Here I thought I'd have to go back to Mon Vieil Ami on the Isle St. Louis in Paris to indulge in chef Antoine Westermann's luscious pate en croute. Looks like it'll be just a dangerously short stroll away at Cafe du Parc, the Willard Hotel's new bistro, which opens today in the former Chanel Boutique at the Willard Complex.
Westermann, a Michelin-starred native of Alsace, is overseeing the menu and has brought a fleet of Paris-trained chefs to work with Willard executive chef Daniel Kenny. The blue-awninged bistro will be open all day: There’s an informal cafe and carryout for morning brioche and afternoon "petit plats" and pastries downstairs, and a more restaurant-y dining room upstairs.
Besides pate en croute, the classics-gone-slightly-modern menu includes veal bundles, duck confit, and vegetable-stuffed tomatoes (Westermann is known for his way with vegetables at Mon Vieil Ami). In the coming weeks, look for an outdoor cafe, along with the return of the Willard's very Parisienne sidewalk cafe, which debuted last summer. Maybe you’ll even see an artist or two across the street in Pershing Park — the Willard is partnering with National Park Service to spruce it up.
In the meantime, I'm hoping Westermann will transport his veal breast with vegetables en casserole across the pond. As delicious as the pate en croute is, with its ethereal pastry and earthy pate, the veal breast, by turns crusty and tender, is a hall-of-famer.
Cafe du Parc, 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW; 202-942-7000; Cafeduparc.com.