by Mary Beth Ray
It’s a cold and rainy winter night, the cupboard is bare and I’m longing for the warmth and charm of a French bistro just a short walk from home. Voila! Terasol is here, and it is not to be missed!
My husband and I dined at Terasol last week for the third time — and each time it only gets better. This French bistro and artisan gallery at 5010 Connecticut Avenue, just across the street from Politics and Prose, has recently completed a kitchen renovation and hired a new chef.
The menu is decidedly French, and offers something for every taste. Owners Alan Moin and Sabrina Ousmaal welcome patrons like old friends. The service is impeccable. Waiters are friendly, knowledgeable and efficient. The local art ranges from colorful paintings and ceramics, to whimsical watches and earrings. The warm yellow walls and tin ceiling add a cozy ambiance that takes the chill off the worst winter night.
The wine list is pleasant and reasonably priced, and we have especially enjoyed the Domaine des Rochers Pouilly-Fuisse ($12/glass and $39/bottle). Meals begin with some of the best French bread I’ve had in Washington. The bread is made in Silver Spring, baked Chez Terasol, and served warm with butter. It could practically be a meal on its own for this New Orleans girl! The French onion soup ($7) will delight — it is classically prepared and served in a crock, with a rich beef broth, mellow onions, flavorful garlic croutons, perfectly melted Gruyere cheese and a fresh sprinkle of parsley. The Caesar salad ($7) has a good flavor and consistency, but tomatoes and cucumbers added an unwelcome intrusion for purists.
Main courses range from meat and fish to pasta and quiche. Our favorites so far are the divine Risotto aux Champignons ($18) and the Bouillabaisse ($23). Each dish captures the fresh ingredients and flavor that send one to a French restaurant in the first place. The classic roasted chicken with herbes de Provence and turned potatoes ($20) was crisp, juicy and flavorful. Presentation is attractive and appetizing, but it does not detract from the main attraction: simply delicious French food. Serving portions feel just right — we clean our plates and we’re too full for dessert!
Terasol has done our neighborhood proud on many levels. Not only are they serving fabulous French food in a beautiful atmosphere with friendly service, they also provide outdoor seating and music on weekends. Jazz singer Rachel Sberro and guitarist Alex Martin both hail from France, and they add a perfect je ne sais quoi to weekend evenings from 6:30 to 9:30. Terasol is now open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so tout de suite, book your table now and be prepared for a quick excursion to Paris!
Terasol bistro and artisan gallery, 5010 Connecticut Ave.
Reservations: 202-237-5555, www.terasolartisans.com
Hours: Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.