Before they even cook a meal, Chefs Christophe and Michelle Poteaux go to great lengths to get the ingredients. And they have high standards, sourcing organic and sustainably raised produce and meats from the Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region. The results are prix fixe dinners featuring entrees such as tarragon-scented Amish chicken roast and hibiscus crème brûlée.
When Chef Samir Labriny isn't helming the kitchen at Bistro Du Soleil, he's living the A-list chef life in Washington, DC, cooking for visiting dignitaries and heads of state. When he is at his eatery, though, he focuses on the cuisines of Countries of the Sun?such as France, Greece, Spain, and Italy. That means plenty of tapas, or Spanish-style small plates, such as garlic prawns and flatbread with olive tapenade. Entrees, meanwhile, run the gamut from tagine of slow-roasted beef and prunes to braised chicken, spiced with French seasonings tastier than ground-up baguette.
Situated in a Federal-style mansion, The Grille at Morrison House's historical exterior belies its distinctly modern cuisine. Drawing on produce and meats sourced from Virginia farms, executive chef Brian McPherson and his staff translate classic French dishes into distinct, American iterations. Lavish appetizers feature foie gras pastrami torchon, scottish salmon tartare with american caviar, escargot, and selections of cheeses and charcuterie. Entrees include red-wine-braised short rib beef bourguignon, crispy duck breast in a port reduction, and Pineland Farms ribeye with cashel blue cheese butter. Conscious of diners' varying dietary needs, cooks tailor the menu to vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free specifications on request. Two distinct dining areas give guests a choice of atmosphere. The Dining Room boasts airy windows and summer tones, contrasted with The Grille's rich woods, red leathers, and piano brunches on Sundays. The venue earned accolades from the Washingtonian for its meticulously plotted wedding dinners, which invite brides to toss escargot to the next lucky lady.
John Strongbow fills plates with a blend of ancient and modern European cuisine, delivered straight to tables as soon as they're finished cooking. Root vegetables, such as boiled red potatoes and pureed yams, pair with heartier mains including trout in brown-butter sauce and slow-roasted prime rib. For drink, the bar slings mead and beers, many of which date back centuries. One beer, Weihenstephaner, can trace its lineage back to 761, the same year beer pong was invented.
Provincial French cuisine abounds at Yves' Bistro, an intimate dining hub that bookends the day with breakfast and dinner menus. Whether it's a classic sirloin served with steak frites and maitre d' butter or a plate of penne carbonara drenched in a parmesan cream sauce, Yves' dishes are culled from revered French recipes renowned for their bold flavors and refined preparation. Suds gush from foam-flecked taps at an onsite bar, where bartenders mix top-shelf spirits, pour robust wines, and accept tips in upturned berets.
Year round, Dandy Fine Dining Restaurant Cruise sets sail down the Potomac in riverboats that fete short-distance travelers with live music, dancing, and gourmet continental cuisine. Passengers snap photos of cherry trees fluttering in pastel pink from the expansive upper deck on springtime cruises, or savor bites of prime rib and stuffed shrimp and watch the President balance a star on top of the Washington Monument in the winter. Cruises embark from Alexandria and glide up to Georgetown before making their way back to port.