Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
Jacques Haeringerâs favorite punch line used to go something like this: âMaybe in 40 years, I can retire.â He never had to provide the setup, which was understood: Haeringerâs father, FranÃ§ois, was a machine of a man who, even at 91, continued to run his namesake Great Falls restaurant with his own style and single-minded determination to protect it from modern re-invention. Jacques, as he neared his sixth decade on earth, may have been chef de cuisine, but Papa continued to call the shots. Earlier this month, however, FranÃ§ois finally proved his mortality, passing away after complications from a fall. Itâs not yet clear how the founderâs eldest son will re-imagine LâAuberge Chez FranÃ§ois, but Jacques promises to remain true to his fatherâs vision of classic French country cooking, which alone is enough to merit inclusion on my list. Sometimes I just long to luxuriate in LâAubergeâs Old World charm and indulge in the kind of food that once dominated culinary thinking: Dover-sole meuniÃ¨re, choucroute garnie, Alsatian plum tart. But with that said, I have a feeling Jacques is going to invigorate the place. And why not? Heâs been waiting decades for the chance.
332 Springvale Road, Great Falls (703) 759-3800
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