As much as I adore Bistrot Lepic the restaurant, I find myself gravitating more often to Bistro Lepic the Wine Bar. Whereas the ground-floor dining room in Georgetown is bright and snug, the second-story lounge is dim and cozy, arranged with chairs that seem to wrap themselves around you and low tables for holding cocktails or "appeteasers." Those would be the small plates of food -- scaled-back versions of the French bistro menu down below -- that make such nice companions to a cocktail or glass of champagne. There are almost 20 dishes from which to put together a meal. Go light with smoked trout salad brightened with grapefruit or tuna carpaccio made refreshing with seaweed salad. Or go classic, with a slab of armagnac-stoked pate or bacon-laced onion tart in puff pastry. Whatever your pick, there's something to make it more celebratory: 20 wines, thoughtfully offered by the half-glass as well as by the glass and the bottle.
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