I have always enjoyed the upscale yet comfortable atmosphere of Poste Moderne Brasserie inside the Hotel Monaco in Chinatown. The food is consistently good, the bar area is spacious and lively, and the outdoor courtyard in the summer cannot be beat. Chef Dennis Marron joined the ranks at Poste in September of 2011 after most recently serving as the executive chef overseeing both The Grille at Morrison House and Jackson 20, both restaurants within Kimpton Hotels in Alexandria, Virginia. Chef Marron very quickly began putting his stamp on the restaurant by creating a new menu that provides extensive variety as well as a real focus on traditional brasserie cuisine. I was overwhelmed by the amount of options to choose from-- but also the amount of delicious sounding options to choose from. I wanted to order everything. The menu now includes hors d'oeuvres such as tete sliders (yes, pig head... and I loved them), three types of frites including truffled and ones with a bordelaise sauce, soups, salads, sandwiches, petits plats, entrees, five varieties of mussels, fruits de mer, and plats du cochon as well as sides for the table. It's hard to not have big eyes when ordering because the menu is filled with warm, comforting, traditional dishes that are just perfect for a cold night-- especially as we head into winter.
As a group we decided to order a variety of appetizers for the table to share which included: tete sliders, chicory salad, pork rilletes, chicken liver parfait, and two types of mussels. The standouts for me included the chorizo mussels in a tomato and white wine broth, and the chicken liver parfait. The chorizo in the mussels were spicy while the sauce was light and great for dipping bread, and the chicken liver was smooth and creamy and could have easily been eaten with a spoon. For my main course I could not resist the appeal of the onion soup burger which is made with Virginia grass fed beef, comte cheese, carmelized onion soup, and an onion bun. People who know me are aware that I often refer back to the french onion soup dumplings at Stephen Starr's The Continental so this was just something I had to try. The burger is tough to pick up and eat with your hands given the liquids of the onion soup seep into the bun-- but I promise eating it with a fork and knife is just as wonderful and does not compromise the experience whatsoever. Also served with a side of crunchy and well-seasoned frites and this makes for the perfect winter meal. I was in heaven. I also snagged a bite of the flounder almondine with brown butter emulson and haricots verts which was rich in lemon flavor and something I would absolutely order on another visit as well as the pan roasted filet mignon and the beef bourguignon short ribs. The filet was cooked perfectly with seared foie gras on top, sauteed mushrooms, and a creamed spinach that was something to talk about. Most of us were feeling fat and happy at this point in the evening and trying to save room for dessert!
Desserts a-plenty were up next. My absolute favorite was the chocolate pots du creme which included housemade "oreo" crumbles on top and was creamy, rich, and incredibly satisfying. I also loved the warm armagnac-date pudding which was topped with a guinness ice cream creating the perfect blend of hot and cold. Poste's new menu spoke to me, and I think it will speak to other Washingtonian's looking for a comforting meal with a traditional brasserie style. The new menu is plentiful, playful, and certain to have something for everyone. Poste's location provides many opportunities for diners: after work happy hour, pre or post theater, or a great meal paired with a museum visit. Chef Dennis Marron is doing great things over at Poste and I look forward to seeing what he has in store for us next.