Bistrot du Coin
1738 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20009
Neighborhood: Dupont Circle, Downtown
Cuisines: French, Breakfast
Open Sunday through Wednesday 11:30 AM to 11 PM, Thursday through Saturday 11:30 AM to 1 AM, Sunday 11:30 AM to 4 PM.
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Nearby Metro Stops: Dupont Circle
Price Range: Moderate
Noise Level: Rowdy
Grilled scallion salad with duck gizzards; onion soup; pate de campagne; blanquette de veau; rump steak and fries; daily specials, such as lamb with ratatouille.
Appetizers, $5.25 to $14.75. Entrees, $13.95 to $23.95.
Special Features: Wheelchair Accessible, Kid Friendly
At lunch, Bistrot du Coin has a sense of leisure that encourages one to dawdle over an aperitif before deciding whether one is in the mood for a pate de campagne followed by a soothing blanquette de veau, or a crock of onion soup and an open-face sandwich topped with smoked salmon. At night, stools at the zinc-topped bar are at a premium, and the sound and energy levels go up.
This is as much a Dupont Circle neighborhood bar as it is a restaurant. Drink prices are reasonable: A glass of the very good house Champagne is $7, and Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label--$15 a glass around town--is $10 here. Ricard, the largest-selling aperitif in France, is a bargain at $3.95, and the connoissieur's Cognac, Hine "Rare and Delicate," is a steal at $6.50 for a generous snifter. The wine list, a collection of French country wines, offers delicious reds and whites at fair prices.
Bistrot du Coin averages more than 400 customers a day. In the past year chef Yannis Felix's kitchen has grown inconsistent. What one expects to be a gloriously crisp-skinned duck confit arrives with the pale skin reminiscent of a hotel-banquet chicken. The tartiflette--originally a heroically rich gratin of potatoes, bacon, and Reblochon cheese--lately was a mush of overcooked potatoes and gloppy cheese. And the once-wonderful Nicoise tripe stew is sometimes served with more potatoes than tripe.
To dine reasonably well while enjoying the hubbub, consider a wonderful salad of grilled scallions with a confit of duck gizzards; a consistently good onion soup; the thin, flavorsome rump-steak and fries that are the standard of Paris cafes; and the daily specials--such as a plate of wonderful rib chops of lamb served with a classic ratatouille--which nowadays seem more dependable than the dishes on the set menu.