“Hmm, I think I know him,” I thought to myself, spying a handsome gentleman sitting outside of Béarnaise as Emily and I walked up to claim our reservation. It only took a moment for me to realize that I didn’t recognize a long-lost friend but in fact Spike Mendelsohn, chef at Béarnaise, We the Pizza and Good Stuff Eatery and “Top Chef” alum. This was not my first moment with Chef Spike. On the 4th of July 2010, he complimented me on my choice of double-fisting a chocolate milk shake and a Sam Adams Summer Ale with my burger at Good Stuff. Basically, every time I’m in D.C., I see Spike. I
think hope he’s stalking me. 😉
So… I have a thing about hot chefs. Earlier in the week, I had a little moment with a gorgeous tattooed chef wearing a Big Lebowski t-shirt at Radiator Whiskey. I mean really, what’s better than a man who can cook?
But on to the food. 🙂 We started at Béarnaise with the special appetizer salt cod fritters which our waiter encouraged us into saying that there were only a few left. The flavor profile was great but one of my fritters was a little cold in the middle. I overlooked that though given that the rest of it was so tasty. For our mains, Emily and I split both the steak frites and the Vietnamese mussels. The mussels reminded me of the Thai version at Flex Mussels in New York City; whoever first thought to combine fresh Asian flavors like lemongrass and cilantro with those simple little bivalves is a genius. With the steak we had both a traditional béarnaise sauce and a spicy version which I still have dreams about. We also shared some delightful brussels sprouts. All in all, I thought the food at Béarnaise was lovely and of course, it’s always nice to see handsome Chef Spike. My only criticism is that the service was a bit uneven on our visit: Our appetizer arrived before we’d ordered anything else, and the plates were left until we had to ask for them to be taken away to make room for the mains.
Next in our culinary adventures in D.C. (and yet another hot chef) was Rose’s Luxury, another treasure in Capitol Hill. That was so incredible however, it warrants its own post, so stay tuned.
Béarnaise 315 Pennsylvania Ave SE Washington, DC 20003 +1 (202) 450-4800
© Jennifer Konopasek and GoodTravelerKarma, 2014.