Welcome to Nosh Pit’s week of unsung heroes, in which we gently remind you of some fine establishments that sometimes get overlooked for newer spots.
Open Since: 2010
Granted, La Bête is a little new to be considered unsung. But the common refrain among food-loving friends, friends who dine out with ferocious regularity always seems to be the same: “How is that place? I have totally been meaning to go there.”
Maybe it’s the rough parking situation in that pocket of Capitol Hill, or the fact that owners Aleks Dimitrijevic and Tyler Moritz have only recently ventured into social media. But their restaurant in the former Chez Gaudy space is suitable for both roll-up-your-sleeve burgers and special-occasion fancy dinners. The menu leans French, but the newish Monday night menus circle the globe with surprising skill.
A debauched Bohemian streak runs through the vintage twilit room on West Capitol Hill; big acid-trip art peeks out through elegant crystal chandeliers. The result is displacingly magical (just walking through the door after snagging a parking space in this crowded ’hood holds a nearly mythic sense of arrival), and the food—by young apprentices from Lark and Union—enshrines a similarly fanciful sensibility. Ingredients in the small-plate preparations—of four-mushroom bread pudding; or kabocha squash soup with blue cheese popover; or beef cheeks with farro, chard, porcini, and grapes—are ferociously local, while the hardworking creatives in the kitchen keep the small-plate preparations surprising and fresh, and executed exactingly.