Hours: Open for lunch daily except Sundays from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Dinner every day from 4:30 until 10:30 p.m.
Atmosphere: Relaxed, fresh, bright look.
Price Range: Completes dinners froim $5.95. Soups, salads and omelettes also available.
Credit cards: Visa and Master Charge.
Special facilities: Entrance accessible. Dining in two rooms. One booster chair. No separate children's menu, but will make children's portions for reduced prices.
Washington certainly does not suffer from a shortage of restaurants. There are some that only survive for months, others for years. Then there are those that seem always to have been here. Chez Odette is such a restaurant. Its menu proudly proclaims it to be "Georgetown's Oldest French Restaurant."
How has it survived? Plain old-fashioned dependability is the key. On being seated, you are immediately served water. A basket of warm bread arrives shortly thereafter. You also can relax over your menu, or quickly order, be served and leave. The choice of dining style is yours.
Chez Odette is a perfect family restaurant since white tablecloths do wonders for children's behavior. The dinning rooms recently have been refurbished and the total restaurant look is one of caring.Fresh flowers adorn the tables and there is occasional music in the background. In an effort to keep the tablecloths looking spiffy, then white paper placemats are used. Paper napkins eliminate a completely formal look.
As for cost, little has changed. Chez Odette is still one of the best buys in the city. You can order a complete dinner with choice of two vegetables for $5.95. That is a price you don't see very often anymore.
Chez Odette does not suffer from delusions of grandeur. It knows its capabilities and, with a menu that leans heavily toward those of French country cafes, it succeeds.
Our son was very happy in this atmosphere as he had just spent the school day reliving his teacher's memories of Paris and the French countryside. The visit to Chez Odette was a perfect fantasy vacation.
The waiter was very attentive to the children. He decided to wait with our youngest's onion soup ($1.95) as it was the only thing she ordered and he felt she'd feel left out when our entrees arrived. Unfornately, he didn't understand she was starved and confused about what could be taking so long for her soup-dinner. He quickly remedied her starvation anxiety.
The onion soup with its thick cheese covering is a lightly seasoned offering perfect as a meal with slices of bread and butter as companions.
Our son's chicken soup (75 cents) was almost a problem, for someone had a fairly heavy pepper hand. Yet the noodles saved the broth.
Pepper also figured prominently in the cold vegetable salad. This combination of peas, beans and potatoes in a light mayonnaise and vinegar dressing is another example of Chez Odette's resistance to change. This salad has always been an offering and probably will be forever. Some things need not change.
There are specials of the day in addition to a complete menu. If it's Monday, it must be roast sirloin of beef, and so the week begins. There also was an additional special: Poison grille ($5.95). This was filet of sole delicately dressed with a mild Newburg-type sauce. It had been perfectly prepared.
Ragouts of lamb or veal are always available as are a variety of beef stews from bourguignon to stroganoff. Whatever the dish, the meat always has been finely sliced and is free of fat or grizzle. The fatty, grizzly meat that often is typical of stew dishes never appears at Chez Odette.
The stroganoff ($8.95) is one of the most expensive entrees. It consists of pieces of filet and a large portion of mushrooms in a finely seasoned sauce. oTwo children could easily share this large portion of food. You select rice as a perfect companion for the stroganoff.
The prize dish, however, was the boeuf bourguignon ($5.95). Again, there was a large portion of meat in a casserole of red wine and seasoned sauce.
If a restaurant is to be judged by its sauces, Chez Odette wins high praise from our family of four.
Yet, your meal should not end here. We shared a chocolate mousse ($1.50) and French pastry (1.75) from a beautiful tray of selections from Watergate Pastry.
Our enjoyable outing cost $36.40 including wine, sodas and tax. The surprizing part of the evening was that we had really a leisurely dinner with the children and had relaxed through each dinner course.