Image: Chicken with Lollipop Kale.
Last Updated: May 2022
Current Status: Both locations open for dine-in, though in different kinds of settings. They also both do take-out and delivery may be available from the Union Market location. The Shaw location has outside seating, weather permitting. Hours vary by day and location, so check before you go.
La Jambe was started by Parisian transplant Anastasia Mori who went looking for the French food she loved – especially charcuterie and cheese. Frustrated in her search she did the obvious thing, she opened her own wine bar to serve what she sought. That was in 2016. Five years later, after a Covid retraction, they came back to life with a new chef and a new menu. If you have not been, it is time to update your idea of what La Jambe is. It is still the same cool wine bar. It is now also one of the more interesting kitchens in D.C.
Chef D’Angelo Mobley’s menu is French in outlook, as you would expect, but he is taking some creative risks. Those risks pay off: Asparagus and ricotta – but with dairy-free ricotta that is almost tahini like. Roasted chicken that flakes with minimal pressure and is served with a preserved lemon vinaigrette sauce. As he explained to Laura Hayes in a profile piece, “His goal [for the initial menu] was to make cookout food French. Instead of barbecue ribs, he plates short ribs with a white bean miso puree and raisin barbecue sauce. He presents fish and chips with mushy peas as stuffed smelts swimming in a vadouvan pea puree.” Note that Chef Mobley is brimming with ideas, so all the dishes mentioned above have already rolled off the menu. Along with Lutèce, La Jambe is showing that French does not have to be cliché.
The wine list is well-constructed, with lots of natural wines, and obviously French in focus. It is considerate enough to have crowd-pleasers and more intriguing wines for the nerds. There is a description for each wine to help navigate the choices (something more places should do!). The Shaw space is a large corner with giant windows in a modern building, but they have roughed up the space a little with odds and ends and a graffiti-like mural to add character. The Union Market spot is in the main hall and has a reduced menu. Of course, cheese and charcuterie are available at both locations.
Shaw: 1550 7th St NW, Washington DC
Reservations: http://www.lajambedc.com (via Resy)
Union Market: 1309 5th St. NE Washington, DC 20002 (Inside Main Bldg)
Washington Post: No coverage other than Fritz Hahn mentioning the Union Market opening in a roundup.
Washingtonian: A 2017 list of places to do casual in Shaw/Logan (of which about half are gone).
Washington City Paper: Jessica Sidman did a preview when it opened in 2016.