Yesterday we discovered that chef Janis McLean quietly left Bistrot Le Zinc in Upper Northwest for Penn Quarter’s Social Reform Kitchen & Bar. Taking her place at the French neighborhood spot: Swiss-born Herbert Kerschbaumer, former chef-owner of the now-closed Jack’s Restaurant and Bar in Dupont. He’s been at Zinc since June.
Kerschbaumer’s 17th Street spot was best known for its killer happy hour deals, but don’t wander up to Le Zinc in search of $3 cocktails—at least not yet. The chef says there’s a comprehensive happy hour menu being worked out for the fall, as well as weekend brunch and entire section of the menu devoted to mussels. For now, the chef and co-owner John Warner say they’re focused on lowering the price point at Le Zinc and making the eatery more widely accessible. Though certain staples remain—steak frites, mussels, onion soup—Kerschbaumer says he’s also pulling the menu in a more seasonal direction. Currently, that means lighter fare previously less prominent on the hearty bistro menu, such as gazpacho, lemon-chive crepes with crab, and roasted salmon in citrus sauce over asparagus risotto.
Been there in the past two months? Tell us what you thought in the comments.