Most visitors to Washington, D.C., come to see the sights, stroll the streets, and soak up all the local political energy. But some also come to enjoy some of the nation’s finest dining. For these epicures, then, the destination must be The Lafayette. Located in the premier Hay-Adams hotel, one of the finest hotels in the city, and possibly even in the country, this super-elegant dining room setting features all the luxuries one would expect from a top-tier establishment.
Up a flight of stairs, the dining room houses white tablecloths, background piano music, crystal chandeliers, gold-trimmed everything, comfy banquettes, uniformed staff, and very upscale meals executed under the direction of executive chef Nicolas Legret. Patrons will relish the distinctive menus for each meal — breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch — all of which will satisfy even the most high-end palate. Take, for example, these breakfast choices: chorizo sausage, sweet potato, Brussel sprouts with an egg; spring (seasonal) vegetable frittata; and Chesapeake crab cake Benedict, to name a few. And patrons get to enjoy the gooey, yummy breakfast pastries created by talented pastry chef Josh Short.
Of course, lucky and hungry diners can luxuriate in the balance of the day’s menus, with luncheons featuring seasonally sophisticated fare, including such offerings as a first course of Spanish octopus with potatoes and preserved lemon or a roasted sunchoke and porcini bisque with brioche croutons. The rest of a midday menu should include the Hay-Adams Cobb salad, a plate of baked Atlantic cod with a clam chowder sauce, or a seared veal loin with Austrian crescent potatoes. Accompanying the meal will likely be a basket of freshly baked rolls or chunks of baguettes with a side of butter.
Dinners may have a similar menu with the addition of tempting appetizers: crispy Virginia Duroc pork belly with soubise or Acquerello risotto with fresh truffles. The heartier entrées may include such dishes as a Black Angus beef tenderloin Rossini with pommes Darphin and foie gras or a Colorado rack of lamb with a side of herbed barley and heirloom baby carrots.
Of course, anyone with a sweet tooth — and that must include 95 percent of the population — will look forward to what the genius pastry chef concocts. Not only does Short make ice creams and sorbets fresh on the premises, but he bakes up such treats a Meyer lemon and Vermont mascarpone tart with candied kumquats and a huckleberry coulis, a Grand Marnier soufflé with Belgian chocolate ice cream and a “Midnight Stone,” which in plain terms is Jivara chocolate mousse with an almond cake and chocolate sauce. Included in the dessert listings is a selection of libations, from an espresso martini to a Rémy Martin Louis XIII for a $400 tab.
In the end, patrons must surely find the Lafayette the answer to their dine-out prayers. As they relax and even luxuriate in these posh surroundings, they may make a private vow to return often to experience breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch. And don’t forget: Every major holiday gets its own culinary salute here, so keep tabs on what to experience then.
The Lafayette, The Hay-Adams Hotel, 800 16th St., Washington, D.C. 202-683-6600.