La Côte d’Or Café
Arlington / French / $$$
Thirty-eight bucks for three courses may sound too good to be true, but at this French classic, it’s a sumptuous reality. Thank chef Jacques Imperato, previously best known for Mediterranee in Arlington and Great Falls, who took over the restaurant five years ago.
If the restaurant feels like a warehouse for all things old and Gallic, embrace it. Where else are you going to find a floating island as cloudlike, or chocolate-drenched profiteroles filled with lavender-caramel ice cream? La Côte d’Or Café is a repository of all your French fantasies, gathered from the past and present.
Should your personal history include eating steak frites across every bistro in Paris, you are in luck. The bavette is cooked precisely to temperature and bathed in creamy, spicy sauce au poivre that’s dotted with a small village’s worth of garlic. The fries are cooked to a gold that borders on bronze.
The present includes a deconstructed Wellington with melting filet mignon and a veal patty en croûte. The future? La Côte d’Or Café has an auspicious one, which tastes pleasingly like the past.
See this: The yellow bar area leads diners into a series of dining rooms with a country French vibe.
Eat this: Avocado salad, steak frites, Floating Island
Service: Friendly career servers add to the restaurant’s old-guard impression.
When to dine: You feel like a French tasting menu, and you’re the one paying.