Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Le Chat Noir


rhodegirl
 Share

Recommended Posts

I hesitate to write these words for fear of jinxing things, but Le Chat Noir might be the neighborhood restaurant we've been hoping for in the Friendship Heights/Tenleytown area. I'll offer these caveats: the restaurant has been open less than a month and we’ve only had two dinners there. But both meals were excellent and we enjoyed ourselves so much, I thought I’d start to spread the word.

It’s a bistro style menu, featuring dishes such as onion soup, pate, quiche, steak frites and crepes. Over the course of our two dinners, we tried each of these classics, figuring if they could do these dishes well, it would be a good sign. (I was also inspired by Russ Parsons’ wonderful LA Times piece about quiche, in which he points out how this much maligned dish, when prepared as it should be, can be sublime.)

I’m happy to say the quiche at Le Chat Noir is quiche as it was meant to be. The custard filling is creamy, with sautéed mushrooms scattered throughout, the crust is flaky, and the top is a perfect golden brown. (On the second visit, we tried the bacon quiche, which was even better than the mushroom, mainly because…well, it involved bacon.) It’s a generous portion, served with a mixed greens salad or fries.

The onion soup, another dish that was mistreated and in danger of becoming a cliché in this country back in the seventies and eighties, is done the way it should be, as well. The pureed vegetable soup was also very good.

The steak frites: the steak, cooked medium rare as requested and served with a pat of butter on it, was tender and flavorful, and the fries were nice and crisp. (I believe the steak was entrecote.)

We also enjoyed the terrine de canard, which was served with carmelized onions, cornichon, olives and crusty bread, and a buckwheat crepe with spinach, ham and crème fraiche, served with a mixed green salad and ratatouille.

The address for Le Chat Noir is 4907 Wisconsin Avenue.

It’s a small restaurant, with mustard yellow walls, funky tulip-shaped light fixtures and a faux tin ceiling. Diners who are seated along the wall sit on long, comfortable dark wood church-pew-like benches. Each table is covered with a white tablecloth and white textured butcher paper. The front room has large mullioned windows on three sides, with black walls and trim and a red ceiling. The place has a warm, relaxed atmosphere, with lively French music and servers who speak French. It’s a charming little escape.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks much. I'm always looking for a place to tuck into some Bistro food when it's nasty outside and all you want to do is open a bottle of burgundy and eat some cassoulet, and snails.

Edited by Fred (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks much. I'm always looking for a place to tuck into some Bistro food when it's nasty outside and all you want to do is open a bottle of burgundy and eat some cassoulet, and snails.

Hmmm, I don't remember if they have cassoulet on the menu. If your heart is set on it, you might want to call ahead to check. :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most of the tables were filled on both the weekend nights we went. In fact, one night, by the time we were leaving around 8:15 or so, there were people waiting for tables. Our waiter said they've been busy on Friday and Saturday nights, but the weeknights have been much slower. (By the way, I believe they are also open for lunch on weekdays and for brunch on Sundays.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is open for lunch. We stopped in today and, for the most part, I'd echo what Rhodegirl says. A decent neighborhood place. The atmosphere and menu are bare-bones bistro and the cooking seems competent. Pissaladiere Provencale was good, steak frites, onion soup and dessert crepes were fine. A limp, Wonder Breadish croque monsieur was the only real disappointment.

According to the waitress, they are open "all day, every day" and have been filling up most evenings on word-of-mouth in the surrounding area. The owner is the former manager of Bistro Francais and just about everybody else, including chef and sous chef, jumped ship from Lavandou.

In general, I'll happily go back when I'm in the area, but I wouldn't drive across town.

"Mine goes off like a rocket." -- Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, Feb. 16.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've noticed this place but haven't tried it yet. I was impressed to see multiple people there each time I've passed by which was never the case with the place that used to be there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Any reason this place shares a name with the other Le Chat Noir in DC? Seems like an odd decision, like naming a new place in DC "Le Disco Neuf Heure et Demi".

K

I believe the original Le Chat Noir was/is a cabaret in Paris, there are a lot of bistros/cabarets/restaurants named after it. There's another one I know of in New Orleans.

"What, after all, is more seductive than the prospect of sinning in libraries?"

Michael Dirda, An Open Book

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Slightly off-topic, but....for anyone interested in learning more about the original Chat Noir, located in the Montmartre district of Paris at the turn of the (19th/20th) century, check out the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at the National Gallery of Art.

One of TL's contemporaries, Theophile Alexandre Steinlen, painted the famous poster.

"What, after all, is more seductive than the prospect of sinning in libraries?"

Michael Dirda, An Open Book

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back to the restaurant, I went here on Thursday night with two friends. First of all, the service was atrocious!! It truly took them half an hour to come to our table to offer us a drink. I was infinitely patient because one member of our party is a friend I have not seen forever, so I was on my best behavior. Also, I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt since this is a new restaurant. The problem was that there was one couple providing service to the entire restaurant. Two people took all orders, delivered food, and sat people. They MUST hire more help.

Okay, rant over, onto the food: for a neighborhood spot, I was pleased. I started with a salad with roquefort, walnuts, mixed greens and raspberry vinagrette. Admittedly a ubiquitous combo, but this was very good. Not too heavily dressed and a nice balance of flavors.

As my entree I ordered the chicken with mushroom sauce and subbed an order of french fries for whatever usually comes with it. This surpassed my expectations. The chicken was truly delicious and the flavor of the mushroom sauce was bursting with mushroom-y goodness. The fries were great as well. Crisp, fresh, yummy.

My friend ordered a dessert crepe which had chocolate, chopped pistachios, whipped cream, ice cream. I had a bite and it was pretty good. She said she wanted to lick the plate.

Would I return? Probably because it is in the neighborhood, but they MUST work on the service!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I`ve not tried this place yet , but that salad you decribed sounds same as Panera Bread`s salad. Panera has this on their menu , with walnuts , baby greens,roquefort cheese (as the blue cheese) and raspberry vinegar.

strange :hmmm:

Corduroy

General Manager

1122 Ninth Street, NW

Washington DC 20001

www.corduroydc.com

202 589 0699

Link to comment
Share on other sites

just about everybody else, including chef and sous chef, jumped ship from Lavandou.

Any chance they'll have a free corkage night?

Jake Parrott

Ledroit Brands, LLC

Bringing new and rare spirits to Washington DC.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...