Thursday, April 25, 2013

Le Grenier

Le Grenier is a charming new French Bistro on H St NE. French for “the attic,” the two-story bistro in the Atlas District reveals the offbeat shopping of co-owner Marie Ziar, who according to the Washington Post, "scoured eBay and salvage stores for the outsize bird cages, worn suitcases, old mirrors and headboards that dress her loftlike destination."  Closest Metro is Union Station.


Image via Washington Post
To support Dining Out For Life, we headed to Le Grenier for dinner as they were contributing 35% of each diner's bill towards the charity.  We had made reservations and the dining room was pretty empty when we arrived, but soon filled up.  The decor was simply elegant with French music playing in the background and a scowling French host that all added to the ambience.  The host's accent was very thick and while I took French in highschool and college, I could not understand him at first. Nevertheless, we perused the little menus that looked like school books and found a few appetizers that peaked our interest.

We enjoyed some crusty French bread with cold butter as we waited for our food to arrive. Keith ordered a French beer called Jenlain, which he liked.  It was a light blonde beer that changed flavor profiles later in the evening, when paired with certain foods. To start, we shared the Profiterole de Poisson, which was described as a saffron ocean cocoon set in puff pastry with Napa cabbage fondue and crayfish sauce.  The "cocoon" was an eggy ball of chopped fish sandwiched in a buttery puff pastry.  The crayfish sauce was incredibly rich and full of saffron and seafood flavor.  Keith enjoyed this dish more than me, as I found it a tad heavy.  More my style, was the light Tartelette Parisienne topped with mushrooms, Brie cheese, fine herbs, and crème fraiche.  This tartelette was like a mini pizza and the combination of flavors were so lovely.  I would be happy with just this tartelette and a glass of wine. C'est magnifique! 

For my main entree I chose the Marmite Normade, a bowl of rockfish, shrimps, mussels, Bay scallops, leeks, and potatoes in a white wine cream sauce. The fish was very tender and I appreciated the variety of seafood.  While the cream sauce had decadent flavor, it was incredibly rich and heavy - absolutely French - but a little too overpowering.  I had a similar dish in Paris but remember the sauce being much lighter and more like a typical mariniere style with wine and garlic.  Keith did not mind finishing my left overs and even enjoyed dipping the French bread into the extra sauce.  For his main entree, Keith ate the La Bergerie - a braised leg of lamb, served orginally with cardamon-sweet potato purée, but Keith substituted it for polenta instead. The dish also came with grilled asparagus, sundried tomato and a unique rosemary-lemongrass sauce.  The lamb was filling and the sauce brought out a caramel flavor in the beer he was drinking.  Overall, we enjoyed our meal at Le Grenier.  There were several other dishes that caught my eye including various galettes and crepes.  Brunch is also offered on the weeked - a glass of Champagne or a mimosa with a choice of one entree plus one dessert or one entree plus one appetizer - for $18.95.  Merci and au revoir, Le Grenier - until I see you again! 

Total Rating: 3.95
Food: 4, Price: 4, Service: 3, Ambience: 4, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:
Profiterole de Poisson
Saffron ocean cocoon, set in puff pastry, Napa cabbage fondue & crayfish sauce

Tartelette Parisienne
Mushroom, Brie cheese, fine herbs, & crème fraiche

Marmite Normande
Poisson de roche, shrimps, mussels, Bay scallops, leeks,
potatoes & white wine cream sauce

Plus Keith ate:
La Bergerie
Braised leg of lamb, served with polenta, grilled asparagus,
sundried tomato & rosemary-lemongrass sauce

Le Grenier on Urbanspoon

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