A few weeks ago we took advantage of Winter Restaurant Week in Washington, DC and visited Bistro Bis. Located within the George Hotel near Union Station, the website promises a “modern version of a French Bistro.” I didn’t get much of an intimate bistro vibe, unless you count the tiny tables crammed in together, but the food was definitely French and did not disappoint.
We started at the bar, but not by choice. We had a reservation, and upon arriving were told that our table for two wasn’t ready. Normally I might get frustrated, but we decided to make the best of it since we didn’t have other plans that evening. Plus, it was restaurant week. There were some hotel guests among the regular diners at the modern, well-stocked bar. Plenty of bar-area seating.
The maître d’ was very pleasant about the wait, checking our coats at no charge, and came to find us when our table was ready 20 minutes later. Unfortunately, it had taken the single bartender a full 20 minutes to get to our order at the busy bar. We brought our drinks with us back to our table.
(How great is that tin ceiling?) Down a narrow hall you’ll find the restaurant seating. As I mentioned, these were tiny tables in cozy quarters together. Our table for two was at the end, and while I was close to my neighbor I also appreciated that I could easily reach across and hold hands with my date. The open kitchen and conversations of our fellow diners made just the right amount of background noise so we could still converse quietly together.
French-inspired posters, like these above the open kitchen, were the main decor of this modern space. I love an open kitchen in any restaurant, but also appreciated the frosted glass at eye-level so that I could focus on my date rather than the chefs at work.
At long last, the food. Since it was Restaurant Week we did the three-course prix fixe menu. Unfortunately I failed to get photos of our appetizers (Steak Tartare and French Onion Soup) since we were starving at that point and devoured them immediately. They were both amazing (that, or we were really hungry), and I’d probably order each again.
Upon reviewing the current menu online, the appetizers were the same during Restaurant Week but it seems that the entrees have since changed. For entrees, I enjoyed sea bass with cauliflower puree, spinach and lentils. It was well portioned and really well seasoned.
My date tried the duck, a classic French dish. (sorry for the blurry pic.)
This was our view of the seating area as the restaurant cleared out during dinner.
We couldn’t leave without dessert. A triple-chocolate delicacy that seems to have been a Restaurant Week special, and a Citrus Creme Brulee that is still available. My choice, the creme brulee, was the perfect finish despite the fact that I’m a chocolate lover. It was creamy, fresh, decadent and not too dense.
I would definitely go back to Bistro Bis. It was a romantic date spot, food was good and the service from each person we encountered was outstanding, really overcoming the late table and slow bartender which could have tainted the whole experience. I’d definitely go back for appetizers and more of that citrus creme brulee.