Les Halles, Anthony Bourdain's brainchild, is sadly closing its Washington, DC doors. Les Halles, modeled around the typical Parisian brasserie and named after the French gastronomical shopping centers, has remaining locations in New York and Miami.
I first visited this gem a few months ago on a double date with a couple equally enamored by Anthony Bourdain and No Reservations. I was doubly excited by this French-inspired restaurant due to my days studying and living in Lyon, France. More about this below. Bourdain's Les Halles prided themselves on their french fries, and boy are they good. Every last one was crunchy and well-seasoned.
We began with a double portion of mussels served alongside crusty French bread. While the bread wasn't exactly like how it was in France, it still served its mussel-juice-sopping-up purpose!
I ordered a steak with béarnaise sauce-- one of my favorites! The steak was a perfect medium and the béarnaise couldn't complement it better. Creamy and herby from the tarragon. Delicious! My boyfriend had the steak au poivre and loved it, but he was admittedly enamoured with my béarnaise. (Not to mention he prefers MY steak au poivre!)
Dessert: Orange Crepes Suzette prepared tableside. A firey spectacle of butter, the juice of an orange, zest, and grand marnier! Quite pricey for a dessert crepe but well worth it in my opinion.
Now let's cross the pond to Les Halles' namesake. Les Halles de Lyon is an unassuming, old building from the outside-- the neon in the 'H' conspicuously missing so that the sign read, Les alles. I often passed by on my walks to Part Dieu, the train station closest to my apartment. I lived in Lyon for 6 months and sadly did not venture inside Les Halles until the end of my stay.
Rows and rows of charcuterie, cheeses, mussels, produce etc. All fresh and beautiful-- no surprise coming from Lyon, the gastronomical center of the world. Small food stalls and restaurants are intermingled, perfect if the food is too enticing and you need to sample and eat immediately. This is how it usually turns out for me!
If you find yourself in France, please do yourself a huge service and visit one of the many Les Halles locations that dot the country. As for Les Halles in DC, you will surely be missed...