Image: French style meat and potatoes.
Last Updated: May 2022
Current Status: They are doing dine-in service, both inside and out. No take-out available.
La Bise is aiming for a sweet spot of nice but not stuffy, French but not dogmatic, friendly but not boisterous. It succeeds. The cooking is familiar and sharp, with a few fillips to be found. There are a number of good French restaurants in D.C. Some are buttery and flashy (Le Diplomate, Brasserie Liberté), some are a little cutting edge (Lutèce), some are old school (La Chaumiere, Bistro Lepic) and some are spots that you can trust for a meal done well in a nice setting. La Bise is in this latter category. It has some very good dishes, but its strength is that it focuses on pleasing more than impressing.
Staples done well include foie gras, gourgere, Parisian gnocchi (heavy on the mushrooms in the winter version) and steak frites. One dish that was willing to show its flair is a piece of salmon cooked Beef Wellington style. Ora king salmon coulibiac came with mushroom duxelles, herbed rice, dill, sauce mousseline, and is wrapped in a puff pastry. It also looks to have fallen off the menu for the summer, frustratingly enough, or a result of opening chef Tyler Stout moving on. He was replaced by a veteran chef of the Fiola empire.
La Bise inherits the space previously occupied by the Oval Room and continues to be under the umbrella of Ashok Bajaj’s stand-out restaurant group. The service is charming but not presumptuous. The wine list is a decent list of French and American options that you can probably work with. But of course, it is the location, a stone’s throw from the White House grounds that makes it a draw.
Other Guidance: WaPo Accessibility say No barriers at entrance; ADA-compliant restrooms. GF can do alright, but vegetarians have slim pickings. The setting is nice, no need for a tie but shorts would be out of place.
Gift Cards – Good for the whole restaurant group.
Michelin: Added in 2022.