Chez Billy: Saucisse Merguez

Chez Billy Saucisse Merguez

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.

Chez Billy Boudin Noir

Boudin Noir

Chez Billy Chilled Corn Soup

Chilled Corn Soup

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. 

If you liked this, you may also like Le Diplomate, Le Pain Quotidien or Poste.

Bourbon Steak: Big Eye Tuna with Slow Cooked Pork

Bourbon Steak's Surf and Turf

Surf and turf has been a staple on steakhouse menus from London to Paris, Miami to LA ever since the 1960s when it first became a popular combo platter in the then fab “continental cuisine” style.

One of DC’s sexiest steakhouses, Bourbon Steak, has its own take on surf and turf that bends the traditional steak and shrimp or steak and lobster definition into something a lot more fun: seared ahi tuna and the ever-popular pork belly.

The Best Thing on the Menu: Big Eye Tuna with Slow Cooked Pork, Mango Ravioli, Young Coconut and Hijiki may come as a surprise to those expecting sirloin or one of Bourbon Steak’s specialties, beautifully marbled A5 Miyazaki Japanese Wagyu beef, to star as the BTM.

The top dish is a tropical storm to be reckoned with, laden with notes of coconut, lemongrass and mango. A foamy sea of white clouds cover the pork and tuna treasures hiding below. Surrounding the surf and turf proteins are perfect parcels of must-try mango ravioli.

Everything we tried was top notch. However, healthy eaters beware, you may intend to survive dinner at Bourbon Steak without destroying your diet, but out comes an amuse-bouche of three different kinds of fries with accompanying sinful sauces, followed by a skillet of adorable, swirly-knotted black truffle butter rolls. Sins were committed. Rules were broken.

Since we oddly opted for fish dishes (we also savored the rockfish) we’ll have to come back for some steaks, or at least the lobster pot pie.  As one final quick tip, Bourbon Steak is a great pre-theatre pick for those headed to the Kennedy Center to see Book of Mormon or other shows. If you’re going to have the “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” song stuck in your head all night, you might as well have it with a belly full of free fries.

Big Eye Tuna with Slow Cooked Pork not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.