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Malmaison, the newest restaurant and cafe from the owners of Cafe Bonaparte and Napoleon Bistro, gets its name from the country chateaux outside of Paris that once belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife Josephine.
The Georgetown spot is going for a similar feeling of retreat. Located on a less-populated block of the Potomac waterfront, Malmaison is branding itself as “Parisian elegance” meets New York “Meat Packing District style.” It’s set to officially open June 17.
The high-ceilinged building, previously a gym, has several garage-door windows that will open up in the summertime. The space is split in three components: a coffee bar, a dining room, and an event space/bar. The coffee bar may open before the restaurant sometime this week (stay tuned). Look for coffee from La Colombe, juices, and pastries.
The restaurant will serve modern French cuisine. Leading the kitchen is chef Gerard Pangaud, who operated a French restaurant called Gerard’s Place in D.C. in the 1990s. The native Parisian once cooked for Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher at the 1982 G-7 Summit in Versailles. Most recently, Pangaud served as chef to the Marriott family and executives at the hotel’s corporate headquarters in Bethesda.
The menu is still being finalized, but look for dishes like braised lamb shank with a medley of beans and mint sauce for dinner and curried duck confit salad or duo of salmon gravlax and smoked salmon salad for lunch.
Another French talent will oversee desserts: pastry chef Serge Torres, whose resume includes a stint at New York’s Le Cirque and creating wedding cakes for the royal family in Bahrain. In more recent years, Torres worked at Virginia’s Kluge Estate Winery, now known as Trump Winery (yes, that Trump), Fuel Co., and Farmington Country Club.
In recent months, Malmaison has hosted several pop-ups in the empty space, and it plans to have more on its mezzanine level, which overlooks the dining room and the Potomac. The owners plan to use the space, which includes a DJ booth and bar, for weddings, art exhibitions, and other events.
Malmaison, 3401 K St. NW; (202) 817-3340; malmaisondc.com
Photo by Jessica Sidman