The Washington Post

Bistro Bis to get a makeover for its anniversary

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of his French outpost on Capitol Hill, chef Jeff Buben is closing Bistro Bis after New Year’s Day brunch to give the 130-seat dining room a refresh. The restaurant won’t be dark for long: Buben says fixers are going to “come in like ninjas” and work around the clock in order for the restaurant to reopen for dinner Jan. 8.

(Tom Allen/The Washington Post)

The estimated $300,000 facelift shouldn’t startle fans. “The place has held up pretty well,” says Buben. “I don’t want people to feel it’s a restaurant they don’t recognize” after the alterations.

To that end, he’s hired GrizForm Design Architects to replace Bis’s monochromatic palette with shades of muted greens and warm browns and grays to “give the place more romance,” says the firm’s founder, Griz Dwight. Tin tiles will be added to the ceiling of the hall that runs through the dining room to the exhibition kitchen; glass-and-steel light fixtures will replace older illumination. Bis’s wine and cheese cellars will also be combined.

Along with an enhanced look, the restaurant is adding several new dishes to its winter menu. They include duck galantine with pickled cherries, roast pheasant with morels and (attention, solo diners) choucroute garnie in portions for one.

Correction: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this post contained a typo within the word "alterations." A corrected version appears above. 


Weaned on a beige buffet a la “Fargo” in Minnesota, Tom Sietsema is the food critic for The Washington Post. This is his second tour of duty at the Post. Sietsema got his first taste in the ‘80s, when he was hired by his predecessor to answer phones, write some, and test the bulk of the Food section’s recipes. That’s how he learned to clean squid, bake colonial cakes and distinguish between nutmeg and mace.
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