BYT doesn’t do Beaujolais Nouveau parties anymore. We’re old. We’re tired. We have better taste in wine… But that doesn’t mean we’ve given up on the holiday. We’ve just changed the way we celebrate it. If the idea of chugging a bottle of brand new Beaujolais makes you want to take a nap, but the thought of sipping a slightly older Beaujolais while you nibble on duck pâté makes your heart swell with joy, we have good news for you. For the month of November, Le Desales, that cozy french bistro tucked on (you guess it) Desales Street NW, is celebrating Beaujolais with a special menu meant to compliment the light wine.
After tucking into a bottle of the good stuff, dinner kicks off with the option of a charcuterie plate or a beet salad served with cervelle de canut, which is a fancy way of saying cheese spread. If you’re on the food writers diet and this is your first meal of the day (at 7 p.m. of course) then go with the charcuterie plate which you can supplement with a basket of their fantastic bread and delightful honey butter. Served with pickled cauliflower, honey and a pile of comté cheese, the duck prosciutto may seem like the star of this show on this board, but it’s the duck pâté that’s really worth your time. Its peppery and earthy flavors pair well with a dab of the honey and the briny bite of the cauliflower. Spread on some of that aforementioned bread and enjoy.
The main course comes with the option of a heaping plate of pressed chicken and arugula or a delicate Salade Lyonnaise, laced with confit pork belly. The pressed chicken is the heartier and more simple option, but the simplicity works. The chicken is moist and flavorful, while the accompanying arugula salad lightens the dish up. With its halo of frisée, chunks of croutons, poached egg and aforementioned pork belly, the salad leans far richer and unfortunately much saltier. The sides, especially the garlicky broccoli, are not to be missed. It’s dense and rich in all the right ways.
Hopefully by this point, you’ve finished that bottle of Beaujolais and you’re ready to do a little exploring. It’s at this point, we highly recommend you skip to the cocktail menu created by Lukas B. Smith (who you know from Cotton & Reed, Destination Wedding and so many other things it would be very annoying to list them here). Because it’s cold and dark and we like heady drinks, we were especially interested in the Mezcal and Spices, which includes Fidencio mezcal, Don Ciccio Amaro and (I kid you not) an artichoke liquer. It’s bitter, smokey and it will definitely warm you up on a cold night. Pair it with Le Desales pear poached in red wine, which is just as ridiculously luxurious as it sounds.
Make sure to have a cab waiting when you sign the check. This is a meal guaranteed to put you to sleep.
Le Desales is located at 1725 Desales St NW.