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First Look: Béarnaise
July 1, 2013 | 11:30AM

all photos and words: Brandon Weight

Inspired by steak frites restaurants in Montréal and France, Chefs Spike Mendelsohn and Brad Race bring a minimalist prix fixe menu with maximum flavor in their new venture, Béarnaise.

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The prix fixe portion of the menu begins with the first course, with options ranging from a house salad, to their french onion soup, to a seasonal soup of the day. The second course is all meat and potatoes, with your steak option determining the price – $28 for the steak maison flank steak, $38 for the ribeye, and $42 for the lean filet mignon. To dress the bœuf, they offer five options: the namesake béarnaise, a spicy béarnaise, au poivre, bordelaise, and a Maître D’Hôtel butter. Each order also comes avec frites, with as many of the herb-tossed shoestring fries as you’d like during the meal.

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Add-ons like appetizers and sides for the table remain French inspired. (Escargot anyone?). Roasted bone marrow, seared brussel sprouts, potatoes au gratin, and portabella mushrooms are all served to share. Plus, a healthy portion of portabella mushrooms, deliciously meaty in texture, can replace the steak in the prix fixe menu should anyone need a vegetarian option. Desserts are refreshingly cooling, with a delicious chocolate chantilly and creme puffs.

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Each bottle on the wine menu (minus the “reserve” list) costs $40. For the less-than-sommelier crowd, this can be a hit or miss. But, as Chef Mendelsohn described, the pricing encourages guests to discuss with the waitstaff which wines they should try based on their particular tastes, rather than settling for a wine based on price.

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All the interior décor was dreamt up by Chef Mendelsohn’s sister, Micheline Mendelsohn Luhn, who took a trip with their mother to France to procure artwork (including portraits of one very lovely Brigitte Bardot and the legendary Coco Chanel) and a vintage, true-to-history safe.

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Béarnaise is located at 315 Pennsylvania Ave SE, and is slated to open Wednesday, July 3.

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