When chef Daniel Boulud opened his new DBGB DC restaurant on Friday night, he got upstaged by a baby. It was his son, Julien, who arrived with mother Katherine after dark, as the crowded party hit maximum capacity and volume. it was only a matter of minutes before the whole family, including Boulud’s daughter, Alix, were pounced upon by photographers. Julien, in red bow tie and red-and-white-striped socks, appeared to take it in stride, as if this is what happens whenever he goes out with his famous father.
Boulud has restaurants in nine cities around the world, including New York, Singapore, and London, but DBGB DC is significant because this new venture is a kind of homecoming. Boulud started his career in the US in Washington, in the early 1970s, when he arrived from France to be chef to the French ambassador to the European Union. From DC it was off to New York, and the acclaim and awards followed. He has eight restaurants in Manhattan.
DBGB DC, a bistro concept that intersects French and American fare, is located at the new CityCenter complex in downtown near the Convention Center. It opened to the public on Saturday, but Friday evening was the “grand opening” party for 350 invited guests. They were welcomed with house cocktails and buffet tables of Boulud specialties, ranging from pâtés and sausages to hand-carved roasted lamb with couscous and an assortment of cheeses. Servers passed Boulud’s signature hamburgers (a version with crabcakes topping the beef patty), plus fried calamari, cheese gougères, and smoked salmon canapés.
Also on hand to wish Boulud well were chefs Patrick O’Connell of the Inn at Little Washington, Mark Furstenberg of Bread Furst on Connecticut Avenue, and chef/television personality Carla Hall, who lives in Washington; as well as media, publicists and notables of Washington’s food community, including La Piquette owner Francis Layrle, who has known Boulud since the early days in DC, when Layrle was chef at the French Embassy.
Find Carol Ross Joynt on Twitter at @caroljoynt.