Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bistrot du Coin

Mark and I continued our tour of rarely-eaten (by us!) European cuisine tonight with a trip to Bistrot du Coin, located just off Dupont Circle at 1738 Connecticut.  I'd always read and heard great things about this place, including raves from one of my favorite D.C. blogs, The Bitten Word, but because neither Mark nor I typically ever crave French food, it'd gone by the wayside.  Somehow, though, the beautiful weather put me in the mood for some French bistro food, and Bistrot du Coin fit the bill perfectly.  The food was all very good (with a couple of stand-outs), the service was friendly and attentive, and the atmosphere was warm and welcoming.  Another great neighborhood find!

Click below to see what we ate!

Every time I've ever walked by Bistrot du Coin, it has been absolutely packed, so we headed there early, around 6 - we also had to get back in time for the ill-fated (for me) NCAA match up between Georgetown and Ohio University at 7:25.  While most of the restaurant stood empty, we were seated in the cozy little corner by the window. 

After perusing the humongous menu for several minutes, Mark settled on the Salade de chèvre chaud, a warm goat cheese salad with walnuts.  The goat cheese was beautifully flavored with rosemary and thyme, and melted atop a thick slice of crusty, chewy brown bread. 

Salade de chèvre chaud

I went fancier, ordering the Foie gras frais poele, risotto de sorgo truffe, sauteed foie gras with barley risotto and truffle sauce.  I rarely ever order foie gras, but as soon as I saw this dish I had to get it, as I've been loving me some barley risotto lately.  The dish was as decadent  and delicious as you can get - the foie gras, seared so that it had a nice thin crust on the outside and drizzled with truffle sauce, dissolved on my tongue in a rich cloud of flavor.  I love barley risotto, and this was a really great example of why - the firm bite of the barley really stood up well to the thick, creamy sauce.   
 Foie gras frais poele, risotto de sorgo truffe

For his entree, Mark got the Entrecote Grillée, Sauce Béarnaise, the grilled rib-eye with french fries and Béarnaise sauce.  He thought the steak was solid, but nothing outstanding, and really liked the creamy Béarnaise.  He also enjoyed the fries, noting that they were nice and crispy, and not overly greasy. 

Entrecote Grillée, Sauce Béarnaise

Wanting something a little more rustic, I got the Tripes à la mode de Caen, beef tripe stew with white wine, herbs, celery and carrots.  I grew up eating this delicacy, and get a little thrill whenever I see it on a menu.  Bistrot du Coin prepared its tripe very well, cooking it until tender, yet still a little chewy, and enveloping it in a hearty, well-salted and flavorful stew.  The vegetables were cooked perfectly, too - soft, yet avoiding mushiness.  I ate every last morsel and used the complimentary crusty bread to sop up the remaining savory liquid.

 Tripes à la mode de Caen

Finally we ordered 2 desserts, first of which was the a chestnut mousse, with candied hazelnuts.  This dish was right up my alley, with the creamy mousse just the slightest bit sweet (most of the sweetness came from the hazelnuts on top).

Chestnut mousse with candied hazelnuts

We also ordered the "La Tropezienne," brioche with custard, orange blossom and a light custard sauce.  The custard was really yummy and very reminiscent of a Creamsicle (in a good way!).  I thought the proportion of custard to brioche was a little off (too much bread) but I still really enjoyed it, and Mark did, too.

 La Tropezienne

I can definitely see why Bistrot du Coin is such a favorite - it offers really solid food at good prices, in a comforting and unassuming atmosphere.  I regret that I didn't have room to try one of the really tempting varieties of mussels, but not to worry - it's in my neighborhood, so I think a return trip at some point in the near future is a no-brainer.  

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