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French bistro recommendations in DC and VA

henmonster | Dec 1, 201108:59 AM

So after a ten year hiatus, the Mrs. will be taking me out for genuine bistro dinner this Saturday night (the last time was after 9/11 at the much beloved, long-gone Au Pied du Cochon). Given the likelihood that another bistro dinner won't occur for another ten years, i want to make sure this one counts - so I'm looking to Chow Nation.

What am I looking for? A casual, warm and inviting place with a decent amount of chatter (to remind me of Paris). A menu that makes classic French fare sing (cassoulet, manard a l'orange, coq au vin, etc.). Snails, frog legs, rabbit -- all of that would be great, too. And good value -- it doesn't have to be cheap -- but I want to feel like someone was back there really caring and thinking about the food and wine list.

I'm juggling Bistro d'Oc, La Chaumiere, L'Auberge Chez Francois, Bastille...

What's your advice?

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