Longtime Washington chef Hector Guerra had one stipulation before agreeing to work at Terasol south of Chevy Chase Circle: He asked the owner of the petite French bistro and gallery, Alan Moin, for a place to cook.
“He didn’t have a kitchen,” says Guerra, whose idea of a proper workspace includes more than a convection oven, an electric stovetop and a refrigerator. “For me to come” from the Caucus Room downtown, “I couldn’t just do sandwiches. I wanted to do some real cooking.”
In August, Moin added six burners, a fryer and a salamander (to brown cheese-capped French onion soup). In September, Guerra came aboard with his wife and helpmate, Meyling Aguilar. Next month, the bistro celebrates its second anniversary.
“I always knew I wanted to take this to another level,” says Moin, who co-owns the business with his wife, Parisian native Sabrina Ousmaal.
Since taking over the kitchen, Guerra has expanded the dinner menu to include steak frites, rack of lamb, sausage-stuffed quail and roast chicken. While the lunch list remains focused on salads, sandwiches and quiche, specials such as scallops with couscous and red pepper sauce reflect the hand of a professional.
The bonus on Friday and Saturday nights: live music, including classical guitar and jazz.
Terasol represents a reunion for the two men. Both worked at chef Roberto Donna’s original Galileo on P Street NW, with Guerra as a cook and Moin as a server.