Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

August 23, 2014 6:53 AM

Restaurant: Macon Bistro and Larder

Macon Bistro & Larder

5520 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20015
Rachel, Mike M, Debbie, and I went to “macon” for dinner on the same day that The Washingtonian came out with its review of the restaurant. Our experience was notably different when it came to several of the criticisms in The Washingtonian review.

The entrance to the restaurant is in an Arcade that is entered from Wisconsin Avenue. There are a number of other businesses that are also entered off the Arcade.

There are five eating areas “in” the restaurant. The first is outside, on a fenced-off section of the very large sidewalk. There are 5 four -tops under a couple of large, yellow umbrellas. In order to be seated in this area you do have to enter the restaurant.

The second eating area is in the wide Arcade hallway. There are 3 four-tops and 1 two-top on each side of the entrance to the restaurant, which is on the left as you come down the hall. Again, you need to enter the restaurant to be seated in this area.

As you enter the restaurant the reception desk is on your right.

Behind the reception desk, along the Arcade wall (which is glass), there are 2 tables, one seating up to eight and another seating five. Directly across from those tables is the open kitchen.

The fourth area is directly in front of the reception desk, and consists of a number of 2s, 4s and 6s (various combos are possible) in an L shape, with the long side of the wall against the Arcade wall and the short side against the front wall, which is also glass. There are a few others 2s and 4s inside of the L.

Finally, directly across from the entrance is a large bar with high stools, seating up to 9 people.

The ceiling is high. The ceiling and walls are rough hewn, with large exposed pipes in the ceiling.

For starters we shared Fried Green Tomatoes/pork belly, watercress, spiced tomato aioli; Haricot Verts, shallots, butter, parsley; Deviled eggs and Essie’s Biscuits. I also had the Chilled Corn Soup, shrimp, cornbread croutons, chipotle oil.

For her entre Debbie selected one of the starters, Nicoise Salad, grilled little gem, heirloom tomatoes, anchovies, hardboiled-egg vinaigrette. Rachel and Mike M chose the Cauliflower Steak , ratatouille, spring vegetable emulsion, thyme crumble. They enjoyed this truly vegetarian dish, but thought it could have been cooked just a little longer.

I selected the Short Ribs, stone ground grits, crispy shallots. Contrary to The Washingtonian description of the dish as “stringy, dry short rib perched over watery grits,” I found the short rib to be cooked perfectly. It came apart with just the gentlest touch and it was properly moist. The grits served to me were exactly the right texture and certainly not watery.

For dessert we shared Gigi Mama’s Coconut Cake and a Coffee Praline Sundae, both of which were excellent.

Reservations are not required, but recommended. Mike M made our reservation and his experience could not have been more different than the comedy of errors described in The Washingtonian. He first went to Open Table, where there was not a table available at the time we preferred. He then did what you should always do if Open Table says no and called the restaurant. He quickly received a reservation for the requested time.

The Washingtonian described the wait staff as “earnest if a little flighty.” There was nothing flighty about the service we received from Bryan, our waiter. He was patient with our various questions and checked in on us numerous times during the evening, even when no dishes were pending.

The restroom is located in the Arcade hall and is intended to be used by the various businesses in the Arcade. When I stopped at the reception desk to ask the location of the restrooms, one of the restaurant staff told me it was in the arcade hallway and then led me part way there to make sure that I found it.

It is a pretty standard, commercial restroom with a urinal, a commode, a washbasin and table, and a floor covered with small black and white tiles. The rest of the room is painted off white.

Currently, open only for dinner on Tuesday through Sunday.

Return to Home Page