Bistrot du Coin
1738 Connecticut Avenue NW,
French cuisine deserves its own place on the food pyramid. Ranging from healthy to dangerously hearty, the often-savory flavors satisfy the soul in ways hard to find elsewhere. Some French chefs prefer to rely on very little seasonings, sometimes resulting in a bland experience. I prefer my comfort food to have a bolder presence. After hearing endearing murmuring from DC locals, I was eager to try Bistrot du Coin in the heart of Dupont Circle.
Walking into this classically quirky restaurant, I was immediately greeted with a swath of smells that yanked you on the nose, pulling you further into the experience. Wine and laughter flowed throughout. The sizable menu covered French basics and much more. I started with the French Onion soup. The broth tasted like rich, homemade beef bones simmered for hours with a hint of brandy. The perfectly crisped layer of cheese on top made for a fun finger food to satisfy my inner child.
We next tried the Moule à la Catalan, one of the dozen mussel dishes on the menu. While each of the options read like a sultry novel of ingredients, this particular dish in a light broth of white wine with vegetables was its own unique version of surf ‘n’ turf flavored with chorizo. And yes. It is acceptable to use your empty shells to lap up the flavorful broth. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. No one needs that kind of negativity.
The final course of Navarin D’Agneau (lamb stew) and Steak Tartare raised the bar. I generally don’t care for lamb due to the occasional gaminess, but this stew was tender with a simple, deliciously rustic flavor that enhanced the mushrooms and other vegetables in the mix. As for the Steak Tartare, this is the best I have ever had in my life. My first introduction to this dish was at Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles. I had no clue at the time I was ordering “raw” meat. (I thought the waiter said he doesn’t like “red” meat.) The entrée of raw meat was prepared tableside in a grand fashion intended for royalty. Since then, no other restaurant has come close to matching this level of perfection. While Bistro du Coin plates it and serves it without fanfare (a totally unnecessary step), the combination of ingredients was like Jesus Christ rising on Easter Sunday. The raw beef tasted like it was freshly cut off the cow. The other ingredients mixed with the beef produced an orgy of flavors that continued to explode in my mouth. If you are bored with the same menu options around you, I strongly suggest venturing to Bistro du Coin to break up the monotony. You will surely find an eclectic variety of options regardless of what you like.
- Michael Ritmiller is a Baltimore native and foodie whose professional career spans across a variety of research & development initiatives in addition to serving local non-profits that benefit the community. An avid believer in supporting small restauranteurs, Michael began writing for Baltimore OUTloud in 2018 with the intent of identifying who offers the “best of” dishes around town.