Emboldened by the Parisian diaries of gourmand extraordinaire A.J. Liebling, my appetites roused me from evening routines to set out for Georgetown â€“ Washington's toniest, and Frenchiest, district â€“ in search of fine dining at the late-night restaurant Bistro Francais.
What crap! The mussels nicoise were heated with a delicacy usually reserved for cans of Chef Boyardee's microwave ravioli. The lamb's texture and taste roughly matched hunks of beef churned out for M. Dinty Moore's manufactured stews. The apple tarts fell short of protocols of freshness endorsed by virtually every multilateral organization, including the International House of Pancakes.
Despite its claims to the grand traditions of French cooking, the only arena where Bistro Francais surpasses other late-night feeding holes, such as The Country Kitchen and Denny's Restaurant, is in terms of price. At $20 for a standard three-course meal, it matches the fees charged by nearby French restaurants of immeasurably superior quality, such as Bistro D'OC, a simple, sleepy nook trapped amidst the tourist bait surrounding Ford's Theater.