This is the new brasserie/cafe in the Willard Hotel. The space is very nicely appointed, kind of an upscale bistro decor, with crisp white woodwork and royal blue banquettes. It should be noted, however, that this is a hotel restaurant, and a little bit of corporate-ness is visible. The staff is outstanding from the warm greeting at the door to the gracious welcoming from the waiter. When my son dropped a knife on the floor, someone came almost jogging out of the kitchen with a replacement on a napkin lined plate. The service was so "good", in fact, that starters came out minutes after ordering and the main dishes arrived before I had swallowed the last bite of my appetizer.
I wish the food was a little better. Gourgeres, brought to the table gratis, were warm and delicious. The Onion soup was rich and cheesey, but a bit sweet for my taste. A pate of long roasted beef and vegetables was homey, but plain. Roasted monkfish with a red wine sauce was perfectly cooked, but tasted a bit astringent. And my wife's sous-vide cooked, then crisped, pork was again, expertly cooked, but plain and even a little dry. Sides, which are offered free of charge, included terrific french fries as you would expect, and tastey but overcooked peas. Vanilla ice cream failed the kid test but espresso was great. First courses were about $7-10 and mains about $17-20.
Cafe du Parc is a wonderful addition to the city and I'm sure a welcomed alternative for hotel guests. Coming on the heels of Central and Brasserie Beck, however, it seems to come up a little short of a must-go for restaurant fans.
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