Last night a number of us from work were treated to dinner in Georgetown at the quaint and adorable LA CHAUMIERE (www.lachaumieredc.com at 2813 M Street, NW) by our lovely and charming Fairmont/Raffles/Swissotel rep. We all had superb food, wine and chat as well, making for a rare fine dining experience in Georgetown these days.
I actually know how hard dining is in the are, so I arrived 20 minutes early to seek a space without a meter (the $2/hr rates in now insane!) and almost 1/8 of the space where parking is free along 29th Street were empty! How rare is that? making my experience in the normally noisy, crowded and overpriced Georgetown a dream to start.
I ordered a bottle of slightly citrus-y DORUHIN 2009 SAINT VERAN which was perfectly refreshing and went perfectly with the BAKED OYSTERS "CHAUMIERE" that many of us ordered. They are plump Long Island Creek oysters baked with a hint of ginger and topped with spinach and crumbled hazelnuts. It's much lighter than a "Rockefeller" type with cheese and bacon and is a really wonderful starter that isn't quite as rich as some of the usual French dishes can be. Of course those that chose pate and foie gras were quite happy as well!
La Chaumiere has a large and varied menu and is known for it's nightly specials (in the winter on Thursday the cassoulet is a must!) so there is something for everyone. A Dover sole was simple and cooked perfectly while the RIS DE VEAU (sweetbreads) came in a huge portion (most dishes do here, although they are quite reasonably priced compared to the neighborhood) and were cooked divinely and cut like butter (say it with that Streisand accent!). While I did not taste the duck, it too seemed to be a hit.
The majority of the table went with my lead as we have just entered the SOFT SHELL CRAB season and here they are pan sauteed with fine herbs, shallots and a tasty lemon butter. The early ones this season were huge and the again the portion quite large with some simple veggies and mashed potatoes topped with two towering latticed potato crisps. I was in heaven!
We were full but some had sorbet or Creme Brulee and some agreed to share a small cheese plate. It is, of course, all French and quite a good selection:
creamy Camembert, a firm Petit Basque, a creamy/yet crumbly goat (called Valenque?) and a rich divine Saint Andre. They came with a tasty apple compote and walnuts.
Our server Ramon handled the 7 of us quite well, although I did have to get up and pour the wine once.
It was a delightful evening and although I had lunched earlier this year there, I really had forgotten how superb the food is.