On Saturday I went to the Dupont Circle location of a restaurant I've long wanted to try. Le Pain Quotidien highlights organic ingredients, environmentally-friendly furnishings, and simply beautiful bread. Oh, and one of their trademarks is a long communal table - a challenge to Americans who love their personal space, but a delightful idea. My friend and I opted to sit at a smaller private table for our first visit, but I will surely go back and sit at the communal table another time.
We ordered coffees, and I couldn't restrain my delight when our waitress brought us not mugs, but bowls just the right size for cradling between your two hands. If this does not guarantee that you are in for a cozy two hours, I don't know what does. On each table are jars filled with strawberry compote and "Brunette," the praline version of Nutella. This I slathered liberally over the delicious whole-grain bread that accompanied my Paris ham & Gruyere omelet. The omelet was quite good, and just the right size - not a gargantuan diner omelet, but big enough that you feel you are getting your money's worth!
The restaurant was busy with the Saturday brunch crowd, but while multiple waitresses glanced at our table we were never made to feel rushed. Our check was not brought til we were ready for it. As the waitress cleared our dishes, I thanked her for letting us just linger for so long, monopolizing the table. She said, "Oh, that's what we're all about here!"
I knew I liked this place.