Partners Aziz Safi, Farid Nouri, and Raphael Francois announced the late January opening of Le DeSales, a 100-seat restaurant located in the heart of Golden Triangle at 1725 DeSales Street, NW, Washington, D.C. The restaurant will specialize in innovative French cuisine led by Executive Chef/Partner Raphael Francois. Additionally, Le DeSales will offer a selective list of French-inspired libations with an expansive selection of spirits, craft cocktails and wines that complement the restaurant’s French cuisine.
Raphael Francois brings over 16 years of culinary experience, both in the United States and abroad, to Le DeSales. He has gained notoriety while cooking at top Michelin-star rated restaurants throughout Europe. Raphaelbegan his culinary career in 1997 working alongside Claude Lavalle at Le Giverny in Tournai, Belgium. From there he went on to hold positions in some of the top Michelin-starred kitchens throughout France and Belgium, including Comme Chez Soi, Château du Mylord, La Maison du Boeuf, Sea Grill, Hôtel de Crillon, Four Seasons Hotel Georges V, Hélène Darroze, Le Chalet d’Adrien and Château de Curzay. The fine dining restaurant Hélène Darroze at the Connaught Hotel in London was awarded one Michelin star after five months, and two Michelin stars in January 2011 under Raphael’s watch. Most recently, Raphaelheld the position as executive chef at Le Cirque restaurant in New York City, where he served for two years.
The menu at Le DeSales will features Francois’ signature dishes such as Artichokes with ricotta, lemon forte mandarin oranges; Red Snapper “Crudo” with peas, watermelon and mojito; Blue Crab Simplissime; Eggs with duxelles, green asparagus and croutons (cracked tableside); Smoked Pork with carrots; Hanger Steak, wood-smoked and served with an old-style pesto; Baked Cherry Clams with greens and parmesan cheese; Cod cooked in turnip juice with apricots and roe; Lobster & Fries with mushrooms, mesclun, bacon and duglere sauce, as well as the Frenchie Pizza. Sides include Grilled Leeks with seeds, sour cream and shaved parmesan; Sweet Potatoes, charred with buttermilk, dry rice and cashews, and the Potato Gratin with olive oil. Prices range from $12 to $32.
Le DeSales features an expansive list of New World and Old World wines showcasing production styles and vintages that marry well with French cuisine. 100 wines are available by the bottle and more than 20 wines by the glass. Prices range from $35 to $400 by the bottle and $10 to $20 by the glass. A selection of fresh, seasonal cocktails crafted by Mixologists Lukas B. Smith and JD L. Quioco, who are consultants for the restaurant, are also available and priced from $10 to $13 each. The restaurant also features six beers on tap and at least 12 beers by the bottle.
Aziz Safi and Farid Nouri worked with Areetoon Jayanan Architecture & Interior Design to create the 3,100-square foot, 119-seat space, which has a tranquil feel inspired by modern French and Belgian brasseries. Finishes were chosen to create a warm and inviting space. Major design elements include warm hues, custom millwork, old Chicago blanc walls, brown oak beams, and rustic wood flooring throughout. Other highlights include a 300-bottle glass-enclosed wine display, benches upholstered in steel-blue velvet, vintage railing sconces in rustic iron, as well as butcher-block dining tables paired with leather and solid oak steam-bent chairs. A dramatic eight-foot wall installation of gazing eyes is one of the focal points of the space as is the charcuterie station made of floral and subway tile, which is visible to guests in the dining room and bar.
The main dining room accommodates 68 guests seated. Those looking to focus their attention on the restaurant’s expansive wine selection are encouraged to grab a seat at the 14-seat white stone bar or 16-seat lounge. A sidewalk café with views of the historic Mayflower Hotel is also available during the spring and summer months (weather permitting) and can accommodate an additional 18 guests.
Le DeSales is located in the heart of Golden Triangle at 1725 DeSales Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20036. The restaurant is situated two blocks from Farragut North Metro accessible on the red line and four blocks from the Farragut West Metro accessible on the orange, blue and silver lines. The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday.