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Marcus Moore Restorations

Restaurant Review ~ Brasserie Liberté / 3251 Prospect St., NW

Elegant Eats!!

Driving around DC, especially in Georgetown, one can hardly avoid the sight of so many restaurants. As people must note all the time, the local restaurant scene offers every kind of setting and cuisine. One of the most recent to enter the local culinary scene is the elegant Brasserie Liberté on Prospect Street in Georgetown.

Located in the former Morton’s steakhouse, the restaurant, thanks to its owner, Hakan Ilhan, who has a keen eye for grace and beauty, the interior setting dazzles. Separated into more or less private areas by fancy walls (one a holder of countless wine bottles) the décor has a decidedly French feel, somewhat country-ish and somewhat urban, depending on where one sits. Dark woods add to the sophistication of the décor. And in the back is a uniquely individual seating area with the back wall behind the small table painted to look like an umbrella.

The main dining room, photo–Scott Suchman.

Staff is on hand to guide you to seating, offer you menus, and punctually take orders, and serve meals. The chef himself is also new to the setting and almost new to DC. That would be 25-year-old Jaryd Hearn, who has an expressive way to create and shape a menu and the various offerings.

While French onion soup is a pretty standard offering on many local upscale restaurants, this one stands out because of its dark, rich flavor and loads of thinly sliced onions in the liquid and flavored with grated Emmanthaler cheese. Other must starters include at least one of the flatbreads, the tarte flambée with loads of cheese and thick-cut bacon and caramelized onions. If no one objects to snails these escargots come with a rich seasoning, of course, but also the chef has added a tiny nibble of mushroom. For those who like Brussels sprouts, the chef has roasted them to just the right crunchiness. And if you are a seafood fan, try the oysters on the half shell.

The the tuna Niçoise salad. photo–Scott Suchman.

Main course offerings include salads, such as the tuna Niçoise or the beet salad with bacon lardons and Roquefort cheese. But the big focus is on the entrées: Several must-haves (if you are dining solo, come with a big appetite) are the crispy duck confit, the outstanding boeuf bourguignon, and the braised lamb shank. All three are outstanding, and worth return trips.

And don’t forget to add a side order of frites. These are specially prepared over a period of time so that the resulting strips of fried potatoes ooze with flavor and crunchiness. The chef spoke briefly about the process, and it is way more than peeling and slicing Russett potatoes. If potatoes in any form are your preference, the mashed potatoes have bits of flavorful mouthfuls of cheese or meat folded within.

Desserts are classic French, from pecan pie profiteroles to apple galette, crème brûlée, and, of course, a selection of house-made ice creams and sorbets. Finish off the feast with a choice of tea or coffee, and if you are still in the wine mood, ask about after-dinner wine choices.

As your evening (or lunch or brunch or late night) winds down, take a look around and soak up the beauty of the décor and the courtesy of the staff. The Brasserie is a remarkable destination in this restaurant-dense city. Go and enjoy.

Brasserie Liberté / Hours: Lunch, Mon.-Fri. 11am-4pm; Dinner, Sun.-Sat. 4-10pm; Brunch, Sat. & Sun. 8 am-4pm. (202) 878-8404.

Copyright © 2019 InTowner Publishing Corp. & Alexandra Greeley. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without per-mission is prohibited, except as provided by 17 U.S.C. §107 “fair use”)

Alexandra Greeley is a food writer, editor, and restaurant reviewer. She has authored books on Asian and Mexican cuisines published by Simon & Schuster, Doubleday, and Macmillan. Other credits include restaurant reviews and food articles for national and regional publications, as well as former editor of the Vegetarian Times and former food editor/writer for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong.