Last Updated: September 2022
Current Status: Open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Saturday. To-go options available with limited delivery options.
In a space suitable for adults, but not stuffy at all, Ris Lacoste quietly serves the food that gained her fame and fans over the years. The dishes are a mix of traditional favorites with expert touches thrown in. The goal is not to challenge your palate or light up the ‘gram, but to deliver something deeply satisfying. Lacoste draws on multiple sources to compose the menu. The New American from her celebrated reign at 1789, is represented by the scallop margarita of ceviche served in a martini glass with tequila granita. There is also the homestyle food of the Portuguese immigrants of her hometown of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and, of course, classic French, that she shared an affection for with Julia Child. A recent menu included a Mediterranean-style whole branzino, meatloaf, grilled cheese and tomato soup, clams linguini, and fried brussels sprouts with Thai chili lime peanut sauce and bacon. It sounds eclectic, but it is also reads like what someone with years of culinary experience under her belt and good sourcing for ingredients would cook for her friends and family. Not every dish may sing, but they almost all humm and they are unlikely to disappoint.
The wine list is not deep with twenty or so whites and roughly the same number of reds. It covers the basics with many options under $60. It leans mostly French, with some West Coast and Italian thrown in for good measure. Traditional cocktails and a small selection of beers round out the beverage program.
On a visit years ago, we noted the security detail of the Speaker hanging out in the bar area while she dropped in on an event. These days, celebrity (D.C. or otherwise) sightings are less likely, but Ris continues to shine long after the initial buzz faded. The staff are warm, and fitting the overall mood professional but not stuffy. Lacoste herself may be seen heading out through the bar to make a delivery or otherwise engage with the extended community drawn to her place. We suggest dropping in.
Cuisine: Old or New American
Neighborhood: West End/Foggy Bottom
Address: 2275 L St NW, Washington DC
Washington Post: Tom’s 2015 Spring Dining Guide review was 2 stars. His opening review in 2010 was the de rigueur 2.5 of that era and does not appear to be online anymore. Post 2020, he has made a plug for the take-out and generally been more kind.
Washingtonian: Ann Limpert’s 2010 review was mostly positive. #91 in the 2015 Top 100; 2014; 2013; 2012; 2011.
Washington City Paper: Laura Hayes talked to local chefs about the sentimental cookware they use at home.