After a 15-year run, the Washington branch of Brasserie Les Halles is calling it quits. Tonight's dinner service is the restaurant's final one.
"It's joyous and sad," said Philippe Lajaunie, owner of Les Halles, a restaurant group that's perhaps best known for the exploits of its chef-at-large, Anthony Bourdain. "Joyous because we had a great time [at this location]. Sad because you always want to do more."
Lajaunie's tale is familiar to restaurant watchers in the area. The restaurant couldn't come to terms with the building's management company over a new lease. "I had a very old lease that was negotiated way before Penn Quarter was where it was now," said Lajaunie. He says that he would have had to double prices to afford the new lease, so he decided to close up shop.
The restaurant was plagued by service complaints in recent years, but remained a favorite of the nearby working crowd for lunch -- particularly on the restaurant's patio on Pennsylvania Avenue. The patio was what initially attracted Lajaunie to the location in the first place. "It reminded me of the grand cafes in Paris along the the Champs-Elysees," he said.
What do you think? Are you sad to see Les Halles go -- or ready for a new restaurant? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
-- Julia Beizer (Nov. 17, 2008)