2014 Summer Restaurant Week, Day 3
A new one today: My first visit to Spike Mendelsohn’s Béarnaise, on Capitol Hill. Mendelsohn became a celebrity chef after his appearance on the fourth season of Top Chef. He placed fifth, but he created a memorable impression, and he’s been all over TV ever since.
(It’s interesting how many Top Chef veterans have gone on to establish or enhance local, and in some cases, national reputations. Contrast that w/another competitive reality show: Project Runway contestants seem to just fade away, not unlike the way that Project Runway itself has dropped off the radar).
After Top Chef, Mendelsohn opened a DC burger joint called Good Stuff Eatery, which has become a favorite of President and Mrs Obama. The burgers are small, but excellent—they’ve won national competitions.
He and his sister, Micheline Mendelsohn Luhn, opened Béarnaise on the same stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue a year ago.
My starter was this (cool) cucumber soup, a blend of cucumber. spinach, dill, mint, and Greek yoghurt.
Sliced filet on toast, with caramelized onions, aioli, and arugula. The food was good and the waitress was pleasant, but the meal was less than perfect. A hint: If you’re going to have an open kitchen, remind chef not to repeatedly shout obscenities so loud that they carry all the way to the front of the house. Diners aren’t really interested in hearing it.