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all photos: Jeff Martin

The Hilton Brothers restaurant/bar operation (which right now counts Marvin, Gibson, Blacbyrd, Patty Boom Boom and American Ice Co. on top of the more performance centric Montserratt House) has been safely ensconced in the tidy 14th/U street five block radius. With the arrival of Chez Billy this past week, on the 3800 block of Georgia, they’re skipping over the imminent next-door neighborhoods and branching out into Petworth waters.


We dropped by to check it out.

The space occupies the location of the old Billy Simpson’s seafood and steak joint and does a great job of maintaining the fine balance between the joys of formal dining and casual hanging out with your friends (there is not one but two long bars with plenty of seats and an outdoor patios) and features many of the hallmark aesthetics of what we’ve come to expect of an Hilton run/EDIT designed spaces: exposed brick walls, warm wood, big crystal chandeliers, flattering lighting and more.


The one thing we’re particularly jazzed about interiors wise are the little booth style bar seats for two, perfect for that time when you don’t necessarily want a table but you also don’t want to fight the cocktail masses at the bar while reaching for your charcuterie plate. A genius move, in our opinion (especially since the charcuterie plate doesn’t look like something we’d particularly like to share with anyone).


The menu is pretty firmly planted in the french bistro territory with prices ranging from $8 for the vichysoisse(chilled potato leek soup with creme fraiche) to $27 for steak (with blenty in between with a few entrees under $20 or just hitting the mark) and is manned by executive chef Brendan L’Etoile (who started out at Willow and spent the last few years as executive sous chef @ Marvin, now graduating to his own full kitchen). Accompanying it all is a well edited list of old-world cocktails (Sazeracs, Bijous and Kir Royales are all there) and a nice and affordable wine list, perfect for lingering late night over a dessert.


Speaking of late night, the plan ISN’T to make this spot a boom boom party weekend room, like some of the other establishments ESL runs but focus more on food, neighborhood needs and just “doing things right”. Nothing wrong with that, if you ask us.

CHEZ BILLY is on 3815 Georgia Ave and is open for dinner and cocktail hour. Brunch is coming soon.