Following the model of WestEnd, Brasserie Beck, and Central, the place doesn’t look anything like the rickety, smoky bistros of Paris. The new space is decked out with splashes of red and large canvases of modern art. No more white tablecloths—the tables are dark wood with placemats and red votives, and there’s a communal table that seats eight on high, cushioned chairs.
Chef Philippe Piel might not have the big-name wattage of Central’s Michel Richard or WestEnd’s Eric Ripert, but as one of two head chefs at Cafe 15, he landed the restaurant on The Washingtonian’s 100 Best Restaurants list in 2007. Piel came to the States to help then-chef/consultant Antoine Westermann open Cafe 15 in 2002—he’d previously worked for Westermann at his three-Michelin-star Le Buerehiesel in Strasbourg, France.
Across the hotel lobby is the elegant Le Bar, which has plush banquettes, a menu of light fare such as salads, sandwiches, charcuterie, and now, all five varieties of fries from the dining room.
Ici Urban Bistro, 806 15th Street, NW; 202-730-8700; iciurbanbistro.com.