Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

December 22, 2009 10:55 PM

Restaurant: La Pain Quotidian

La Pain Quotidian

4874 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, D.C.
On the Friday after Thanksgiving I ventured off to the Spring Valley Shopping Center to get my car serviced. As luck would have it, they were able to start working on the car immediately. It was 8:15 a.m. and I needed to kill 45 minutes.

Across Mass Avenue I saw a Starbucks and headed in that direction. But as I crossed the street I found myself in front of a restaurant/bakery I had passed many times before but never tried. And so I did.

It is called La Pain Quotidian.

In terms of the kind food that is served here, it is about as far away from Ben's Chili Bowl as one can get. But in its own way, it is just as good.

The restaurant is V-shaped, with two long walls being floor-to-ceiling glass windows. There are a number of 2- and 4-person tables, and two communal tables, one which holds 30 people, and the other which holds 16.

The tables and chairs are made of plain wood and the chairs are a little on the small side.

I had a small bowl of cut fruit (the fruit is cut into relatively small pieces, making it a whole lot easier to eat than the ordinary size of cut fruit); a small bowl of mixed berries; a bowl of fresh organic granola with skim milk; an egg white omelet with wild mushrooms; a pumpkin muffin (selected by my server as her favorite); hot and cold espresso; and ice tea. [I did not eat all of the foregoing at one time. I tried the restaurant a second time the next morning.]

The breakfast menu includes 6 different omelettes, all of which can be ordered with egg whites. Plain fried eggs are also available. In addition to the Granola there is an offering of organic steelcut oatmeal.

There are a variety of fresh breads and rolls available for consumption during a meal or for take-out from a bakery section.

On my 3rd visit I ordered artine (sandwich) of warm chicken, cheddar cheese and a smatterings of other goodies. It was quite large, and frankly would serve two people if you started with a bowl of soup or a small salad.

The lunch menu includes:

13 Tartines such as grilled chicken, smoked mozzarella, arugula and basil pesto; 8 salads; 4 special platters; and 3 quiches.

There are organic & biogeneric beers and wines on request.

The restaurant offers three meals a day. It is a bit pricey, but overall worth it.

On my first visit there were relatively few people in the restaurant. On Saturday, when I arrived around 10 a.m., it was quite a bit busier. There were many families with small children and it was a bit noisier than my previous visit. On my 3rd visit, late noon on a Friday, there were maybe a dozen people having lunch.

The servers were young, energetic, friendly, and attentive.

The men's room is simple but more than adequate. There is a white ceramic commode and a white ceramic washbasin with a large ornate framed mirror over it. There are small light green tiles up to 6 feet on the walls, and then tan painted walls above that height. The floor is covered with very large tan tiles.

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