100 Best Restaurants 2008: Bistro Bis

No. 27: Bistro Bis

Cuisine: Contemporary French bistro cooking—robust flavors, light sauces—at high prices.

Mood: Warm woods, a roaring fireplace, and attentive servers make this subdued hotel restaurant feel cozy even when it’s nearly empty. The bar/lounge is a happening scene when Congress is in session.

Best for: Congressional types on the make, denizens of Capitol Hill, and diners who can’t get enough of those French classics.

Best dishes: Duck-liver “parfait” topped with fig compote; mussels steeped with linguiça sausage, roasted peppers, and cilantro; garlic-and thyme-perfumed duck confit over gigantes; an unconventional boeuf bourguignon, the meat braised in a mini-slab and served over house-made noodles; crispy French fries; tarte normande with caramelized apples; toffee-and-chocolate bread pudding; vanilla ice cream that tastes like frozen custard.

Insider tips: Parking in the garage across the street is free with restaurant validation in the evening; handing the car off to the hotel valet will cost $22. The markup on wines by the glass makes half bottles and bottles savvier choices.

Service: •••½

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.