Spike Mendelsohn’s Steak Frites Restaurant, Bearnaise, Opening on the Hill June 28th

313 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE

Almost a year ago we learned Spike Mendelsohn was opening a steak frites restaurant in the former Thai Roma space at 313 Pennsylvania Ave, SE. The transformation from Thai Roma to Bearnaise is complete.


Roll Call reports:

“Friends and family will get the chance to sample the fruits of Mendelsohn’s latest labors on Saturday and again June 24 during the soft opening. A Mendelsohn spokeswoman said the plan is to begin welcoming the general public, for both lunch and dinner, on June 28.”

You can see Bearnaise’s menu here.

A peek in the window and a reminder of how the space used to look after the jump.




And a reminder of how it used to look:


26 Comment

  • I’ve said it before on this blog, but I can’t possibly see going to a French-themed restaurant with so many errors on the menu.

    • I have high hopes that the errors and typos will be fixed before opening (and, to be fair, this does look like a rough draft of a menu, and isn’t even hosted on Bearnaise’s not-yet-existent webpage). That said, the best french cook I know (currently living and working in LA) studied in France and still has barely passable speaking French (much akin to the level of Spanish you pick up working in a kitchen in the US), let alone any ability to write in French (or, for that matter, really even in English). I’d kick a senior citizen’s puppy to get more of his cooking, though, typo-laden menu or no.

      • Of all things related to opening a restaurant, printing the menus is the most basic and easy. After working for a year to get the physical restaurant in order and determining the food you want to cook, if you can’t spell what you are cooking then you quite simply ridiculous and not worth my money. Heck, you could simply go into any of the other dozen similar restaurants in the area and sit there and copy their menu, spelling and all.

  • Will they let you take home mussels in a doggy bag there?

  • burritosinstereo

    “Le Entrecote”??? Inexcusable!

  • I wonder if Spike is going to have his employees from the other two places down the block dropping into this place to serve food and drinks. That would be classy. They already seem to go back and forth between the current two places, wearing GSE shirts at We the Pizza (and vice versa). Spike may be a master of pizza that is one step above mall pizza, but I have a hard time seeing him able to run a place like this. Customer service is lacking at the other two fast food joints, and whatever process they use to complete orders is lacking when it comes to timeliness. So far, he has been able to cruise in this market based on a) location and a captive audience, and b) supposed celebrity status. This place looks like it will be more expensive, so it will be interesting to see if people will want to pay for it.

    • I was thinking this too. He’s sort of built his reputation on fast food, and I wonder if people will be skeptical of this new medium.

  • The only entree is steak or is there a page missing?

    • Haha. I knew I was going to get the obligatory monkeyrotica comment anytime Spike Mendelsohn is mentioned.

  • why the hell do people keep giving this douchebag money?

  • This from the “chef” behind pizza that makes Papa Johns seem high-end and burgers that aren’t any better than you can get at Wendy’s? All presided over (as has been mentioned) by what seems like a running Keystone Cops style gag of staff incompetence, disinterest, and cluelessness? Spike has proven a good businessman, capable of parlaying minor TV fame into big bucks by selling lousy fast food to tourists, but as far as I can tell, his culinary skills are a joke. Also, is it just me or can we stop calling them “frites” in order to price them higher and make diners think they’re are getting anything other than french fries? Just about every moules frites or steak frites I’ve had has made me think that despite the fancy french spelling, McDonalds and Five Guys turn out better fried spuds.

    • I don’t understand the rage against this guy. So what if his mediocre restaurants do well with the tourists? It keeps them out of the good restaurants.

      • justinbc

        I’m guessing much of it stems from his attitude towards other DC chefs and his delusion that he’s a big fish in a small pond.

      • He’s not selling to tourists. He’s selling to mid-level Capitol Hill staffers and the lobbyists who take them out for lunch and dinner. It’s frankly a brilliant piece of niche marketing: produce something with the aura of sophistication but with enough rough edges that the clientele can feel superior by pointing out problems like spelling errors, incompetent staff, etc. It’s a perfect fit for the cynical times we live in and for the provincial highbrows who run Congress.

        • Not to ruin all of your hateful rant, but hill staffers don’t get taken out to lunch and dinner by lobbyists.

      • And, regardless of the mediocrity of the various Spike joints on the Hill, they’re all way better than what preceded them. Did anybody making comments here actually try Thai Roma? If you could choke down their food without becoming physically ill you deserved some sort of competitive eating prize.

        • Yeah, I tried Thai Roma (once I even had my group walk out of the place when the server was slow to come to our table). I know that place was awful. That’s not the point. We can do better! There’s nothing wrong with aspiring to have food that is at least comparable with a mom-and-pop diner in middle America. C’mon- the food scene for the low to mid-level price range in this area of the Hill is ridiculous. Spike is taking up space that might have been filled by better people.

          • ‘We can do better!”? I am not so sure…..

            Consider what were Xavier Cervera’s restaurants……

            For me DC has always had bad food – outside of the true ethnic food (not fast food Chinese) – and Spike and Cervera are a step up from that. I think it only really gets better when a Spike or Cervera open up a soso place and after a year it closes because the food/service is bad or not worth the price. Right now he/they make enough from people who aren’t real “foodies” or whose expectations is McDonals, TGIFridays, the Olive Garden, etc. and these places look great.

  • Ouch, those prices! Is he serious? I’d expect that from a good quality, nicer restaurant, but not from the king of mediocrity.

  • Spike? Get lost

  • This only helps to dilute what Americans think French food is. This is lowest common denominator food, the equivalent of a post-card rack. Gimmick and style over substance.

  • Haters gonna hate.
    Most of the comments here are snarky just for snark’s sake.
    Wait until you’ve tried it, then offer an opinion.
    You seem to miss the point that the person who is actually going to be in the kitchen is a long-time employee of Jose Andres’ minibar, and you pop-tarts have waited weeks to be served by him before.
    His name is Brad Race.
    Enjoy the frites.

    • thanks DS! — Race is a fantastic chef (certainly not specializing in burgers and pizza) and I am hoping his menu gets a fair shot at this place. If not, hopefully he’ll go out on his own.

  • I’m actually really excited for this place. Spike’s other restaurants may be more fast food, but this place clearly isn’t. Maybe it will showcase talent and bring some more options to my neighborhood.

    A neighbor of mine went the their friends and family night and has been raving about it. I’ll check it out when it opens.

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