The St. Gregory Hotel is now home to an elegant European bistro helmed by an Oval Room alum.
Ellington Park Bistro debuted on Saturday, November 5 at the foot of the sleek, 155-room hotel situated at the nexus of Dupont Circle, the West End, and Georgetown (2033 M Street NW).
The 4,500-square-foot space sprawled across the lobby was formerly home to Tredici Enoteca, a Philly-based Mediterranean wine bar and restaurant that arrived in 2016 and closed right before the pandemic (and was St. Greg Kitchen & Bar after that).
Named after D.C.’s famed jazz pianist Duke Ellington — and his eponymous park across the street — Ellington Park Bistro reactivates the 90-seat dining area with French onion soup and oven-roasted escargot swimming in absinthe butter. Other starters include beef tartare mixed with caper berries and piccalilli, a Maine lobster or bacon tarte, charcuterie and cheese boards, a rotating crudo with grapefruit and shiso, and oil-cured tuna Niçoise salad.
Veteran D.C. chef Frank Morales’s diverse cooking background includes recent stints at downtown power spot Oval Room (now La Bise) and Alexandria’s modern American eatery Rustico, along with Penn Quarter’s acclaimed Zola back in the day.
Morales got his start at NYC’s legendary Le Cirque, and Ellington Park Bistro marks his long-awaited comeback to French cuisine. Opening entrees under his watch include Arctic char with lime-pickle Swiss chard and a carrot-ginger reduction; beef bourguignon topped with buttery potato puree; or chestnut-dotted bucatini in a forest mushroom ragu.
Each day of the week is devoted to a different dish for Francophiles. There’s duck confit Tuesdays, seafood bouillabaisse Fridays, and New York strip au poivre Saturdays.
Ellington Park Bistro is open for breakfast (7 a.m. to 10 a.m.) and dinner (5 p.m. to 11 p.m.) daily. Reservations can be made on OpenTable.
Manning the bar program is D.C. mixologist vet Taha Ismail (Willard, Zaytinya), whose opening cocktails pay tribute to Ellington’s classic songs. That include the “Prelude to a Kiss” (gin, creme de violette, lavender, lemon, egg white) and “In a Mellow Tone” (altos reposado tequila, El Silencio mezcal, calamansi lemon, and pineapple). Cocktails range from $16 to $19 and most mains run $30 and up.
Decadent desserts fit for a Parisian cafe include citrus mille-feuille with golden ale tuile, calamansi mousse, and lemon creme fraiche ice cream; creme brulee with agenoa bread, honey feuille de brick, and burnt honey ice cream; and matcha cake with lemon cremoux and cucumber sorbet.
Ellington Park Bistro is the latest hotel restaurant in the vicinity to enter the duck fat fries game; longtime contenders include Blue Duck Tavern and Bourbon Steak.