L'Hommage Bistro Francais
It was pouring this past Friday night, and some friends and I couldn't decide on a place to have dinner that was somewhere in the middle of Bloomingdale, Shaw, and Logan Circle. One friend threw out the idea to try the new French restaurant near City Vista called L'Hommage Bistro Francais. I had heard mixed reviews, and knew it would be hard to come close to my neighbor Le Diplomate, but we all were willing to give it a try.
At first glance I was a bit underwhelmed. The space is massive and is trying to evoke a French bistro vibe, but instead to me it had tones of an Epcot theme park written all over it. We sat down to a relatively empty restaurant, and the service was off from the start. We ordered a bottle of wine which they were out of (it's only been open for a few weeks, how are they already out?) The sommelier then dropped two bottles on the table as new options for us to consider. When I asked him to tell me about them he told me where they were from with no explanation. It was as if he wanted me to pick based on the wine label. It took prodding to get information about the differences between the bottles which ultimately came down to him telling me he liked one better than the other. The bread and butter arrived soon after and was fine-- not anything to write home about.
We ordered the beef bourguignon, skate grenobloise, steak frites, and the mussels mariniere. The skate was good, but it lacked the buttery and lemony flavors in the sauce I had hoped for. Overall it was a bit flat and bland. The best dish I tasted was the beef bourguignon although it wasn't special, and the steak frites while ordered medium arrived bloody and rare. When my friend expressed this to the waitress she picked up the meat with her bare hands to inspect it. While my friend was done eating at this point, it wasn't a professional or acceptable thing to do at the table.
Bottom line: I found L'Hommage Bistro Francais to be a poor man's Le Diplomate when it came to the quality of the food. As someone who goes to Paris often I do not believe Parisian's would find this restaurant suitable. In addition, I have eaten at owner Hakan Ilhan's other ventures including Al Dente and Alba Osteria which I believe are better. There is a cute boulangerie attached to the restaurant which I did not have the chance to try, but I like the concept of a neighborhood bakery and hope that element does well. In the meantime, I'll stick to Le Diplomate and my frequent trips to Paris to satisfy by cravings for steak frites and beef bourguignon.