Mint Condition

Mintwood Place Bistro in Adams Morgan

Adams Morgan's new Mintwood Place looks and feels like a typical bistro.

But the resemblance stops there.

Chef Cedric Maupillier has assembled a wholly original menu featuring lesser-known ingredients in creative preparations that borrow from French, Greek, Southern and German traditions.

Formerly a chef at Central and Citronelle, Maupillier tweaks classics in playful ways. Start the meal with deviled eggs ($5). The rounds brine with beets for one or two days, picking up a slightly acidic pickled flavor and a deep scarlet color. Golden hush puppies ($9) hide a salty, chewy bite of escargot in the center.

A skillet of dense, tangy moussaka ($12) layers lamb ragu and tomato sauce beneath pieces of grilled lamb tongue. The French chef nods to classic bistros with a dish of meaty frogs' legs ($11) in a black-walnut romesco sauce.

Maupillier is a master of meat. His near-architectural square of steak tartare ($12) arrives with a tiled topping of fried potato rounds. Slices of juicy hanger steak ($22) are served with a thatch of fries cooked in beef fat, and tagliatelle bolognese ($18) is nearly a stew of thick, chile-spiced beef, veal and pork.

Let other bistros be on guard.

Mintwood Place, 1813 Columbia Rd. NW (at Biltmore St.); 202-234-6732 or mintwoodplace.com