Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Westend Bistro: Good but not the Best in the 'Hood

Eric Ripert's Westend Bistro is one of those places that has been on my must-try list for quite some time, but with such, delicious and varied options in the neighborhood (like Ris and Grillfish), B and I did not try it out until just this past weekend.

On a whim, rare for two type A planners that are notorious for making restaurant reservations weeks ahead of time, we called a half-hour in advance (following some potent and retro-priced martinis at Martins in Georgetown), and were able to secure an outdoor table on an unseasonably warm October evening.   We appreciated the last minute table on the patio, a pleasant, candle-lit space.  But, once seated, we discovered that 22nd Street is a highly trafficked roadway complete with semi trucks and tour buses.  Couple that with the adjacent fire station, and you have a veritable traffic symphony -- so next time inside!

The food overall was good to great. Bottom line, you can find better for the price in the immediate neighborhood (see above).  While the chef is known for his shortribs, the standouts were of the crustacean variety. If you do go, you will not be disappointed with the escargot and mushroom casserole appetizer, which brings out the earthiness of both, in a tender, buttery preparation perfect for a fall evening.

The shrimp and grits were bathed in a spicy tomato sauce with house-made chorizo.  The flavors gave this low country classic the feel of a paella.

The aforementioned shortribs were fork-tender, served over truffled mashed potatoes with root vegetables, but the depth of their flavor in no way compared to Central's take served over papardelle.

The wine list, is brief, but offers both reasonable options and splurge-worthy bottles.  We opted for a mid-priced Pinot Noir.  

The service was attentive and knowledgeable, including  the hostess catching B and I before we left one of our shopping bags at the table (must have been those martinis and that Pinot!)  Our dinner with two appetizers, two entrees, and a bottle of Pinot Noir, tax, and tip was $185.

Westend Bistro on Urbanspoon

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