- The Magazine
“I love bistros,” says Joshua Laban Perkins, chef of the freshly-opened L’Hommage Bistro Francais. “I started at Bistro 122 when I was 15 years old. I jumped out of bistros in my early twenties to get Michelin star experience. And then as soon as I got my first chef position, it was right back into a bistro.”
Perkins, whose chef experience includes the Brasserie Le Coze in Atlanta and The Grove Grill in Memphis, where he was named a “Top Three Chef” by Memphis Magazine, is commited to finding the absolute best ingredients possible. For instance, common heavy cream with 40% milkfat wouldn’t do for Perkins — he searched until he found one with 46% milkfat.
This attention to quality is why L’Hommage owner Hakan Ilhan hired Perkins.
Perkins and his team — which includes chef de cuisine Taylor Pierce and pastry chef Nicole Shirley — is keeping the menu fairly traditional. Starters include classic onion soup, steak tartare, duck terrine and escargot. And among the selection of salads is an endive salad with a Dijon vinaigrette and a chilled shrimp salad with gazpacho and avocado.
Entrée options include fried chicken liver fettuccini, steak frites, beef bourguignon, and coq au vin. L’Hommage also offers Moules-frites (mussels and fries) four different ways: marinière (white wine, butter, shallots and garlic), à la diable (a spicy tomato broth), a curry lime broth with coconut milk and kefir, and monagasque (chopped tomato, red onion, garlic and basil).
One dish Perkins is particularly excited for Washingtonians to experience is his roasted chicken.
“I’ve gotten decent press for my roast chicken in the past,” he says, noting, “It’s the same recipe I’ve been using forever. It’s a a very classic home-style, hearty chicken dish.”
Dessert options include a selection of fruit tarts, crème brûlée, and profiteroles, as well as Opera Cake, a coffee sponge cake with hazelnut cream and chocolate ganache. In addition to preparing desserts and breads for diners, Shirley will operate the restaurant’s retail bakery, L’Hommage Boulangerie. It will offer a comprehensive selection of breads and pastries as well as coffee service.
The layout and decor of L’Hommage is a nod to the many turn-of-the-century casual restaurants found throughout the arrondissements of Paris. Frequented by locals, these bistros served as a gathering spot for friends and family, an extension of the home, and gave rise to French Intellectualism in the 20th century. Although L’Hommage, with its 170-seat main dining room and spacious bar, is larger than a traditional French bistro, it strives to maintains a comfortable closeness for convivial interaction throughout the restaurant, which is loosely organized into five sections so patrons can choose their level of experience.
L’Hommage’s climate controlled, glass enclosed wine room serves as a dramatic backdrop in the main dining room and divider for the semi-open kitchen. It houses an extensive collection of over 200 French wines emphasizing all regions of the country, with prices ranging from $28 to $575. Currently, 20 wines are available by the glass, along with eight wines on tap, with prices ranging from $8 to $15 per glass.
There is also an 82-seat patio with bistro tables, red and white wicker chairs and crimson umbrellas, reflecting a timeless Parisian style, a spot to enjoy items from the bakery and the a la carte kitchen.
L’Hommage Bistro Francais is located at 450 K St. NW. Call (202) 791-0916. The bakery operates daily, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Lunch is served Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a mid-day lunch offering available from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Dinner is served Sunday through Thursday, from 5:30 to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, from 5:30 p.m. to midnight. NOTE: L’Hommage Bistro Francais’ bakery is currently open. The restaurant will begin dinner service on Thursday, Sept. 10, and lunch will debut on Tuesday, Sept. 15.
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