How do you say, “béarnaise”? I am not exactly sure (which has made it hard to talk about!), but Béarnaise Restaurant is Chef Spike Mendelsohn’s French bistro located on Capitol Hill in D.C. You may know Chef Spike from his family restaurants, Good Stuff Eatery and We, The Pizza. He opened Béarnaise in June 2013 with his sister, Micheline, inspired by his time in Paris and the steak frites they’ve enjoyed in Montreal.
Béarnaise was just added to this year’s Washingtonian Top 100 list! I had read about the restaurant from my favorite local brunch reviewers, who have also interviewed Chef Spike — so I was just delighted to stumble upon a great LivingSocial deal for the place recently. Note: This deal is still happening! For a fixed price, you get brunch for two. Each person is served La Colombe coffee, bottomless mimosas, a chocolate croissant, and his or her choice of one “Bennie” from the three options on the menu. The whole rundown sounded like a great idea, so we invited our friends Anthony & Emily, and made plans to brunch!
We checked out the place on the rainy Saturday morning after New Year’s — the weekend that felt like an end to a wonderful, long holiday vacation. We arrived around 11:00am, early for the typical D.C. brunch crowd, and had the place mostly to ourselves at first. Our waiter was so friendly and fun, even though he was likely coming off of a late night at the restaurant. I can’t remember his name, but he shared that he surprisingly gets called “Garçon” a lot, so he joked we shouldn’t call him that! He then let us know that sparkling water was complimentary at Béarnaise… which pretty much put me over-the-edge in love with the restaurant before I’d even tasted anything!
The coffee was served in lovely glass mugs. I had my complimentary sparkling water. The mimosas were made with freshly-squeezed juice — and you could choose either orange or grapefruit. I was in heaven just with the beverages!
Then we were served our mini chocolate croissants, beautifully displayed on little doilies. After that, our Eggs Benedicts arrived. I tried the salmon “Bennie,” while the others went for the classic French version with ham. The Benedicts were served on croissants! A flavorful Petite Salade adorned the dish as well, made up of the freshest greens.
We were pretty pleased with our experience at Béarnaise! This is one of those places that will not just be a one-time visit for me. We will definitely be back, maybe for dinner… but most certainly for brunch!