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Posted by Don Druker on 10/16/2009
The big city snob in me still thinks of DC and its suburbs as a bit constricted and cheesy, as metro areas go. Even though I've lived here for over thirty years, I continue to get my major American restaurant fixes from New York, Chicago (my home town), LA, and San Francisco. Which is not to say that the DC region does not have a thriving and rapidly expanding restaurant scene. It does, and probably will for decades. It's a world capital, after all, even if it can't compete on the level of culture, amenities, and general weirdness with places like Paris and Rome. So, if you're looking for a special culinary night out in DC or its suburbs, you could spend a long time here without running out of possibilities. That said, there are some places to which my wife and I keep coming back. La Ferme, in Chevy Chase, MD, is one of those places. The cuisine is traditional without being antedeluvian, the cooking is absolutely first-rate, and the ambience (which includes not only the lovely setting, the dining rooms, and the air of a French country inn, but also the way you're treated from the moment you make a reservation to the moment you head out the door) is memorable. The stucco building that houses the restaurant dates back to the 1920s, and has gone through a variety of incarnations since then. It's been an actual restaurant, under pretty much the same management, since the eighties. Although I don't live within walking distance of La Ferme, it appears from my numerous dinners there, that many of the diners do. There's an ample parking lot, but it always seems as if the people sitting near me live near enough to stroll home after dinner. There's live music and a signature soufflé, and a menu that generally includes standards like grilled Dover sole; grilled salmon filet served over curried Israeli couscous with baby vegetables; sea scallops served over wilted Arugula; and peppercorn crusted loin of lamb served with rosemary potato cake and braised endive and roasted garlic jus. On our last trip there, I had a calf’s sweetbread, sautéed and served crispy with caper and lemon butter that was superb. La Ferme is not trendy, it doesn't generally show up on this week's must-visit list, and neither the decor nor the presentation is in any way experimental. But it is a wonderful place for the kind of -- dare I say it -- romantic dining experience you'd have trouble seeking out these days in reconstituted midtown Manhattan or swinging Santa Monica.
Posted by A Local "Parisienne" on 07/02/2008
This is in my opinion the best French restaurant in the DC area. It is authentic, and true to the French culineray arts!! The "Trio of Lamb" is to die for!! So are the "Real French Toasts" on the brunch menu. A must!