When I fist moved to D.C. the Atlas district was still in transition. With the addition of Le Grenier, H Street’s new French restaurant; the Atlas District has completed its transition into an area for true Foodies. Joining the ranks of notable H Street restaurants such as Boundary Road, Granville Moores, and H & Pizza, Le Grenier has quickly and quietly carved out a niche as H Street’s premier date spot.
Fellow blogger of Stuff Jewish Girls Like and also one of my best buds joined me for dinner. Her beautifully floral teal cocktail dress matched perfectly with her two toned tan Manolo Blahnik pumps and slightly mussed hair, fit in well with the rustic French farmhouse theme of Le Grenier. La Vie en Rose played softly in the background as we studied the menu. In an effort to be less gluttonous, we decided to split an entrée.
There were two obvious choices the fish of the day and duck. We quickly came to an agreement on the duck. Our other choices might have been a matter of national security given the amount of debate and scrutiny that went into the selection. We finally decided to try a savory crepe, the frog legs, the french fries, the duck pate, and the endive salad. We asked the server to leave room for dessert, though I mentally giggled at this. What was he going to do;yank the fork from our hands? As we were about to deliver our executive decision to our server, a cup of the most perfect looking French Onion Soup passed by our table, throwing our choices into disarray. We quickly went back to the drawing board, dropping the savory crepe from our list of selections in favor of the French Onion Soup.
After making our selections, our server, Daniel, asked how we would like our food coursed, recommending that hot appetizers be brought out at the same time. While we waited we sampled some of Le Grenier signature cocktails. My dinner companion went with a cocktail entitled the Orient Express described as a Persian saffron infused Wray & Nephew rum, ginger confit, Cointreau, lemon juice, club soda. I went with the Le Petit Chaperon Rouge a High West “Son of Bourye” whiskey, lemon, honey, French truffle liqueur, garnished with a whole slice of ginger. We sampled both cocktails. My friend ended up being jealous of mine; I agreed. The Le Petit Chaperon Rouge was a pleasant blend of spice and liquor that warmed all the way down.
Our first course of frog legs and French onion soup arrived. I found both delectable. The French onion soup was raved about on yelp, by other customers in the restaurant, the wait-staff, and by the end of the cup both my friend and I. I have not had the good fortune to visit France, but people who have had the soup in both places suggest that Le Grenier’s offering is as good if not better than what they have had abroad. The savory onion broth was topped with a layer of cheese almost an inch thick with spots of browning that looked as if a painter had put them there for the sake of beauty.
The presentation of the frog legs was somewhat less impressive after the beauty of the French Onion soup, but I found them perfectly seasoned in a herb sauce. My companion found them a bit chewy, but upon trying them myself they were exactly the texture I remembered from the frog legs I had as a youth on the Mississippi Bayou. It was definitely a dish vaguely reminiscent of childhood.
We also ordered the duck pate. While the presentation was nothing special, the taste was earthy, perfectly complimenting the crusty french bread it was served with. We also tried the french fries: tasty, crispy, but not earth shattering. My friend and I made a vague attempt at being healthy, ordering the endive salad. We were less than impressed with the bitter flavor of the endives. From the way the table next to us wolfed the dish down it was obvious that endives just weren’t out things. Anyone who is already a fan of endives would be in love with this salad.
We ordered the Duck entrée, served with millet. It was my first time having this particular grain, but it will be far from the last. Grapefruit reduction seemed an odd choice, to be paired with duck. Once it hit my taste buds, I decided to stop second guessing the chef and put myself in his capable hands. The duck entrée was comparable to the best I had ever had.
I imagine finding myself at Le Grenier on cold winter evenings, enjoying the crusty bread and the French Onion soup. Le Grenier is an immediate favorite to the H street family. And if I may offer a recommendation to anyone looking for a date spot, this restaurant wont disappoint.