clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Raw scallop crudo, pink grapefruit, pickled pear, and fennel.
Rey Lopez for Bistro du Jour

Filed under:

D.C.’s Charming French Cafe Bistro du Jour Saunters Onto Capitol Hill

The all-day Parisian playground swings open on Monday, September 18

Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

For its latest act in D.C., Knead Hospitality + Design wakes up extra early. The new Bistro du Jour brings Capitol Hill an elegant spot to enjoy whipped yogurt parfait, quiche, and brioche French toast starting at 6:30 a.m.

The fast-growing restaurant group’s second Bistro du Jour opens today inside the new 271-room Royal Sonesta Washington, DC Capitol Hill (20 Massachusetts Avenue NW). With breakfast, brunch, lunch, happy hour, and dinner out of the gate, Bistro du Jour caters to hotel guests, nearby residents, and transit-oriented staffers hopping off the Metro and going to Congress. On weekdays, the 200-seat bistro gets up 90 minutes earlier than its original edition on the Wharf.

“There’s not a lot of good restaurants in D.C. that do breakfast [beyond] egg sandwiches and standard omelets,” says Jason Berry, who co-owns Knead with Michael Reginbogin. “We both love breakfast and we’re finding it’s easier to find staff to work in the morning.”

The Paris-Brest, named for the famous cycling race in France, is a refined, wheel-shaped play on bagels and lox. Another nice way to start the day is a half-grapefruit topped with Champagne and caramelized cardamom with madeleines for a side kick of carbs.

“It feels like you’re eating something healthy, with sugar on top to sweeten the morning,” says Berry.

Paris-Brest (smoked salmon, choux “bagel”, everything spice, hard-boiled egg, horseradish cream cheese, pickled cucumber, red onion, salmon caviar).
Rey Lopez for Bistro du Jour

Like its 2-year-old counterpart on the Wharf, the catch-all cafe serves other morning delights like flaky pastries, its popular Plat Américain (eggs any style, bacon, crispy fingerlings, and a croissant), and fresh-squeezed juice. As the day progresses, there’s salmon ratatouille, pea broth-based gnocchi, skirt steak frites, coq au vin, and plenty of Champagne pours. With much more room to play with, the 6,000-square-foot sophomore locale houses the brand’s first full bar and a 75-percent larger menu.

Debut dishes on Capitol Hill include soufflé au fromage (Gruyere cream and truffle) and dover sole with fresh green grapes, vermouth chervil sauce, and mushrooms.

Orzo Al’Homard (butter-poached lobster, orzo risotto, truffled crème fraîche).
Rey Lopez for Bistro du Jour
Vol-Au-Vent de Champignons (puff pastry, wild mushrooms, poached egg, Comte, baby spinach, truffle cappuccino).
Rey Lopez for Bistro du Jour

Top-selling starters making their way to Capitol Hill include gougères (warm cheese puffs) and macaron au foie, a salty-and-sweet compilation of chicken liver mousse and fig jam. Other familiar favorites include French onion soup, Lyonnaise and tuna Niçoise salads, a croque madame sandwich dripping with bechamel and gooey Gruyere, mussels swimming in white wine and garlic butter, and a double-patty “L’Americain” cheeseburger. Kids can partake in a single-patty version or pan-roasted salmon with fries.

Bistro du Jour’s expansion comes on the heels of a major year for French food in D.C., with a sea of fresh options continuing to show up all over town.

“The cuisine feels eclectic and familiar. You can find something for everyone on the menu,” says Reginbogin, adding “we’re going back [to France] in a couple of weeks to make sure we did it right.”

Knead Hospitality + Design, which put together the look in collaboration with //3877, imports the same mosaic-tiled flooring found at the Wharf.
Rey Lopez for Bistro du Jour

Taking tips from a Parisian garden, the Capitol Hill design includes hand-painted murals of the French countryside, brass wall sconces, and wood-treated columns made to resemble flower baskets. “It’s a brighter, lighter, adult version of a traditional French bistro,” he says. Read: no vintage French signs, little crochet curtains, or cute subway tiles in sight.

“It’s a cleaner, classic, and contemporary hotel aesthetic that dresses up nicely and welcomes various styles of dining,” says Reginbogin. “You can come in jeans and a T-shirt or a three-piece suit.”

The addition of a lounge is a first for the local hospitality group, which is also behind Mi Vida, the Grill, Gatsby, Succotash Prime, and Mi Casa. The all-day feature, outfitted with banquette seating and brass screens, transitions into a darker and moodier setting at night.

The rosy bar is outlined with illuminated crystals for a lampshade-like effect.
Rey Lopez for Bistro du Jour

A marbled bar framed with soft pink stools showcases France’s beloved Kronenbourg beers on draft, French aperitifs, and classic champagne cocktails like a Kir Royale with Creme De Cassis, French 75s, and an Elderflower Spritz made with St. Germain. In-demand green Chartreuse makes its way into the Champs Élysées and At Last cocktails.

Colette’s Punch (mango-infused vodka, rhubarb liqueur, cassis, ginger, lemon, and bubbles) also comes in a communal format.
Rey Lopez for Bistro du Jour
At Last (Ford’s Gin, green Chartreuse, Luxardo, Maraschino liqueur, clarified milk, toasted coconut, orange bitters).
Rey Lopez for Bistro du Jour

Weekday breakfast runs 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. (and starting at 7 a.m. on weekends); lunch and brunch runs 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and dinner is served from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. (and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays). Weekday happy hour (3 p.m. to 6 p.m.) features $8 cocktails, $6 beers, and discounted food.

Bistro du Jour Capitol Hill marks Knead’s 20th restaurant to date and the first of many openings in the group’s pipeline. Look for up to five new locations and brands to pop in the next year and at least two more in 2025.

Éclair Aux Oignons Et Au Foie (chicken liver mousse, whipped Gruyere, port wine-caramelized shallots, cornichons).
Rey Lopez for Bistro du Jour

View all menus below:

DC Restaurant Openings

It’s Endless Summer at the Wharf’s Whimsical New Little Chicken

DC Restaurant Closings

Pizzeria Orso, One of the Region’s Best Pie Places, Has Closed

Coming Attractions

Bethesda’s Dining Boom Continues With the Arrival of Levantine Hit Ala