218 N. Lee St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
PRICE $$$$ (Over $31)
HOURS Open for lunch, Monday through Saturday, dinner daily.
NVM AWARDS Best Restaurant 2006
Best Restaurant 2007
Best Restaurant 2010
Best Restaurant 2008
Best Restaurant 2009
Best Restaurant 2011
Best Restaurant 2012
NEARBY METRO None
By Warren Rojas
Food: 8.8 Ambiance: 8.5 Service: 8.7
As soon as her fashionably late friend arrived, one La Bergerie reveler lost it.
“Can we do wine? Can we do champagne?” the jittery celebrant begged her companions. Another attendee immediately bubbled over, declaring, “We need more than two hours … we have a whole summer to catch up on!”
Visiting La Bergerie is apparently so intoxicating for some, the mere act of sitting down is enough to get them punchy.
Time may not stop within the brick-lined walls. Still, staff do their best to prolong each dining experience, tempting guests with intensely rich creations—”OK, I’ll have chocolate,” one pushover cooed after minimal prodding about souffle options—and kid-glove treatment.
Crunchy spaetzle bobs amid a sea of fricasseed mussels, peas and bacon.
Anise-rubbed bird and sour Napa cabbage deliver flashes of Southeast Asia in every bite.
Hand-wrung orange juice and flash-fired Grand Marnier permeate every fold of buttery crepes.(November 2009)
By Warren Rojas
Food: 8.9 Ambiance: 8.6 Service: 8.5
Several guests joined in raising a glass to a joyful pair celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary during an evening at La Bergerie.
“That’s so rare,” exclaimed one well-wisher. “We know we’re dinosaurs,” shot back the marriage vet.
The exchange drew laughs from some of the more mature guests in the crowd, a group that seemed to revel in their own antiquity—particularly as it applies to the appreciation of classic French cooking.
Dishes fueled by butter, cream and fleur de sel remain standard (somewhere, Julia Child is likely beaming). And staff always keep brandy at the ready (nearly every course includes at least one flambé option) for a quick, tableside show.
Knobby bones housing wells of unctuous marrow (marvelous) are complemented by shredded oxtail lacquered in a tangy, tamarind glaze.
Poached lobster is flash seared till just crisp then quickly flambéed (big, beautiful claws grasp the cognac and lobster sauce well) before being deposited atop saffron-laced risotto.
Buttery cod is wrapped in dough and baked beneath a shell of tomato-fennel confit and Kalamata tapenade (pureed olives, rich confit work wonders together).(November 2008)
By Warren Rojas
Food: 8.4 Ambiance: 8.4 Service: 8.4
During a visit to La Bergerie, one elderly couple made a big production of informing owner Laurent Janowsky that they regard his foie gras as the baseline for comparison for all other goose-liver preparations. And they swore that they were, more often than not, disappointed by the competition’s lackluster efforts.
Talk about pressure.
La Bergerie remains steeped in tradition—the type of place where men gladly wear suit coats and ladies are escorted arm-in-arm by staff.
A boiled-egg trio summons hollowed-out oeufs filled with: custardy egg and smoked salmon, scrambled eggs with minced truffles (lavish) and wild boar atop whipped heavy cream. Venison is painted with vanilla and decorated with foie gras (superb richness). Roast sea bass swims in a braised-oxtail broth (enough meat for a second entree).(December 2007)
By Warren Rojas
Food: 8.4 Ambiance: 8.2 Service: 8.2
Traditional French will never go out of style at La Bergerie, an Old Town Alexandria standard for fans of seductive foods in plush environs.
The warehouse-bound but still tony establishment provides a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of more touristy spots sprinkled up and down King Street. Well-appointed servers (sharp as ever in their signature dark slacks and copper-colored vests) are ever attentive and pleasantly accommodating. Dining recommendations are readily provided without a whiff of pressure, individual dishes are presented with a heartfelt “bon appétit,” and tables are cleared without so much as an interruption.
The seasonal menu is regularly stocked with gourmet delicacies (pheasant, foie gras, veal sweetbreads, wild boar), as well as French staples (sauteed snails, baked onion and Gruyère soup).
The made-to-order Caesar salad summons a visual feast, as servers whir into action assembling the now-ubiquitous salad from its base—think freshly cracked eggs, salty anchovies, streams of Worcestershire and crisp romaine leaves—ingredients (a delight every time). Duck confit heads to the highlands via a shepherd’s pie layering shredded duck (fatty in spots, but mostly flavorful) with wild mushrooms (great building block) and whipped potatoes (clever twist on the rustic meal). Medallions of roast pork are bathed in a luxe Roquefort sauce (more molten cheese, s’il vous plait!) that thrusts ordinary swine into the big time.(August 2006)
By Warren Rojas
F 8.3 A 8.1 S 8.3
Few restaurants exude as much character and class as La Bergerie, an intimate hideaway on the outskirts of Old Town Alexandria.
Magnums of Champagne and fresh-cut flowers adorn a dining area typically littered with girlfriends gossiping over wine or couples enjoying a night on the town. Servers remove tables so patrons can slide into padded sweetheart booths, and every dish is delivered with an emphatic "bon appétit." And a basket of complimentary toiletries make freshening up in the bathroom a breeze.
A static two-course lunch deal includes a main course and either an appetizer or a dessert for $20. Noteworthy starters include a cheesy French onion soup, fresh Caesar salad (prepared tableside) or a sharp mango, avocado and jumbo lump crab creation. Roast monkfish has a pleasing crust but moist center, while a pork platter-huge chop is satisfying, crispy pork belly fizzles a bit, while the blood sausage registers somewhere between pâté and blood pudding-gets a hand from a bed of buttery lentils. Other entrées range from Provençal (crab-stuffed dorade in a Pernod sauce) to pastoral (elk chops with cherries).