Grand ol' grub from a Gallic vet

After leaving a longtime employer, many restaurateurs choose to stretch their creative wings, an admirable quest that often ends in them cooking wings for hungry sports fans to later dip in blue cheese, largely ignoring the celery. For a chef boldly sticking to what he's always done best, check out Bistro Vendome.

From a husband & wife team formerly of nearby Jubilee -- where she worked the front of the house, and he spent 15 years cheffing traditional French fare -- Vendome's preparing similarly classic cuisine inside an old townhouse, where a cozy, bar-abetted entrance leads to a beige- & cherry wood-accented dining room with a nautical-esque curved ceiling below, and, above, a covered mezzanine offering views of neighboring gardens, which sadly now have views of a neighboring you. Frog-tastic starters include garlic & parsley buttered snails, duck liver pate, and fish soup w/ Swiss, plus five variations on mussels, from the basil/ white wine/ garlic "Basilic", to the curry/ lemongrass/ coconut milk "Thai", to the "Normande", whose creamy chicken broth, shrooms, and truffle oil will have patrons' guts storming their britches. Heartier plates cut from Dover sole meuniere (floured and fried in butter), to broiled bronzini w/ artichokes a la barigoule (wine, mushrooms, pork fat...more butter), to grilled filet/ sirloin/ ribeye steak frites w/ green peppercorn or Bearnaise sauce; there're also a trio of winter specials: duck confit/ bacon/ garlic sausage cassoulet, beef cheek shepherd's pie, and intestine & calves foot Tripe A La Mode De Caen -- after getting baked for 12 hours, even Superman has trouble spelling his name.

Happy endings stick to crowd pleasing classics like Grand Marnier creme brulee, profiteroles, tarte tatin w/ creme fraiche, and Nutella Napoleon, named for the man who defined going for it all and coming up short.