairly consistently (moules frites, etc.). Service could be brusque, but not so much of a deterrent.

          Last time we went, we were really disappointed. The house wine was swill; the moules portions had been cut back (curry style); my food (a duck special I think) was "eh" and the frites were cold and lacking their usual addictiveness. Service was more than just brusque; they were virtually absent and we had a hard time ordering more drinks, and other items.

          We'll probably give it another try for nostalgia's sake, but there are two many other places we like for it to remain a default. Such a shame.

          And we'll definitely have to try Bistro D'Oc sometime.

          6 Replies
          1. re: takajin

            The one item I was really, really disappointed in was when I got Bistro du Coin's mussels. They really lacked flavor and were far from cooked to perfection. The broth was very watery and I left disappointed and still a tad bit hungry. (Because I didn't feel like dipping my bread in the left over broth which slightly resembled dish water). They didn't even come close to the mussels at Brasserie Beck which I thought were spectacular.

            1. re: Elyssa

              Wow I'm impressed with my fellow chowhounds. This is one of the few times people disagree in a civil manner. I applaud all the posts here. And I too agree to disagree, Bistro du Coin is the spot i go to when its late and i just want some well priced wine and mussels, steak, or pate (which isn't that good), it actually reminds me more of a place to hang out and grab a bite than a destination dining option.

              1. re: cleveland park

                Yes, thanks, we have been civil! I think most who post on this board are very respectful of differences. But to add a food note - those curry apple mussels at Brasserie Beck rock. Truly. Still enjoy a steak frites at Bistrot du Coin as a late lunch, but I promise to try Bistro D'Oc soon. I do like La Chaumiere, but last time I was there we had a spectacularly terrible server (wine spilled on us without much more than an extra napkin and a muttered "sorry"). I've never had Bistro Francais for more than lunch, which is fine. Need to get to Bistro Lepic also.

                1. re: dcandohio

                  Ok I give in! I haven't been to Bistro D'Oc in a good 4 months or so. That's where I'm eating dinner tonight! :) All this talk about steak frites has just about sent me over the edge. My problem is always deciding what to get because the steak frites AND the duck confit are personal favorites of mine.

                  1. re: dcandohio

                    I love the apple caramel tart at La Chamiere, and they do some things well (Boudin Blanc). But last time I was there, I ordered Cassoulet, which was overboiled, overseasoned, terrible stiff texture in the beans, inedible meat and sausage. To their credit, they allowed me to order another entree without additional charge. However, the second dish that I ordered (moules mariniere) came out smelling like a road apple ... I went hungry that night and it broke my heart.

                    I will go back for that tart, and for the cozy dining room, but never again a full meal!

                    1. re: Torina

                      La Chaumiere is more of a French country restaurant than a bistro. That aside, I have never had a bad meal there; I am sorry that you had a bad expereince. Their Tuesday special crab crepe is wonderful. And I agree, that their tarte tatin is one of the best in town.

            2. Went there tonight, sat at the bar and had a fantastic experience. This place replicates that french bistro feel perfectly, for better or for worse. I started out with the salad au lardons, and the bacon was as good or better than any I remember in France. It was like artisan bacon. Then I moved on to the cassoulet. Excellent, and just what the doctor ordered, as was the bread and butter. I had the house Bordeaux (which they call "cabernet") and it was too tannic and not fruity enough for my taste, but it was fitting with the experience, and did actually go pretty well with the cassoulet. All in all a good experience, and one I'd recommend if you're a francophile and homesick for the real deal. It hit the spot for me, and also seemed to do the same for the guy next to me who had the boef bourgignon.

              1 Reply
              1. re: MichaelG

                We went today and had a good experience. The onion soup was fantastic and the fries were hot and crispy. Very good fare for the price. Reminded me our Au Pied de Cochon in Georgetown in the 80's. Good cheap bistro fare.