When we had arranged for brunch at Chez Billy, we didn’t realize how far away it really was.
Petworth? Isn’t that just a bit north of Columbia Heights? Isn’t there a Prince there?
I didn’t see many princes outside the MyTaxi window on the ride north. It was a cloudy, rainy Sunday, which just made the neighborhood seem seasonally depressed, regardless of all the new construction popping up around the Metro stop.
The small restaurant is hidden away, across the street from a crater in the earth that I assume will eventually become a garish apartment high-rise. It is certainly positioned in an up-and-coming location, and I bet all the residents that already live closeby have embraced this as their local. I certainly would.
Inside, there was a roaring fireplace in a big, empty room. A long bar lined the wall, and beautiful chandeliers hung from the tall ceilings. It looked like it could have been a dance hall in a French hunting lodge in the ‘20s. There’s even the old piano upstairs.
In fact, the entire restaurant is designed impeccably–though not made to seem as if it is designed at all. That’s one of the many beauties of a Hilton restaurant (like their brothers, The Brixton, Marvin, Satellite Room, and others). They’re well thought-out, masculine, comfortable.
The dining room wasn’t in that main hall, but in a room to the side. It was dimly lit, with wooden booths illuminated by soft globe lamps with beautiful numbers painted on them.
Our server was friendly and real. The coffee came in a lovely French press with hot milk to pour into it. I appreciated that. The mimosas were tall and fresh.
The brunch menu is small and surprisingly French (mussels, even). They were offering a benedict special that day, not on the menu, so I went for that, of course. It ended up being lovely–piles of prosciutto and a very nice hollandaise–but rather small. Disappointingly small, in fact. And nothing on the side.
The croque madame (which we requested to be made a croque monsieur) looked expectedly greasy. Inside, bechemel cheese and a fried egg. This was the largest of the brunch entrees we ordered, as it was quite a heavy sandwich and even came with frites.
The omelet was the smallest dish of the bunch, ironically ordered by the tallest of the brunch group. A tiny crepe, almost, with not much inside. On the side, only a pinch of greens. Our tall lad who was joining us for brunch told us it was lucky this was his second breakfast of the day. Boys.
Cori Sue’s salmon tartine was beautifully presented and fresh. The fresh French bread was easy to cut into, which is often a concern as you certainly don’t want everything flying off your plate as you attempt to saw through the bread with a butter knife.
The bread was slathered with just the right amount of creme fraiche, a layer of fresh smoked salmon and then fresh microgreens. It was surrounded by thin slices of hard boiled eggs. The light dressing was really flavorful, without being overpowering.
But, again, it was small. All of the dishes were small—or maybe we’re just getting used to larger portion sizes. In fact, we were all still a bit hungry after we had finished, so we ordered a big plate of frites. The fries were delicious—fresh cut, salty, greasy perfection.
The Bitches say: B+. A well-appointed brunch in a lovely setting, though the entrees could have used some heft, or at least some sides.
3815 Georgia Ave. NW