January, 2005: Bistro Bis, Hotel George

Attention to detail at Bistro Bis made it an immediate favorite with its high-profile clientele.

2005 100 Very Best

It's a tribute to chef Jeffrey Buben's skill as a manager that even though Bistro Bis and its sister restaurant, Vidalia, have lost chefs de cuisine in the last two years, the high quality of cooking and service at both places has continued. Attention to detail at Bistro Bis made it an immediate favorite with its high-profile clientele. Its bar has become a popular Capitol Hill watering hole, and its booths are filled lunchtimes and evenings with members of Congress, Hill staff, and lobbyists. The atmosphere is attractive enough for a business meal, casual enough for a drink and a snack.

The menu of updated bistro classics is very well executed. Appetizers include a rich duck-liver pâté nicely paired with fig jam. Brandade de Morue, purée of salt cod with potatoes, is garlicky and good. Duck confit, crisped and served in a ragoût of beans, duck sausage, and roasted tomato, may be the best in town. Pork tenderloin is wrapped in bacon and served with roasted apples and savoy cabbage. Beef Bourguignonne–made from short ribs braised to tenderness and served with perfectly cooked vegetables–is a nostalgic treat. Another treat, after the main course, is a selection of cheeses from fromager Mark Sunderland's cart. A combination of the familiar and the unusual, the cheeses are always in perfect condition.

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