Inside the French Embassy’s secret restaurant | Secret Table


-Well, it’s all very regional,
right? I mean, what kind of foods
do you cook here? -Just a little bit.
But can I have the white? I would like to try the white.
You see? This is my British accent.
Cin-cin. We didn’t even do a cin-cin.
-Ahh! -Psst! -Where do French diplomats eat to get a taste of France
in Washington, D. C.
? Actually, they don’t have
to leave the office. Just north of historic
Georgetown, hidden within
the French embassy, is a six-table restaurant
serving embassy workers and visiting diplomats. And it’s open to people like you
and me, if you know how to get in. The embassy is technically
French soil, even though it’s in the heart
of Washington, D. C. But you can’t use your passport
to get in. You’ll need a French Embassy
Frequent Diner membership card. We’ll show you how to get one. This secret table is so secret, we can’t even show you
the security inside, so here’s our graphic
representation. Now, let’s go to France
for lunch, without leaving Washington D. C.
-Petit Bouchon! -Oh, my God!
-Bonsoir! Nice to see you. Oh!
Thank you. It’s so beautiful! -You recognize Mark?
-I recognize Mark, of course. My friend the chef. -Two kiss.
-Two kiss! -Mwah!
-Like the French. Mwah!
-Can we sit? Can you sit in a meal? -Yes.
We’re on French soil right now. -Yeah.
-Yeah. I’m your guest.
-Bienvenue. Bienvenue.
-Merci. -On most days, the restaurant
is only open for lunch. You can also reserve it
for a private dinner. -We are here to make sure
that French culture, tradition, food, wine, region — anything about France is
represented somewhere in the U. S. -We all think of French wine
as very regional, right? But cuisine is also
very regional in France. What kind of cuisine
do you make here? -I come from Bordeaux, so it’s
more like southwest cuisine. We use duck, of course. Duck is very important,
and foie gras. Sometime, we can go north. We don’t have borders in here. We don’t work with borders. It can be from anywhere. We’re low, but Mark —
he loves the word “revisited,” meaning he will make it kind of,
like, lighter and a new version of it. When I moved to this country,
I discovered different flavor. I want to keep the main roots
of the dish, but I want to just twist. Growing up in a small town
somewhere in France, you know what we grew up with? Family, friends, food. And it’s all about sharing. -Yeah.
-Our clientele — they all love France. They want to spend a little time
in France before going on vacation, or they want to remember
how it was over there. -[speaking French]
-Some of them, they know even more than us,
to be honest. And it’s challenging.
That’s why it’s good. They know about food.
They know about wine. They know about service. They know about decor. They know everything. -You’re challenged by your
clientele, which is so great. -Oh, yes.
-Yes. I love it. -To be in that position,
that people coming in who will maybe correct you
on some things. -Of course.
-Yeah. -They correct me, I love it. Then I check to see
if it’s true. -You got —
-Sometimes, it’s not true. -Tonight, Petit Bouchon
is hosting a very special wine dinner, pairing each of the seven
courses with Chablis, a chardonnay from
the Burgundy region of France. -We do at least twice a month
a dinner like this. The goal is to represent
French culture. It’s to represent
French tradition. We are the ambassador of France. If we don’t represent it here, where are we going
to represent it? Pow!
Cocktail reception. We start with a summary. -As general manager,
Max Jacquet oversees every aspect
of the dining experience, from greeting and serving
the guests on a sharp timetable to lighting and technical means. -Hello, hello, hello, hello,
hello, hello, hello,
hello, hello, hello — no. So, the fifth course is cheese,
is the one on top. We just bring them down. We make sure we have bread. 80 bolitas, no? -Yes.
-Tomalito? -95.
-Okay. -The term “general manager”
doesn’t begin to cover — Like, Max greets you,
Max serves you. -Even loves you.
-Oh! See? -Oh, my God, it’s amazing.
-Yeah. There’s your American accent. -Tonight, guys, is the final.
No place for mistakes. I am Ronaldo, by the way. You choose your player. Amazing, amazing. We are like brothers.
We are family. We go to war together. -I feel like food and wine are the forgotten
parts of diplomacy. -When the chef is sick, it’s a
catastrophe for the ambassador. -You’re changing the world
one appetite at a time. -Oh, my.
-Yeah. -You’re cooking for 38 people.
That’s a lot. How do you feel?
It’s seven courses. -I’m very afraid now.
-Yeah. -[speaking French]
-The first wine you have in the glass
is a Chablis Sainte Claire. -Six. -In the society
where we live in, we are so focused on image, and it should be more about
sharing one moment. Let’s share, guys. If you don’t share it,
we are going to lose it. When we have someone
at the table, we know that it might be the first
and last time we meet with them. -Hmm.
-What do you have inside? What do you have in your soul? What do you have in your heart? What do you have in your mind? Give it.
Share it. Go with the flow. Go with the atmosphere. Go with the music. Go with the wine.
Go with the food. We have so many bad moments. What about we make it
just positive and we share? -Pour a glass of water at home. Let’s all cheer together. -Careful.
Nice. -So, you want to visit Petit
Bouchon. We don’t blame you. Visit lecafedescartes. com, fill out the form,
wait up to six weeks, and, if you pass the embassy’s
security clearance, you’ll receive a card. Then, you can make
a reservation. Enjoy your lunch in France.

3 thoughts on “Inside the French Embassy’s secret restaurant | Secret Table

  1. People are dying i mean literally dying in HONG KONG ,KASHMIR, INDIA, PAKISTAN, USA ,AFGHANISTAN ,Italy etc etc and what Washington Post is posting here is banal and irresponsible cover humans and not some luxury elite restaurants which are secret and the people who come there are diplomats who failed to keep peace and than come at this pace to full there stomachs. While these diplomats are dining in luxury people are dying of food shortage in these turmoil areas.

  2. I have to laugh: only the French would think of doing this! You’ve got to hand it to them though, this has to be DC’s most exclusive restaurant

  3. Its great but can you not do bit of journalism and tell us say, the history of the place? Ask questions of staff or diners or tell us the price range? Otherwise it just seems like a smug fluff-piece. This could have been so interesting.

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