Earlier this week, I received an e-mail informing me that Jacques Haeringer, the “Chef de Cuisine of the legendary Great Falls, Virginia restaurant, L’Auberge Chef François,” would be appearing on the Today show. The morning show appearance was well and good, but the news that caught my attention was that Haeringer was apparently cooking again at the country inn.
Last time I visited L’Auberge, there was an obvious strain between Haeringer and his 90-something father, François, the man for whom the restaurant is named. I quickly sent Jacques a message via Facebook yesterday to find out if the chef/prodigal son has indeed returned to L’Auberge. He wrote back:
[H]ere full time at Chez F!! Been back now for months. Come see me sometime in the kitchen.
Haeringer’s return, it seems, is not the only change at L’Auberge. The Alsatian time capsule of a restaurant is also open for lunch now — for the first time in 30 years. L’Auberge is offering an old-fashioned, multi-course prix-fixe menu (for $36, which includes a glass of wine) as well as an a la carte menu, which itself is a sign that L’Auberge is trying to get with the times.
L’Auberge has historically relied only on tasting menus.
A sampling from the a la carte lunch menu:
- French onion soup gratinée
- An assortment of Madrange, Bayonne, Parma and Virginia hams with seasonal fresh fruit
- Two Nova Scotia salmon, one smoked, the other marinated in dill, with capers and celery root salad
- Snails from the Burgundy region vineyards with our garlic butter, Alsatian style
- Roquefort cheese salad on a medley of mixed field greens
- Lobster salad with fresh asparagus, tomatoes and a vanilla vinaigrette
- Nova Scotia steamed mussels with garlic butter
- A crèpe with chives filled with crab, lobster and mushrooms
- Puff pastry shell filled with veal, chicken and mushrooms in sherry cream sauce
- Veal Scaloppini with Virginia ham, asparagus, mushrooms, green beans, spaetzle and Madeira sauce
- Tenderloin of certified Angus beef sautéed, with mushrooms, asparagus and béarnaise sauce
- Roasted rack of lamb chops with beans cassoulet and garden vegetables