Stop what you’re doing and skip the 14th Street small plates scene and hop on Bus 52 or 54 instead. Get off in Petworth (home of our favorite prince) and visit Chez Billy for an impressive meal full of small miracles:
- The portions were the right size.
- The cocktails were inventive and worth their value.
- The mackerel was fresh, not fishy.
- The harissa wasn’t too spicy.
- The beef bourguignon wasn’t too wintery.
- The dessert wasn’t too sweet.
- The service was so friendly we could have stayed all night.
We came away enjoying every last bite and will be back to try more dishes. Heck, we’ll even dry more dishes if they feed us in blueberry panna cotta.
The Best Thing on the Menu: Saucisse Merguez – Grilled Spicy Lamb sausages, White beans, Charred Scallions and Harissa was a standout. Why anyone makes sausage with meat other than lamb, we’ll never know after trying these rich, gamey links. The scallions were a special treat, reminding us of our very first post from Estadio and the warm heat of the harissa brought everything together.
Other notables included the boudin noir (warm blood sausage terrine), chilled corn soup with pickled cantaloupe, the confit de canard (confit duck) and the special of the day, short rib beef bourguignon. The Chef had just returned from honeymooning in France, and boy were we the beneficiaries. While this was a BTM contender, we try to stay away from recommending specials in case they do a disappearing act before you get to the restaurant.
The atmosphere is charming, which should come as no surprise since the building is included on the National Register of Historic Places. Its rich African American history, having originally housed Billy Simpson’s House of Seafood and Steaks, saw the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Martin Luther King Jr.
So, in sum, step away from the small plates and step into Chez Billy for some modern French fare that is sure to impress (and at prices, that again, are a small miracle).
Saucisse Merguez not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.