Béarnaise, Mendelsohn’s newest dining foray, is just down the street from his popular Good Stuff Eatery. His new endeavor will focus on steak frites, a staple of his childhood in Montreal. Béarnaise, located on Pennsylvania Avenue, is set to open this month.
Mendelsohn seems excited to have clients poke around his grown-up gastro-retreat, be they inclined to hang at the 12-seat bar and slurp local Rappahannock oysters, or camp out in the main dining room for a proper feast of pan-fried frog legs, garlicky escargots and sea-salt-spiked roasted bone marrow.
And he’s absolutely champing at the bit to trot out additional specials, floating the likes of lobster frites (grilled tails; heads reserved for lobster béarnaise seasoned with mirepoix), spiced mussels (curry, saffron), sweetbreads platters, pork chop selection and prime rib night as potential offerings.
According to Mendelsohn, Capitol Hill is a “magical” place to launch new restaurants.
He calculated that the undying support he’s received from the indigenous and professional community, coupled with the national attention he’s received — it never hurts to have the first family pop by on a regular basis — have proved invaluable.
“This is the perfect place to open up a first location. And, hopefully, you’ll see Béarnaises popping up elsewhere in the future,” he said, listing Georgetown and Alexandria, Va., as prospective landing pads.
Not that he’s done consolidating his power base here in the shadow of the Capitol.
“There are a couple more spaces on the block that we’ve been looking at,” he hinted. “It’s not full up yet.”