100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 42 Bistro Bis

Apple tart is the star dessert at Bistro Bis. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

One expects that the Gallic classics will be handled well at chef Jeffrey Buben’s venerable Hill dining room, where servers in black vests stride among tables of well-heeled senators and staffers.

Still, the menu boasts more delicious surprises than the stiff suits and French onion soup would have you think.

Escargots, bistro workhorses typically drowned in garlicky butter, are perked up with roasted-garlic confit, saffron beurre blanc, and chanterelles, while salmon seared to a perfect medium arrives with silky pumpkin hollandaise, toasted seeds, and tender black rice. If there’s a place to go traditional, it’s desserts—the baked-to-order apple tart steals the show.

Don’t miss:

  • Roasted-carrot salad with cumin-yogurt vinaigrette
  • Beet salad with oranges and goat cheese
  • Mussels with Pernod
  • Steak tartare with porcini jam
  • Braised rabbit with poached pears and sage-mustard sabayon
  • Flourless chocolate cake
  • Selections from the cheese cart

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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 Logan Circle.

Anna Spiegel
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.