Bistro Provence in Bethesda


Oooooooh...La La. From Google Maps.

Oooooooh...La La. From Google Maps.

I really like French food.  So, when I heard there was a new French restaurant within walking distance from my new place in Bethesda, I had to check it out.  Bistro Provence is the latest restaurant by Chef Yannick Cam, creator of the now closed Le Paradou in the Penn Quarter.  Steeped in classic French cooking, Cam is able to provide simple, tasty and traditional dishes to his patrons.

However, when I walked in, I’ve got to say I was a bit disappointed.  First, I think their air conditioning was on the fritz because there were fans everywhere, including one on a ledge on the wall right beside my face.  I won’t knock them for that, maybe they had no control over that situation.  I can knock them for having too many tables in there; the place was a bit crowded.  If it was packed every day all the time, I could understand their desire to try to capitalize on getting the most customers, but the room was only about half full.  How about giving the customers that are there a bit of room?  So, I would suggest sitting either outside on the spacious patio or in front of the kitchen (great views of the chefs preparing your meal), not in the first dining room. The other disappointing thing about the place was that the wait staff seemed inexperienced and at times a bit impatient.  These shortcomings are all cosmetic and fixable, which is fine since with the right ambiance and staff, this place could be great. Because…

The food was very very good.  The arugula salad, duck confit, sea bass stew, chocolate mousse were all of high quality and characteristically French.   It was obvious that Cam, who was there that evening (I know because I saw him through the open air kitchen on my way to the bathroom), had put serious thought and effort into his dishes.  The local, ingredients themselves were superior and when that happens, the food is sure to be excellent.   If you’ve got a bit of money to spare, head on down to Bethesda for a taste of Provence.

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2 Responses to Bistro Provence in Bethesda

  1. denistheruski says:

    The lack of AC is meant to give you a more realistic European experience.

  2. endogg says:

    Aaaaaaahh.

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