My all-time favorite line in a movie is uttered in the 1993 French film Á La Mode. The lead character’s best friend is a ne’er-do-well until he discovers butchery. “La viande … c’est choutte,” the friend breathlessly tells him as he cuts apart a pig. And I agree. Meat is cool, but when it’s presented bistro-style, it’s even cooler. That’s why you should be making a reservation at Parc de Ville.
From chicken liver mousse to steak frites, there are no disappointments when it comes to fleshy finds at the Fairfax Mosaic restaurant. But when I tried Le Burger Royale last week, it became my new upscale-ish favorite. (So far, Charred still holds the fast-casual spot in my heart for beef on a bun.) I say “-ish,” because while the food is worthy of a jacket and tie at Parc de Ville, most customers show up dressed down—it is a bistro, after all.
The beef is juicy, cooked to exactly the requested temperature, well-seasoned and hearty. It’s simply much better prepared than your average burger, no matter the restaurant’s level of formality. Just as important to the package is the bun. A gentleman I interviewed years ago said that a therapist he once worked with to help his overeating referred to a burger as “a meat-filled pastry.” The buns at Parc de Ville are worthy of this title, sturdy, eggy and ever-so-slightly sweet.
American cheese and crispy bacon add appreciated salt and fat, along with a mayo-adjacent concoction called “Club Sauce.” But the splendor of this burger owes in part to its vegetables too. Leafy lettuce and sour pickles, including a single cornichon on top, freshen up what could be an overwhelmingly heavy combination. Then there are the frites—crisp, salty and pretty much a platonic ideal of French french fries.
Yes, you need this burger today, but unfortunately, Parc de Ville is closed on Monday. Make a reservation for tomorrow then. // 8296 Glass Alley, Fairfax
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