L’Avant-Garde Coming to M Street by Way of Michelin-Starred Chef Gilles Epié
By October 6, 2022 0 1255•
Michelin-starred chef Gilles Epié’s soon-to-open L’Avant-Garde at 2915 M Street NW will serve “le vrai” (real) French cuisine in a suave setting. Epié is excited to have moved to a four-season climate, “like Paris,” he says, after years helming lauded restaurants in Los Angeles, Hawaii and Florida. His eagerly awaited new venture will serve dinner at a “not too expensive” price point ($55-$95). Considering the luxury ingredients, he is confident of its appeal to the area’s cosmopolitan clientele.
Simplicity is the keynote of his cooking. It’s a style based on the “best ingredients” sourced from around the United States and Europe. For example, sea bass will be flown in from France. The “oceans are different, so the flavors are different,” he explains. Sourcing, he says, is “80 percent of the job.” Then one must “cook it well, season it well” – sometimes, only with salt and pepper. Inexperienced chefs too often “cover ingredients with spices and herbs.”
Scrambled eggs topped with caviar is dramatically presented in an eggshell, while a foie gras beignet glazed with a caramelized port wine sauce is another Instagram-ready composition. Epié plans to source the “authentic” fish for his bouillabaisse from Marseille. He also will be making the most of our nation’s bounty. One of his signature dishes is a beautiful salad based on the baby-sized leaves of a lettuce called Salanova. The dressing is a “simple” combination of baguette breadcrumbs, vinegar, oil and parmesan cheese. Epié hopes to find a local source for this California crop. Happily, he tells us, Georgetown’s Boulangerie Christophe will be baking a “delicious country bread (old tradition)…only for us”.
Diners can look forward to dishes like steamed codfish with caviar, a provincial beef in a Bandol wine reduction covered with black olives, stuffed tomatoes with goat cheese, grilled prime rib and frites cooked in butter. There will be porcini and truffles in season, of course. Desserts, like a white chocolate panna cotta with a seasonal granita, olive oil and honey, will look as lovely as they taste. “Presentation and simplicity” rule his kitchen.
Diners can expect well-chosen wines and classic cocktails. The restaurant is slated to open in late October or early November.
To see our earlier article on Chef Epié go here.