It seems it was only yesterday when Howard and I went to Bistro Lepic to check it out in its first week of operation, but guess what? That was 20 years ago. Co-owner Cyrille Brenac reminded me of this at dinner the other night, and the celebration that he and his business partner, chef Bruno Fortin, have planned. Through Sunday night they are offering a special menu that features "all our favorite dishes."
This restaurant is among the neighborhood's staples. Here's how it is is with my nearby friends: One of us calls the other and asks, "Want to go to dinner?" "Yeah, sure, where?" "Up or down?" Down is La Chaumiere, because it is down on M Street across from the Four Seasons Hotel, and up is Bistro Lepic, because it is on Wisconsin just above Reservoir Road. In either direction, we win. They are Georgetown's French clubhouses. I love them both and give them my vote as often as possible. (You "vote" by going)
Lepic has been so present in my life. I returned from France once to celebrate an important birthday with a group of friends in the upstairs private dining room. I've had lunches and dinners with many friends, and lovers, and would be lovers, and new and old acquaintances, business associates and various moms before afternoon carpool. And sometimes, carry-out. My son and I have frequent "family" dinners, and the beauty of it is the room is vibrant enough but soft enough to allow for a sense of "being there" but also conversation.
The canvases on the walls are the works of my pal Izette Folger and they reflect her quirky and thoughtful personality. We have had so many occasions to rendezvous there.
Cyrille and Bruno also own the delightful La Piquette in Cleveland Park, and if I could walk there -- as I can to Lepic and Chaumiere -- I would be there often. So very good. Cyrille is here in DC full-time, Bruno lives in Bali.
Lepic notably has a new chef, George Vetsch, who came to the restaurant from the wonderful C.F. Folks. (Spencer worked there with him; George was chef, Spencer was counter boy) At Lepic he's refreshed the menu while preserving the classics. My favorite dish is the sea scallops with ginger and broccoli mousse. The floating island for dessert. And I devour the bread. I love the soups, too.
I wish I had more photos in this post. For some reason when I'm there I just am there, not taking photos, and that's as it should be. I will try to get up there and take a few in the next couple of days. But here's the anniversary menu sent to me by Cyrille. You can book on OpenTable.
20 Years Anniversary Celebration Menu
♠ Appeteazers ♠
Salade Bistrot Lepic
Organic baby green salad with fried cherry tomato
Soupe du Jour
Mousse de foie gras
Chicken & foie gras mousse terrine
Salade de betterave au chèvre
Golden beet & apple salad with farm goat cheese quenelle
Salade d’endive au Roquefort
Endive and mache salad with apple, walnut and Roquefort
Escargots au beurre d'ail
Snails baked in garlic butter
Tarte à l’oignon
Onion tart with bacon and baby green salad
Pied de cochon
Crusty boneless pig feet, onion mustard sauce
Ris de Veau Vol-au-Vent
Sauteed sweetbread with mushroom fricassée Vol-au-Vent
♠ Entrees ♠
Pan seared trout, celeriac purée with onion apple julienne
Salade aux fruits de mer
Spring green salad with grilled salmon, shrimp, scallops and fresh fish of the day
Paillasson de saumon
Salmon in potato crust, baby spinach, garlic and dill sauce
Foie de veau provençale
Calf liver with capers, garlic, black olives and Jerez vinegar
Rognons de veau, sauce Dijon
Sauteed veal kidneys with chunky Yukon gold potato, Dijon mustard sauce (market availabilities)
Joues de veau braisées (Add $5)
Braised veal cheeks (osso-bucco style), Orecchiette pasta, basil and truffle oil
Poulet fermier au curry
Free range chicken breast with curry and currant Basmati rice
Médaillons de boeuf poêlés
Pan seared beef medaillons served with Gruyère polenta and wild mushroom jus
♠ Desserts ♠
Floating Island with crème Anglaise
Tarte au fruit du jour
Homemade fruit tart of the day
Fresh seasonal fruit & Chantilly cream
$39 pp - Excluding Tax and Gratuities