September 1, 2010

Celebration at Café du Parc

Special occasions call for something out of the ordinary, something remarkable. This year for my husband's birthday (date and age not to be disclosed here), he met me after work for dinner. After a bit of consideration we decided to go to Café du Parc. Neither of us had eaten there previously and it seemed like a perfect place for an elegant, celebratory dinner. Located on Pennsylvania Avenue a block away from the White House, this restaurant has seats that spill out onto the sidewalk, an street level bar and cafe area, and an upstairs dining room. Due to the August heat and humidity we elected to sit in the dining room, however on a future visit I hope to be able to sit on the sidewalk patio. It is a marvelous location to watch people and enjoy the surrounding architecture and parks.

Inside the cool air was a welcome reprieve from the oppressive August heat. The restaurant's atmosphere is elegant and calm. We relaxed in our booth and read the menu. The food is classic French brasserie. In lieu of entrees, we decided to try several appetizers. I selected a chilled pea soup and the cheese plate. Jonathan ordered the assorted pork plate and a crab cake. In addition, we shared a mixed green salad and an order of some fabulous French fries. Everything was very good, starting with the basic bread and butter brought to the table at the beginning of our meal. My soup was delightful – light, creamy, fresh – and perfect for a hot summer evening. The cheese plate was also excellent. It was quite large for an appetizer portion and had a good selection of cheeses. Jonathan thoroughly enjoyed his two carnivorous dishes. And did I mention the French fries were fabulous? We ordered a very nice Rhone wine that was perfect with our food.

At that point we could have happily concluded the meal. However, since this was a birthday dinner, dessert was a necessity. On the recommendation of our waiter we ordered the fondant au chocolat and the Irish coffee glacé. The fondant was an idyllic warm chocolate cake. Now I understand this next statement might upset my father, but it is necessary to include to adequately describe the cake. This was the best warm chocolate cake I have ever had. (Sorry Dad!) And the Irish coffee glacé was also amazing! A perfect end to a special meal.

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