In its latest venture in D.C., Knead Hospitality + Design wakes up very early. The new Bistro du Jour offers a stylish place on Capitol Hill to enjoy whipped yogurt parfait, quiche, and French toast starting at 6:30 a.m.
The fast-growing restaurant group’s second Bistro du Jour opened today inside the new 271-room Royal Sonesta Washington, DC Capitol Hill hotel (20 Massachusetts Avenue NW). With breakfast, brunch, lunch, happy hour, and dinner right out of the gate, Bistro du Jour caters to hotel guests, nearby residents, and commuter employees who hop off the metro and go to Congress. On weekdays, the 200-seat bistro wakes up 90 minutes earlier than its original version on the Wharf.
“There aren’t a lot of good restaurants in D.C. that serve breakfast (other than) your standard egg sandwiches and omelettes,” says Jason Perry, who co-owns Knead with Michael Regenbogen. “We both love breakfast and find it easier to find staff to work in the morning.”
The Paris-Brest race, named after France’s famous bicycle race, is an upscale spin on bread and lox. Another nice way to start the day is with a grapefruit half covered in champagne and caramelized cardamom with madeleines for a carb side kick.
“It’s like you’re eating something healthy, with sugar added to it to sweeten the morning,” Perry says.
Like its two-year-old counterpart at the Wharf, the all-in-one café serves other morning favorites like crusty pastries, the famous Plat Américain (eggs any way, bacon, crispy fingerlings, and croissants), and fresh juice. As the day progresses, there’s salmon ratatouille, pea broth-based gnocchi, steak frites, coq au vin, and plenty of champagne. With much more space to play with, the 6,000-square-foot sophomore locale houses the brand’s first full bar and a 75 percent larger menu.
First courses on Capitol Hill include soufflé au fromage (Gruyère cream and truffle) and Dover sole with fresh green grapes, chervil wine sauce and mushrooms.
Best-selling appetizers making their way to Capitol Hill include gougères (warm cheese puffs) and macaron au foie, a salty-sweet combination of chicken liver mousse and fig jam. Other favorites include French onion soup, Lyonnaise and tuna Niçoise salads, a croque madame sandwich dripping with béchamel and sticky Gruyère, mussels swimming in white wine and garlic butter, and a double “Lamerican” cheeseburger. Kids can partake in a single pancake version or grilled salmon with fries.
Bistro du Jour’s expansion comes on the heels of a big year for French food in the capital, with a sea of fresh options continuing to emerge across the city.
“The cuisine feels eclectic and familiar. You can find something for everyone on the menu,” says Regenbogen, adding, “We will be back (to France) in two weeks to make sure we did it right.”
The Capitol Hill design takes cues from a Parisian garden, and includes hand-painted murals of the French countryside, brass wall sconces, and wood-treated posts made to resemble flower baskets. “It’s a brighter, lighter, more adult version of the traditional French bistro,” he says. Read: There are no vintage French signs, mini crochet curtains, or cute subway tiles in sight.
“It’s a cleaner, classic, contemporary aesthetic that dresses up nicely and welcomes different styles of dining,” says Reggenbogen. “You can come in jeans and a T-shirt or a three-piece suit.”
The addition of the lounge is a first for the local hospitality group, which is also behind Mi Vida, the Grill, Gatsby, Succotash Prime and Mi Casa. The all-day feature, outfitted with banquet seating and brass screens, transitions to a darker, more moody setting at night.
The marble bar surrounded by soft pink seating showcases France’s beloved Kronenburg beer, French aperitifs and classic Champagne cocktails like the Kir Royale with Creme De Cassis, French 75s and an Elderflower Spritz made with St. Germain. The sought-after green Chartreuse is making its way to the Champs-Élysées and Cocktails at Last.
Breakfast is served weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. (starting at 7 a.m. on weekends); Brunch and lunch run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Dinner is served from 4pm to 10pm (and until 11pm on Friday and Saturday). Weekday happy hour (3 p.m. to 6 p.m.) features $8 cocktails, $6 beers, and discounted food.
Bistro du Jour Capitol Hill marks Knead’s 20th restaurant to date and the first of many openings in the group’s pipeline. Look for up to five new locations and brands to appear next year and at least two in 2025.
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