An Early Look at Bistro Bohem

The about-to-open eatery brings pierogi, schnitzel, and other Eastern European treats to 600 Florida Avenue.

Bohem's chicken schnitzel over potato salad; two of the house cocktails available at the bar. Photographs by Erik Uecke.

When it comes to pierogi, schnitzel, and other Eastern European delicacies, options in Washington are fairly limited. You can say the same about sit-down restaurants in the area of Florida Avenue and 6th Street, Northwest. Enter Bistro Bohem, a sliver of a Slavic eatery bringing 24 seats to the Shaw/LeDroit Park neighborhood this evening.

Prague-born chef Robin Jurek runs a kitchen that matches the cozy dining room–there’s space for two cooks, but no freezer or major storage–so the majority of the fare is made from scratch. Owner Jarek Mika, also from Prague, envisions a small-plates-focused menu that introduces guests to lighter portions of the duo’s hearty culinary traditions, such as grilled Bavarian bratwurst, chicken schnitzel, and halusky, potato dumplings with sautéed onions and sauerkraut. Those looking to really dig in can choose from a few daily specials like slow-braised pork over mashed potatoes or beef goulash with bread dumplings.

A Czech-run restaurant wouldn’t be complete without absinthe and Czechvar Lager, and Bistro Bohem has both in addition to Julius Meinl coffee and wine. Spins on classic cocktails made with European ingredients include the Bohemian Margarita with gin, mead, and lemon juice; or a Fernet martini with ginger-infused vodka, Fernet Branca, and lime juice.

An outdoor patio is in the works for warm-weather sipping. Mika is also in the process of expanding into the former Zee’s Restaurant space next door, which will become Cafe Bohem by day. The cafe will serve a morning and afternoon menu of pastries, cakes, coffees, and open-face sandwiches; at night it’ll provide extra seating for the bistro. Bistro Bohem has its soft opening this week.

Bistro Bohem. 600 Florida Ave., NW; 202-506-0019. Reservations accepted by phone and OpenTableOpen Tuesday through Sunday, 5 PM to midnight.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.