A Delicious Spot, Malmaison

Photo by Judith Beermann

Shamim and Zubair Popal (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Shamim and Zubair Popal

As Joséphine's daughter, Hortense, was known to have called the Bonaparte family’s estate outside of Paris, "a delicious spot," so too is Georgetown’s latest upscale French café and bar.

Camille serves a Garden Gimlet cocktail (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Camille serves a Garden Gimlet cocktail

Malmaison, like the Popal family restaurateurs' other D.C. establishments (Napoleon Bistro and Café Bonaparte), offers fine dining with a comfortable Euro-chic vibe. Located on Water Street under the Whitehurst Freeway, the two-floor industrial space has views of Rosslyn and Key Bridge from its floor-to-ceiling garage door windows. Equal parts loft lounge and cozy dining room, the decorations in signature soft lavender on everything from upholstered seating to espresso cups and table linen, are an elegant contrast to the oversized black lacquered furnishings.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

The artisanal French liqueur, St. Germain, made of elderberry flowers, infuses many of the refreshing house cocktails, especially "Garden Gimlet," a blend of Citadel gin, fresh basil, rosemary, and yes, St. St.Germain.

The culinary team, headed by Gerard Panaud, has created a menu appealing to carnivores and herbivores alike. We started with the soup of the day, a fresh creamy artichoke with fragrant garlic. For appetizers, we tried the sautéed shrimp with ginger, mango and spinach and a foie gras medallion salad with asparagus and frisée.

Antonio serves a taste of artichoke soup in an espresso cup (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Antonio serves a taste of artichoke soup in an espresso cup

A smooth Gamay & Pinot Noir from Domaine Maison accompanied entrées of braised boneless short ribs with Bordelaise sauce and braised lamb shanks in a bean medley and mint sauce. Other dinner selections included a ravioli and bouillabaisse of vegetables in a safrron broth.

From cocktails to dessert (a mango tart with passion fruit sauce), service and presentation was as elegant as the surroundings.

Malmaison, at 3401 Water Street, is now open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tel: 202.817.3340

Sauteed shrimp in Sauternes with ginger and lime sauce (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Sauteed shrimp in Sauternes with ginger and lime sauce

Foie Gras salad (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Foie Gras salad
Braised short ribs with mashed potatoes and glazed vegetables (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Braised short ribs with mashed potatoes and glazed vegetables

Braised lamb shanks in a bean medley and mint sauce (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Braised lamb shanks in a bean medley and mint sauce