I chose Bastille in Alexandria for DC’s restaurant week purely because it was walkable from Braddock Rd Metro and it had 4 “$” signs. If only all shots in the dark were this much of a success! I would go back any day of the year, Restaurant Week or no. If that’s not high praise, I don’t know what is.
The calamari and shrimp beignets are plentiful. They come out burn-your-mouth hot, but have a lovely texture (crispy on the outside and a nice doughy texture on the inside). There are nice pieces of shrimp and calamari, so you know they’re not skimping by using ground up bits. The dipping sauce had a nice spice and is definitely recommended!
The heirloom tomato and burrata cheese, basil and oregano vinaigrette appetizer/salad is refreshing and surprisingly different than other restaurants. I think it’s the cheese. The cheese is both creamy, rich, and light all at the same time. That’s light in texture, not in calories. This is some excellent full fat cheese!
The fennel soup was on special that night, and is not on the regular menu. I was feeling like I needed something light and comforting that day. It has a subtle anise flavor, with a creamy finish.
The Bastille hanger steak, cabernet shallot sauce, and pommes frites were pretty tasty. If you’re in the mood for a steak and fries, it’s hard to go wrong with this. The fries were nice and crispy on the outside. But in the end, it’s a steak and fries. I’d rather get any of the other dishes first, despite this being excellently done.
Unfortunately, the lamb chops are no longer on the menu. They were paired with blanched green beans, roasted peppers and late-summer squashes, and resting on top of a fennel cous-cous bed. I think my husband licked the plate.
As I said before, I was in the mood for lighter fare. The grilled Branzino filet with cherry tomato, fennel and orange ragout was a home run. The fish was nicely seared, sized, and seasoned. The ragout was perfect for late summer, boasting fresh from the market tomatoes and tender, young fennel. The roasted lemon added a needed bitterness. I would order this again in a heartbeat!
The Moroccan-style Tajine of chicken, pearl couscous and garbanzo beans was delicious with a wall of flavor! You could taste each piece, but together… oh my! Nice balance of veggies to couscous and garbanzo. The chicken was juicy and had great color!
The vanilla chiffon cake, white chocolate, and raspberries was delicious, but not my favorite. I’m not a fan of white chocolate (as evidenced by my choice in dessert, below). It looks dense, but don’t let that food you. It is light and soaks up the fruit puree beautifully.
The Valrhona chocolate truffle cake with Kirsch and cherries made me do the happy dance. It’s decadent, rich, flavorful, and well-balanced. The plate looks like a murder scene. Don’t let that fool you. It is one of the best desserts I’ve had. If you’re not a fan of chocolate or gooey cakes, don’t get it.