What a pleasure it is to see a restaurant continually improve, and one should visit La Chaumiere on occasion for that reason alone. Its setting has country charm, particularly in the winter when the large central stone fireplace is in action. Dark beams and half-timbered walls, a few bits of pottery and horse collars on the walls combine as an in-town inn. True to its style, the waitresses combine easy charm and hard work, so the service is both pleasant and efficient.Here you can trust the onion soup to be rich and savory, the pate de foie to taste elegantly smooth of flavor as well as texture. The menu tends towards hearty dishes - homemade sausages, tripe, liver, brains, stews - and the heartier the better. Daily specials have special followings, particularly Wednesday's couscous and Thursday's cassoulet, but Saturday's pepper-sauced leg of lamb is interesting, though the sauce is usually associated, and perhaps better suited to venison. There is a stab at presenting good fresh vegetables, though they are likely to be overcooked. La Chaumiere is noted for its wine list, a knowledgeably chosen array of inexpensive wines. And its desserts have become indeed delicious, the gateau "Chaumiere" being rumsoaked, custard-layered and sealed with mousse-like chocolate and walnuts. This is one of the few places in Washington that properly makes its fruit tarts, too. The restaurant is a good buy, a continually more pleasant dining possibility.