Last weekend was Parents’ Weekend, which really only meant one thing: Hoyas were out and about dining on their parents’ dime. Instead of grabbing a hot chick at Wisey’s, my roommates and I ate a nice meal at La Chaumière, a small French restaurant located at 2813 M St., courtesy of my parents.
The restaurant immediately gave off a cozy vibe as we walked in. It felt like we had been transported to a French countryside inn, with its white stucco walls, brown wooden beams and stone fireplace. There were lights strung along the top of the wall and a vase of sunflowers at each table, further emphasizing the comfortable and warm atmosphere of the restaurant.
We were seated on the second floor of the restaurant, which was smaller but more intimate than the main floor. The menu at La Chaumière offers a wide variety of dishes and includes a “Daily Specials” section, which changes depending on the season and availability of fresh local meats and produce. The menu also offers an assortment of wines that are produced predominantly in France and the United States.
Our server helped us decide on several starters for the table. We ordered saumon fume (Atlantic smoked salmon, $11), palourdes farcies a la provencale (baked clams, $8.95), and moules farcies a la bourguignonne (baked mussels, $8.25). The baked clams and mussels were phenomenal. Both were cooked in the same type of sauce, which tasted like a mixture of olive oil, pesto and garlic among other ingredients. The sauce was so decadent that we dipped our leftover bread in it, just to have more. The salmon was also enjoyable. The flavorful fish was served atop buttery toast, and the combination melted in my mouth.
Next, we ordered our entrees. I decided to try the fricassee du pecheur ($22.95), a fish stew filled with clams, shrimp, mussels and scallops seasoned with an aioli emulsion. The soup was exactly what I needed after a long week of school and a shift into colder autumn weather. It was filled with more than enough fresh seafood; whenever I thought I had finished the seafood in my soup, I would find another hidden piece of scallop or fish.
One of my friends ordered saumon marine en croûte (marinated salmon puff pastry, champagne and dill sauce, $24.00). The puff pastry was buttery but also light. I also stole a bite of my dad’s dish, magret de canard (marinated duck breast in black currant sauce, $24.00), and it was wonderfully cooked. My two other roommates ordered dishes that they also were very impressed by: the scalopines de veau a la francaise, (veal piccato, veal jus and lemon butter, $23.00) and St. Jaques provencale, (sea scallops with garlic and tomatoes, $24.50). Everyone finished every last bite of their dishes, which suffice it to say, demonstrates that the food was wonderful.
Finally, we ordered two types of souffles — Grand Marnier and chocolate ($11 each). I’ve never had a souffle before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Our server pierced the top of each souffle and then poured a white sauce over both. The souffles were the perfect way to end the dinner — they were light and airy, but also sweet and satisfying. My dad declared that I needed to learn how to make them for Thanksgiving, which I’m pretty sure is easier said than done.
Overall, the dinner was great. The service was fast, and the servers were helpful, pleasant and attentive. If you ever want to go to a French restaurant that has a variety of seafood options, then this is the place. La Chaumière is open from Monday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch, and it is open from Monday to Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. for dinner.