We Love Food: Speak Easy at L’Enfant Cafe

Photo courtesy of M.V. Jantzen
Le Soir courtesy of M.V. Jantzen

The French get it. At least when it comes to food and romance. Mix Paris with a little New York and you have yourself a seriously original duo. Enter L’Enfant Cafe, a tiny bistro in Adams Morgan, and you see that America à la France at its greatest. It boasts only 16 tables, but dishes out some serious french fare that transport you to a cafe in the center of Le Marais. On a weekend, it is a great spot to find a croque madame and espresso, and on a weeknight, a perfect date spot for intimate conversation and glasses of rouge. This place is just as one imagines a Parisian bistro to be: effortlessly fabulous.

But that’s just the half of it. L’Enfant is so much more than just a restaurant. Co-owned by Christopher Lynch and Jim Ball, two New Yorkers who wanted to bring the art-y to Party, L’Enfant has turned into an institution of fun fare. Known for their yearly Bastille Day French Maid Relay Race, as well as their infamous Saturday Le Boum brunches, these guys keep it coming. Now, they are making Sunday the new Funday with a one of a kind dining experience. What does that entail? One word: Cabaret.

Photo courtesy of snackfight
croque madame courtesy of snackfight

On Sunday nights, L’Enfant Cafe turns into a full blown Cabaret Speakeasy.You walk in through a back door and go into a Woody Allen-esque Midnight in Paris. The menu, priced at $50 per person, is ever-changing and not given in advance, rather you are surprised by the ambiance and accompanying high quality food. The night we went we were enjoyed a truffled white bean and escarole provencal soup, almond crusted pork tenderloin with braised pears and apples, honey buttered baby carrots and wild rice with cranberries. For dessert, we had a chocolate pate with raspberry cream and blackberry port sauce.

Photo courtesy Christopher Lynch

But the real show happens when the music is lowered  and the cabaret begins. Chris and Jim, other than being pretty great restaurateurs, are quite hilarious and together create an instant welcome and break the ice for all you “speak easy virgins.”

“We wanted to evoke a social dining experience,” says Chris, and that is exactly what it is. The close quarters mean your neighboring tables will become your best friends, and the show on stage is interactive. At any moment, you good sir, may become the source or butt of a joke. You are essentially locked in these close quarters to mingle and make new friends. What happens at L’Enfant stays at L’Enfant,  just keep the champagne flowing and the personality rolling.

On February 12, Flotilla DeBarge, who has been featured in Sex and the City and on Broadways alongside Cyndi Lauper and Alan Cummings, will be hosting a solo show.  Titled “Flotilla DeBarge’s Love Boat”  this one-“woman” comedy show it perfect for singles and couples alike. And while I am usually a cynic with all things cupid and cute, I couldn’t think of a better place to take a date. It is all about having a sense of humor, an ability to enjoy new things and a chance to be transported out of D.C. for the night without leaving NW.

Photo courtesy Christopher Lynch

Joey Arias, the Gaga of Cabaret, is the feature showman on other nights. A New York City based performer, cabaret singer, and drag artist, Arias is also known for hosting Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity show in Las Vegas for six years. He also just finished his off-Broadway show “Arias with a Twist” which will have a five-week run at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre in D.C. Upcoming shows will be hosted on February 19th (Joey Arias will be performing Patty Boom- former Scissors Sister), March 11 and March 25th.

Reservations can only be made via the website www.lenfantcafe.com

You can thank me later for letting you in on one of the best kept secrets in the District.

While it was Georgetown that brought me here, it was the city that kept me here. I was born in Colombia but spent my teenage years in London, yet have never felt more at home than in the District. I believe the best way to get to know a place is through its cuisine, and plan my life around sharing good food with good people. Lover of lattes, bacon and bourbon. This is Why I Love DC .Follow me on Twitter or Email natalia(at)welovedc.com

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