This week, Tom Sietsema visits Jacques' Brasserie, the recent addition to longtime suburban favorite L'Auberge Chez Francois. Deeming it worthy of two stars, the Washington Post critic finds old memories, newly relaxed rules and "new-old" dishes on the menu.
The memories of days gone by start with the 30-seat dining room outfitted with never-tossed furniture from the restaurant's original DC location and continues with the classic desserts like the "snow-white cheesecake" that Sietsema likes and the baked Alaska that he didn't. (That dessert is, apparently, "more Mamie than Jackie.") The critic even pulls out a comparison to 1960s culinary greatness:
"An entree of trout showered with slivered almonds is decorated with a garden of accessories — pared carrots, zucchini, potatoes and a wisp of puff pastry — that reflect a classical French sensibility of the sort you rarely see outside of a 1960s-era Time-Life 'Foods of the World' cookbook."
But, unlike the formal L'Auberge Chez Francois, Sietsema notes that the new addition allows diners to get away without wearing a jacket — and without doing too much damage to their wallets. The brasserie also ventures beyond the original restaurant's menu with new-to-them classic Alsatian dishes like the crispy tarte flambée and a hanger steak. [WaPo]
The Washingtonian's Ann Limpert takes a look at the revived Farrah Olivia, chef Morou Ouattara's "food-as-science-project" restaurant hosted in the private dining room of Kora. Limpert gives Farrah Olivia two stars and discovers that the food here is best when played with, like when it comes to "a nice but boring cut of filet mignon: Get a little foie gras butter and roasted-grape wine on the fork and it becomes transcendent." But, regrettably, not all dishes could be similarly saved: "an off-tasting roasted quail stuffed with grainy cornbread; dry goat-cheese gnudi; and stiff grits with candy-sweet cabbage." [Washingtonian]
THE BLOGS: The backlash begins! Mango & Tomato and EatMore DrinkMore both leave Shake Shack unimpressed; DC-Wrapped Dates gives Urbana another chance and finds "a vast improvement" over the last visit; We Love DC takes an early look at Luke's Lobster.
L'Auberge Chez Francois [Photo: Leila S./Yelp]