Friends, I went to Westend Bistro recently.  I didn’t go the first day they opened, but I went!  I don’t think you could have talked to me for 5 minutes without me saying, “I’m going to Westend.  You know, Eric Ripert’s restaurant.”  To say I was excited and looking forward to going is like saying, “Children like candy.”  Unfortunately, it turned out to be more like the day you found out who Santa really was (which I won’t say here, I don’t want to burst any bubbles!). 

  • Food: I was so severely disappointed with the meal, I don’t even know where to begin.  The menu had tremendous promise.  My friend and I asked our server which app to get since they all sounded fantastic and he suggested the grilled shrimp and quinoa herb salad.  The shrimp was severely over-seasoned to the point it was almost bitter.  The quinoa herb salad was interesting — glad we tried it (since it’s so  healthy) but I don’t think I’d run to order it again.  Then I ordered the skate in brown butter sauce with braised endive.  It was fine, but there was nothing on the plate that said, “Eric Ripert, 3-star Michelin Chef.”  Don’t get me wrong — the skate was cooked perfectly and the braised endive was tasty.  But I didn’t feel like any of it was special or unique.  My friend ordered the Halibut with seasonal vegetables in garlic butter.  She said it was good, but again, there was no “wow” factor.   Finally, we split the warm Valrhona chocolate cake with malted milk chocolate and rum ice cream.  This was by far the best part of the dinner.  If we hadn’t ordered it, we would have walked out sad from our dinner.   
  • Service: Our server was very polite, but I wonder if he tried any of the food on the menu.  I believe that the servers know what’s really good (or at least we used to know when I worked at a restaurant), but our’s didn’t. 
  • Atmosphere: Despite the fact we had reservations, we still waited in the bar for almost an hour.  I felt like the Seinfeld episode where the car rental service didn’t have Jerry’s reservation for a car.  I wanted to say, “See, you know how to take the reservation, you just don’t know how to *hold* the reservation and that’s really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody can just take them.” 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$$
  • Overall: You know, considering the prices and what we ordered, it wasn’t worth it.  I can’t believe I’m saying that — and it pains me tremendously.  I really want to love the place so I am going to try their fish burgers and/or classic burgers with an order of their fries.  I have a feeling that’s what you should get there — at least for now.

Details:

  • Basically, reservations are required.
  • Hours: Lunch (starts in Dec): Mon-Sat 11:30 AM-2:30 PM; Dinner: Sun-Thurs 5:30-10 PM; Fri & Sat 5:30-11 PM; Sunday Brunch: 11:30 AM-2:30 PM
  • Address: 1190 22nd Street NW; Washington DC 20037
  • Ph: 202-974-4900
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Went to 15ria with a couple of friends who love food more than I do. So when we get together, watch out! Ha ha, just kidding. But it is always fun to go out for food with them. 

Here’s something else — you can bring your own wines (corkage fee applies). 

  • Food: For the table, we ordered the $3.50 sides of Lobster Mashed Potatoes and Mac and Cheese.  Two of us ordered the Grilled Steak and Arugula Salad (Balsamic Apples, Chevre cheese, crispy onions, port vinaigrette) and the other ordered Smoked Beef Brisket (Ciabatta bread, Fontina Cheese, caramelized red onions, roasted tomato mayonnaise).  I liked the steak salad — it was light and I felt like it was healthy.  We all tried the brisket sandwich was good and very creamy.  I agreed with the friend who said it needed salt.  It was cooked well though.  The Lobster potatoes were very good, but the star of the meal was the mac and cheese.  So creamy, bacony, and smokey — YUM!  I would definitely order that mac and cheese again!  And I can see craving it too!

Steak Salad   Brisket  Lobster Mashed Potatoes  Mac & Cheese

  • Service: Good, but our server was way too attentative.  We were trying to catch up and he kept trying to clear plates that we were clearly working on.  Then when we said we were working on it, he asked about dessert. 
  • Atmosphere:  It was casual and they definitely offer the comfort food. 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$
  • Overall: Their mac and cheese is quite possibly one of the most fantastic items I’ve ever tasted.  The rest of the food was decent, but there’s no doubt I’ll be coming back for the mac and cheese.

Happy Hour: Daily 5-7:30 PM; $1 off all beer, wine, liquor

Details:

  • Reservations recommended.
  • Hours: Breakfast M-F 6:30 AM-11 AM; Sat & Sun 7-11 AM; Lunch M-F 11:30 AM-2 PM; Dinner 5:30-10 PM daiy; Sunday Brunch 11:30 AM-3 PM
  • Address: 1515 Rhode Island Ave, NW Washington DC, 20005 (It’s in the Doubletree Hotel)
  • Ph: 202/742-0015 

**Update 11/20/07: I went.  Click here for my review.**

Super Chef Eric Ripert’s Westend Bistro will be opening on November 8th.  No doubt the line will be ridiculous, but it will be worth it.

His new restaurant, according to Zagat buzz, is going to be “classic French and American fare (think fish burgers with saffron aïoli and roast stuffed chicken).”

As if I didn’t love him already, he has this great quote on his Web page, “A cook and a chef are different entities.  A Chef is a title…but when you are a cook, that is who you are.  It’s your spine and your soul.”

I will definitely being going shortly after it opens, hopefully, I can convince a foodie friend or two to go with me. 

I promise to give you all a full report!

Details:

  • Reservations accepted.
  • Hours: Lunch (starts in Dec): Mon-Sat 11:30 AM-2:30 PM; Dinner: Sun-Thurs 5:30-10 PM; Fri & Sat 5:30-11 PM; Sunday Brunch: 11:30 AM-2:30 PM
  • Address: 1190 22nd Street NW; Washington DC 20037
  • Ph: 202-974-4900