I was hoping that maybe if I said his name 3 times fast he would show up, and my life would be complete ... but he isn't here and I'm hungry :(
Lucky for me I happen to work just three blocks from Eric's DC restaurant - West End Bistro - and I have had the pleasure of going there twice, and hopefully will get to go many more times in the future. My last occasion - and the prompting for this review was on Christmas Eve (yea I know, I planned on writing this a while ago ... but time just flies away). I had the occasion of bringing my lovely friend Lauren with me for a great candle-lit, pre-mass dinner - at which we had an amazing time.
You'll have to forgive me, because I don't remember what we had on this occasion and I might be thinking of the other time I went -- but either way I have tried the food and it is absolutely amazing. I will say it right now, West End Bistro is one of the best restaurants in DC.
I will start with the most important course of any meal I am at - drinks ... we both ordered margaritas. When I say these margs were perfection, I'm not kidding - they were amazing (and also $12 each, so you clearly got what you paid for). I can't speak for the rest of their drink menu, but something tells me that if you are bothering to make a margarita that good (and your speciality isn't margs), your other drinks will be amazing as well.
For appetizers we got the Calamari - which I didn't not try - but Lauren said it was absolutely amazing. And I am fairly certain I had the Pan Roasted Quail - which was amazing. Perfectly cooked and just generally amazing.
For the main course I got the Classic Burger - with Cheese. Now, it would seem kind of odd that I would get a burger at such a 'fancy' restaurant - or that Ripert would even bother putting it on the menu ... but trust me on this one - try it. I had read somewhere (I think maybe in Washingtonian) that Ripert claimed to have perfected the burger. He apparently tooled around with different recipes, sizes of buns, silces of vegetables, etc ... and eventaully found something he thought was perfect. I am fairly certain he figured it out. While I am a fan of messy burgers with all kinds of different toppings, and generally will order burgers - I rarely find one that I really say WOW, I want that (aside from Five Guys). Ripert has done that, and I'm not really sure how, but I was quite impressed.
Lauren got the Shrimp and Grits - an interesting combination in my mind, but one she really enjoyed. I honestly didn't try them - but I'll take her word on it that they were good.
We also shared some helpings of the Mac & Cheese and the Green Beans as side dishes - both of which were cooked fairly well. I was not overly impressed with the Mac & Cheese, I generally prefer mine to be cheesier, but it was very well cooked - and flavorful. I would be pleased if I served that to any guest in my home, so once again good job Chef Ripert. And the Green Beans were lovely as well.
West End Bistro is truly one of the best restaurants in DC ... pony up the cash and go.
Tim Shea: 5/5
Sidebar: Apparently Eric Ripert is getting his own show on PBS this fall - read about it here.