If you are suffering of French nostalgia in DC, the Sofitel DC ICI Urban Bistro is the place for you. From the outside, the building is small yet unassuming. However, upon entering the hotel, you are transported into a world of classic French sophistication. Sometimes we need a getaway in our own city, a mental checkout that can transport us from “la vie quotidienne” (everyday life) to something special. That is what Ana (Dining Traveler Contributor) and I experienced this past month with the art and cuisine of ICI Urban Bistro.
The Art: The Sofitel DC has been partnering up with artists for years in order to keep the décor current and keep guests inspired during their stay. Ana, an art lover was happy to attend the opening of the art exhibit of Hervé Maury, a French artist whose collection invokes the south of France on April 14th. The exhibit is not conventional as it is placed along the walls of ICI Urban Bistro and Le Bar. As you dine, you can take in the playful and colorful works of the artist. The art is not only an exhibition but available for purchase as well. Additionally, Sofitel DC is hosting Art Soiree every Friday on the terrace throughout the early summer. Mingle with locals, indulge in special cocktails, and take in the art. Note: The of Hervé Maury`s exhibition ends on June 14th.
The Food: Chef Franck Loquet brings the colors and the feel of Hervé Maury’s art alive in his menu. Despite the bustling sounds of Washington, DC, it is easy to sit at the patio of for lunch and be taken to the south of France via the palate. The lemon ricotta mousse marries the tartness of the lemon with the ricotta beautifully. The seared tuna with a fennel puree, inspired by the painting “Cohue”. The puree is simple yet flavorful, harmonizing well with the tuna. What is a little escape without indulgence? For dessert, I shared the jumbo macaroon filled with fresh raspberries with my lunch dates. Biting into the crisp exterior of the macaroon and finding the sweetness of the lychee with the fresh raspberries made me briefly believe I was on holiday. It is nice to know Sofitel DC ICI Urban Bistro also offers a 30 minute business lunch. Perfect for a culinary holiday in the middle of the day.
Le Bar: The Sofitel DC ICI Urban Bistro “Le Bar” brings a mélange of people together at happy hour: tourists unwinding after a day of intense sightseeing, well-suited lobbyists and government employees, and ladies like myself and Lacey from A Lacey Perspective talking blog business. The bar offers an extensive French dominated wine list but also has an inventive cocktail menu. The star is the So Bee Mine cocktail made with vodka, Yuzu, Saint Germain, and honey produced at the rooftop of the property. There is a beekeeper who comes from Maryland to take care of the free roaming bees, who are known to travel as far as the Tidal Basin.
The Verdict: Need a short escape? You can experience art, sophisticated simplicity, and an inspiring menu at the Sofitel DC. Sometimes it’s something as simple as biting into a delicious macaroon that can momentarily transport you to a happy, decadent place.