Image: Halibut, cuttlefish sauce, fennel and sunchokes.
Last Updated: 6/10/2020
Current Status: The long outdoor seating area is now open. Take-out and delivery continues.
Before Times Review:
Last Visited: September 2019
Around the corner from the 18th Street strip and its roving hordes, Mintwood Place declares its allegiance to those who live in the neighborhood. Its name is taken from a nearby street. It is a grand non-sequitur that gives locals a nice spot to treat themselves. It is classic French with no apologies but a few twists now and then. It is also very good.
When Executive Chef Cedric Maupillier moved on to open Convivial a couple years ago, the buzz went with him. At Mintwood, the cooking has settled into a comfortable groove that can still impress. Current Chef de Cuisine Matthew Cockrell, who did stints at La Chaumiere and Le Diplomate has an elevated version of French comfort food down pat (Note: Maupillier remains as Executive Chef, with Cockrell running the kitchen day-to-day). The pickled deviled eggs supplanted the escargot hush puppies as the favorite starter. On a recent visit, the duck confit was crispy and juicy, served over large, spruced-up beans. Halibut over cuttlefish sauce with fennel and sunchokes is a sweet-spot dish of satisfaction with some sophistication. Nearly all the mains come in under $30 (re-affirming the idea it is meant for locals as well as those who trek). The servings are generous, with real appetizer and entrée-sized servings. A recently-installed pastry chef, Stephanie Milne, is putting her mark on the menu with some interesting twists (apparently the classic Baked Alaska also fell off the menu awhile ago).
The wine list is a mix of old and new world. It is far from snooty. Many bottles can be found under $80. However, it is not a deep list and recent vintages dominate, consistent with the corner bistro theme.
Service is peppy. The space is open and vibrant, with a sizable bar area to accommodate the waiting walk-ins. There is also outdoor seating when the weather is nice. If you are visiting and staying on the north side of Dupont, like the Washington Hilton, it is a short walk away. Mintwood Place is a gem that should be on your radar.
Other Guidance: It is a nice neighborhood spot with dress at all levels, including a few smaller folks wearing diapers. GF and vegetarians have a few options, but be sure to ask with French cooking slipping tricks here and there.
Washington Post: Tom started at 3 and knocked down to 2.5. “If some of the plates could use more finesse, they have flavor in their favor.”
Michelin: Plate Rating