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November, 2004: Lavandou

There are few more pleasant dining experiences in the city than a fall evening at this pretty Proven├žal bistro with the windows open to the bustle along Connecticut Avenue.

Lavandou (moderate). There are few more pleasant dining experiences in the city than a fall evening at this pretty Provençal bistro with the windows open to the bustle along Connecticut Avenue. This is a very well-run restaurant serving satisfying, well-prepared traditional bistro food.

Dependable starters include escargots with garlic and basil butter baked in eggplant, a coarse-ground country pâté, and a rich and smooth duck-liver terrine. The pâté and terrine come on the charcuterie platter, listed under "salads," along with smoked duck breast, garlic sausage, dry-cured ham, and a salad of green beans and walnuts. It's enough for two to share.

Good main courses include a lamb stew with artichokes and tomatoes and a pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon. The only disappointment has been calves' liver, well cooked but not well trimmed. The dessert special on a recent visit was a wonderful dish of fresh figs stewed in red wine and spices and served over vanilla ice cream.

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