Le Mont Royal’s grand debut in D.C.’s dining and drinking scene can be summed up in two words: “unexpectedly expected.” At least, that’s how co-owners Bart Hutchins and Chas Jefferson described their madhouse opening weekend. With lines around the block and folks dancing and playing pool as the kitchen closed, Le Mont Royal has already staked a claim as a party destination.
And while you’re likely to have a blurry night or two sucking down passionfruit mule cocktails and chasing nibbles of foie gras with gulps of natural wine, Adams Morgan’s newest spot is more than it seems. It’s a neighborhood hangout, a decadent dinner out and a party place. All in that order.
Jefferson described one of his favorite spots in Montreal, and the prime inspiration for Le Mont Royal: “It’s not a club, it’s a restaurant. It’s just that popular.”
So far, Hutchins’ and Jefferson’s predictions seem to be bearing out. Since Le Mont Royal opened its doors on January 6, it’s generated buzz around its sumptuous menu options, disco ball studded space and high-energy local DJ sets. It makes for a hedonistic combo drawing from French bars like Bambino and French-Canadian bars like Atwater Cocktail Club, with some key differences. “Our food is better than theirs,” Hutchins jokes.
The vision with the food menu was always “over the top dinosaur French food,” says Hutchins, who previously worked at Beuchert’s Saloon. So, it’s no wonder the menu is jam packed with options designed to help you get gout the fun way. From loaded poutine selections (with vegetarian variations, natch) to bone marrow with escargot to after-dinner Twinkies, this is the kind of menu that eggs you on.
Speaking of poutine and Twinkies, that classic combination might be the only constant on Le Mont Royal’s menu, as Hutchins plans to tweak and change offerings with the seasons. Future menu plans may involve a healthy dose of moose, razor clams and whatever else Hutchins dreams up that pairs well with Le Mont Royal’s stacked wine list and delightfully gaudy club lighting.
And that wine list? It’s studded with gems straight from the mind of Jefferson, whose goal was to make drinking good, natural wine as easy as shuffling a deck of cards and pulling out something random. Pick a wine, any wine, and you’re sure to discover something fruit-forward and delicious or bubbly and refreshing.
After years working at Jug & Table and Cotton & Reed, Jefferson knows how to read a crowd, and while the wine list is full of surprises, the cocktail menu is straightforward and delicious with trendy Negroni Sbagliatos and local-based Rickey Royals. Plus, there’s a build-your-own combo option that makes it feel like your favorite neighborhood bar was dropped in a pool of disco balls.
“Decadent” might be the word most often associated with Le Mont Royal, but the key to understanding D.C.’s only French-Canadian disco can be perfectly summed up by Jefferson’s creed: “Decadent, but not pretentious.”