L'Auberge Chez Francois
332 Springvale Rd.
Great Falls, VA 22066
Neighborhood: Great Falls
Open Tuesday through Friday 11:30 to 2 and 5 to 9:30, Saturday 4:30 to 9:30, Sunday noon to 7:30.
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Price Range: Very expensive
Noise Level: Chatty
Onion soup light on cheese and heavy on stock; crepe with chives, mushrooms, and Madeira-truffle sauce; grapefruit-mint sorbet; choucroute; chicken braised in Riesling with jus and haricots verts; broccoli purée; hazelnut soufflé; plum tart with cinnamon
Special Features: Wheelchair Accessible
Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.
François Haeringer, who founded this Alsatian restaurant 56 years ago, was a fixture in the kitchen and dining room until he died in June at age 91. But his son Jacques has long overseen the kitchen, so a lot remains the same: the amiable servers in red vests, the flowery decor, and the menu of old-school French fare, such as côte de boeuf, Burgundy-style snails, and a lovely lobster with butter and tropical fruits.
There are, however, some signs of change, most notably the creation of Jacques’ Brasserie, a dining room with a more casual à la carte menu of hanger steaks and thin, bacon-loaded Alsatian pizzas.
On both menus are such standouts as a crepe stuffed with mushroom duxelles, Roquefort and duck-confit salads, and dessert soufflés, plus the place’s star dish, choucroute garni, an array of sausages, bacon, and salt pork over sparkling-wine-and-apple-stewed sauerkraut (the meats get fancier in the main dining room). Fortunately, the Alsatian classic hasn’t changed a bit.
Also good: Onion soup; sole meunière; plum tart with cinnamon ice cream; baked Alaska with four ice creams.
Open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. Expensive to very expensive.