François Haeringer opened L’Auberge Chez François in the heart of Washington DC in 1976. Haeringer’s goal was to operate a restaurant with “a nice ambiance and good honest food at affordable prices.” After more than 35 years, L’Auberge Chez François is still a staple of Washington D.C. haute cuisine. Born in the Alsatian town of Obernai in January, 19191, Haeringer was amongst the first children to be forn in the Alsace region once it was returned to France at the end of the First World War. He received the french name Francois began training in French cuisine at the early age of 16.
After mastering his skill in European kitchens, François Haeringer was a trailblazer in bringing French cuisine to the American palate. At the age of 57, he was noted as one of the most celebrated restauranteurs in D.C. Today, his son Jacques carries on the tradition as Executive Chef. The Châteaubriand is a center-cut filet mignon roasted and served with seasonal vegetables and a Bernaise truffle sauce. Châteaubriand is a bonafide French classic dish that is seldom seen on menus these days but is coveted by haute cuisine fanatics. Other popular dishes are the bacon and onion tart and the seafood in champagne lobster sauce. They do a variety of soufflés for dessert, including Grand Marnier, chocolate, raspberry, and hazelnut. L’Auberge Chez François is unapologetically decadent. One way to get the full experience is the 4-course Prix-fixe dinner. The wine list is an ode to old vine French wines, and all the classic regions are represented.
From the buttery garlic bread that starts the meal to the sugar-coated soufflés that end it, L’Auberge Chez François is a treat.
Cover photo courtesy of Jez Timms via Unsplash.