Two Palate Dining: Mon Ami Gabi
She Said: Mon Ami Gabi
I’ve always been a big Francophile. I love French fashion and art. I studied French in college and I’m brushing up and learning more now. I’ve always dreamed of getting to travel to France. Several months ago I realized that I had never eaten at a French restaurant. I’ve read a lot about French cooking and want to try some wonderful recipes that I’ve discovered during my research. But, I wanted to try eating at a French restaurant, too. Around the same time someone at our church recommended that we try Mon Ami Gabi. It was a perfect fit! Now it’s one of my favorite restaurants in the whole world!
I like sitting both indoors and outdoors at Mon Ami Gabi. Outside the tables are sheltered by jolly red umbrellas and Reston Town Center is a fun place to people watch. I love the inside of the restaurant the best though because it’s so cool and comfortable. I love all the heavy wood and we always get seated in the same banquette! All of the staff that we’ve encountered have been so nice. They are helpful and friendly without hovering. I hate hovering- let me eat and talk to who I’m here with! Eating out can sometimes be really stressful for me what with having to make lots of small talk with strangers and nod my approval of the food while I get questioned for the tenth time with food in my mouth. I don’t feel rushed here and it’s always a relaxing experience.
Brunch is wonderful here! Quiches are just so yummy! I was surprised that I love the Quiche Lorraine here as much as I do because it contains leeks, which I usually hate. But, it’s seriously delicious! I love the combination of the flaky crust, the richness of the egg, the tang of the Jarlsberg cheese and the bite of the leeks. Did I forget to mention the meaty and salty taste of the bacon! This quiche is served in a large portion and I’m always full even after generously sharing with RJ. Their French toast is also awesome. The brioche is custardy and crispy edged making the perfect toast-landing pad for their lovely vanilla sauce. It’s also served with cinnamon apples. I love French toast, but we rarely eat it at home. This is a real treat that’s so good it doesn’t even need maple syrup. And I’m saying that as someone who loves syrup as much as Buddy the Elf.
We don’t always order an appetizer when we go out, but my favorite appetizer at Mon Ami Gabi is the baked goat cheese. I love the mellow richness of the goat cheese itself. It’s baked until it’s a gooey and appealing oozy orb floating in a ring of gently spiced tomato sauce. It’s served with crackly French garlic bread. It’s so spicy, warm, and cheesy that it feels like eating a French pizza.
The first time that we ate at Mon Ami Gabi we ordered the steaks and frites and they were great. I liked that the steaks were cut very thin. They were juicy and so well cooked! My only slight issue was that the sauces were confusing to decide between. We don’t drink alcohol (at all) and we try to avoid eating food that has a significant portion of it used in its preparation (because of trying to conceive). I had a hard time finding a sauce that didn’t have alcohol in it. Ultimately, I ordered the plain steak with hotel butter (which was green and tasted green and nasty) and RJ ordered peppercorn sauce (which was amazing- alas but it has Brandy not good for women who are TTC but so is rare meat so I won’t be enjoying this dish for a long time). I loved the frites. They were yummy, small pieces of fried potatoes that were so good. The portions are very large. I couldn’t finish all mine! Some happy day ,after we celebrate the birth of our as yet only dreamed of ( not yet conceived) child, I will eat the Steak au Poivre again!
I love chocolate and Mon Ami Gabi really knows how to handle chocolate! My favorite dessert is the profiterole. It’s a crispy cream puff stuffed with the richest and most flavorful vanilla ice cream imaginable. Then it’s covered in a rich chocolate sauce and dusted with powdered sugar. I don’t have accurate enough words to describe the absolutely amazing taste of this dessert. It’s chocolaty, sweet, rich, cold and has a good amount of texture to it- it’s perfect. Last time we ate there RJ tried the flourless chocolate pudding cake. It was okay. The texture was nice and spongy but I don’t remember eating any of the sauce. I may have been overwhelmed with bliss over my profiterole so process another dessert!
This has become our new favorite place to eat at for special occasions. It’s a friendly restaurant with great food and a nice atmosphere. And best of all it’ s able to give me a little taste of France right where I live. I just hope we get to visit here again soon!
Quiche Lorraine- 10
French Toast- 8
Baked Goat Cheese- 10
Steak and Frites- 6
Flourless Chocolate Cake- 6
He Said: Mon Ami Gabi
I’m typically rather adventurous when it comes to food. French food however has always scared me a little. It’s seemed too oily, and bland. Kari however, has always been fascinated with French food. When she found a Mon Ami Gabi in Reston, she explained it as a French Steakhouse, I was in. I’ll try anybody’s version of a steakhouse! So when it was time for our anniversary, we decided the time was right to try it.
We started the meal off with their Baked Goat Cheese appetizer. It was really good. A melting island of delicious goat cheese sits among a sea of spicy tomato sauce. You are given some very brightly flavored garlic bread to scoop up the cheese. There will be so much of this appetizer; you’ll wind up having to use the hunks of the baguette that you get with every meal. It’s amazing. I could eat a bucket of this and nothing else.
I ordered the Steak Au Poivre. I’ve never had that before and it was sensational. The steak is thin, but there’s still plenty to it! The fries, or frites, are wonderfully thin and salty, and are great to dip into what remains of the sauce. The steak was cooked perfectly. The sauce with full peppercorns is smooth and luscious, but also spicy from the peppercorns. I can’t say enough about this steak.
Kari ordered the simpler, but still delicious Steak Classique. The same great steak and fries I talked about above. This time it’s only accouterment is a pad of flavored butter that melts as you eat giving an herbal overtone to the meat.
When dessert came we each got an order of Profiteroles for free because it was our anniversary. This was the perfect ending to the meal. The cream puff was light and fluffy. The ice cream was dense and delicious. The chocolate sauce was rich and dreamy. Every spoonful was a perfect blend of sweetness.
We’ve been there a couple of times since then. Both times were for brunch, and it was still great. We’ve gotten the same entrées both times.
I ordered the Vanilla French Toast and Kari ordered the Quiche Lorraine. The most recent time we ate here was for Kari’s birthday, so she got a free profiterole and I ordered the Flourless Chocolate Cake.
The Vanilla French Toast didn’t even need syrup. In fact, when I try to put syrup on this French toast, it doesn’t taste as good as it does plain. The Vanilla and the brioche of the French toast meld together beautifully. The cinnamon apples are perfectly done. When eaten together, it’s like I’ve never had French toast before, and can’t imagine calling any other attempt French toast again. I shouldn’t be surprised, it is a French restaurant after all and it is called French toast.
Kari’s Quiche Lorraine was light and flaky and meaty and delicious. I’m so glad she orders it, so I don’t have to actually decide between it and my French toast!
The Flourless Chocolate Chocolate Cake was flawless. It was rich and chocolatey, and very moist. I think the moisture comes from the lack of flour. Some people might say this cake is too moist, but I couldn’t get enough.
I guess I really do like French food after all. It’s just a shame it’s not less expensive for dinner. The brunch is really filling though, and just about the same cost as a lunch of sandwiches at Panera.
Flourless Chocolate Cake-10
Vanilla French Toast-10
Steak Au Poivre-10
Baked Goat Cheese-10