Bistro Bis

Bistro, French
$$$$ ($25-$34)
Find updated takes on classic bistro cuisine; lighter dishes and fish tend to be better.
Mon-Fri: 7-10:30 am
11:30 am-3 pm
5:30-10:30 pm; Sat-Sun: 7-10:30 am
11:30 am-2:30 pm
5:30-10:30 pm
(Capitol Hill)
Union Station (Red Line)
202-661-2700
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Editorial Review

For dress-up dining, this is my favorite place on the Hill. The convivial bar makes a great roost for people who care as much about a proper cocktail as about what bills are under consideration in Congress, while the dining room, all warm wood and honeyed lighting, buzzes with talk of politics, love lives and "What do you want to see tomorrow?" (those would be tourists from the adjoining hotel). Most of the dishes are French; not all are created equal. Onion soup was shockingly wan on my last visit, lamb with merguez sausage a snooze. But there remains much more to savor. The kitchen chops a robust steak tartare (served informally, with potato chips for scooping up) and rolls out a deeply flavorful roasted tomato tart, made from a buttery pastry disk and tomatoes dusted with fresh basil and shards of Parmesan cheese. Twice I've sampled the vegetable plate and twice I've been impressed by its seasonality, and it looks beautiful to boot. Deeper into the menu one can find moist rabbit with spaetzle, sauteed trout with capers, and specials like one night's meltingly tender veal ribs, framed in a Thanksgiving's worth of lovely roast vegetables. Don't look now, but Hillary just strolled in.

-Tom Sietsema
The restaurant allows patrons to bring in bottles of wine that are not represented on the wine list at a corkage fee of $15 per bottle and a limit of two bottles per table.