The couple behind two of Alexandria’s best French restaurants

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A Special Advertising Feature of the Alexandria Times

There have been many dynamic duos, from Simon and Garfunkel to Batman and Robin, and chefs Christophe and Michelle Poteaux, owners of Bastille and Bistrot Royal, are no different. These two chefs not only work well together and complement each other’s cooking styles, but they also are savvy business people.

Christophe Poteaux, who was raised in France, came to the U.S. in 1997 and launched his culinary career by training at the French Culinary Institute while working at Restaurant Daniel in the evenings. Restaurant Daniel’s chef was Bradford Thompson, the 2005 James Beard Award winner, and Poteaux welcomed the chance to work under such a distinguished chef.

Four years later, Christophe headed to Los Angeles to work under Chef Ludovic Lefebvre at L’Orangerie, and then he moved to the Jonathan Club, where he served as the executive banquet chef. In 2003, he returned to the East Coast and took on the daunting task of restoring the reputation of the Watergate Hotel’s Aquarelle.

Michelle Poteaux began learning cooking fundamentals as a child from her great-grandmother and mother. Helping fix family dinners was a love of hers and a routine part of her upbringing. She was so passionate about cooking that she went to Sullivan University in Kentucky, where she earned degrees in pastry and culinary arts.

Like her husband, Michelle Poteaux ventured to California. She headed to Silicon Valley, where she delighted the palates of many a pastry-lover at bakeries and restaurants in San Jose, Sunnyvale and Paolo Alto. Yet when a chance came to take over as Amphora Bakery’s director of operations in Herndon, Michelle moved east.

And in 2004, Michelle assumed the helm as Aquarelle’s pastry chef. She and Christophe Poteaux teamed up to develop savory and sweet menu selections that garnered excellent reviews. Michelle Poteaux’s skills have made her a three-time nominee for the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s Pastry Chef of the Year.

The Poteauxs both had dreamt of owning a restaurant even before they met. So in 2006, the husband and wife team jumped at the chance to open Bastille. Although the location was off the beaten path, the restaurant, with contemporary French-American cuisine and wine, was an instant hit.

Bastille has been a consistent favorite in many of the Top 100 listings in Washingtonian magazine. It is a Northern Virginia Magazine Top 50 restaurant and consistently a contender in the Alexandria Times’ “Best of” competition. These accolades are understandable, because everything is fresh and locally sourced and the prices are reasonable.

Last year, the Poteauxs relocated Bastille to North Fayette Street, just off bustling Henry Street and blocks from the Braddock Road Metro station. And the duo opened Bistrot Royal, an ode to classic French Bistrot cuisine, in the old Bastille location at the end of North Royal Street. Not surprisingly, Bistrot Royal became an overnight sensation.

Treat yourself to a visit to Bastille or Bistrot Royal and experience the culinary talents of the Poteauxs. Cravings for superb food will be satisfied, and you will find yourself planning return trips in short order.

Bastille is located at 606 N. Fayette St. Reservations can be made by calling 703-519-3776 or at www.bastillerestaurant.com. Bistrot Royal is located at 1201 N. Royal St. Reservations can be made via phone at 703-519-9110 or at www.bistrotroyal.com.

A Special Advertising Feature of the Alexandria Times
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