Hearty Southern Meets French Bistro at Macon:
Tucked away along Connecticut Avenue in the historic Chevy Chase Arcade Building is a cross-culture mashup, a mix of the down home Southern fare of Macon, Georgia, with the classic concepts of Macon, France — Macon Bistro and Larder. Here’s a close look at the restaurant and what you can expect with a visit.
Like me, you may have driven right past Macon Bistro many a time without ever having taken notice, but I certainly wish I had found the joint earlier.
There’s a small outdoor patio, as well as a few extra tables housed in the interior entryway. Once you’re inside the actual restaurant space, you’ll find a bustling, lively bistro setting, with theatre-style light bulb signage (pictured) hanging over a small bar and an open kitchen off to the side. There’s also a painting on the wall depicting the Macon & Macon mashup concept. It’s a bit crowded but the space is also intimate and inviting.
To start, you’ll need an order of Essie’s Biscuits, served with pepper jelly and honey butter. Warm, light and fluffy, you could simply order plate after plate of these and leave happy. Try the Fried Green Tomatoes topped with crispy pork belly and served with a spiced tomato aioli sauce. Each bite offers a crunchy, warm exterior, pleasantly devoid of excess grease, while the tomato inside retains its soft texture and acidic bite. Other starters include a shrimp bisque, a charcuterie board, and several salads, including the Maconnais, with poached egg and lardons (basically just bacon chunks, if you’re unfamiliar) over frisée with a mustard vinaigrette.
For your entree, consider the tender short ribs, which are packed with flavor, served over creamy stone ground grits, and liberally topped with crispy shallot strings. There’s also steak frites, scallops, a pork tenderloin served with chipotle peach preserve and several rotating dishes and daily specials. Other sides to check out include the grilled asparagus with Hollandaise sauce and Meyer lemon zest, roasted Brussels sprouts with molasses and lardons, and when available, hush puppies. Ask nicely and you might even get an order of their specialty deviled eggs.
There’s plenty to choose from on the wine list and the staff will be happy to help you pair a selection with your dish. Or, opt for one of their cocktails, such as their spin on the French 75, the 75-Ish, with gin, lemon, sparkling wine and Creme Yvette, which is a berry liqueur; the Water Lillets, with gin, Lillet Blanc, lemon and grapefruit; or the Mr. Burnt with bourbon, burnt caramel and bitters. Or just spike your sweet tea and get the Southern Belle, made with peach tea and vodka, with pomegrante, lemon and lavender.
As for the Larder, you’ll be able to bring home some of their staples, which is a great way to impress your friends by passing them off as your own. You can get a ready to bake biscuit mix, and you can even serve it with a jar of their pepper jelly. Or choose from a variety of sweet treats, snacks, dressings and sauces, along with any freshly made additions to the shelves.
Macon Bistro is also serving brunch, and some of those dinner menu go-tos are easily transferable to this setting, such as those signature biscuits and fried green tomatoes. Tantalizing entrees include chicken and waffles served with a honey-hot sauce, and the Macon Fun Cake, a funnel cake topped with strawberries and maple bourbon syrup. You can also supercharge those biscuits with bacon gravy and poached eggs.
Visit Macon Bistro online at MaconBistro.com for the full menu and more information.