Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
Jacques Haeringerâ€™s favorite punch line used to go something like this: â€śMaybe in 40 years, I can retire.â€ť He never had to provide the setup, which was understood: Haeringerâ€™s father, FranĂ§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, FranĂ§ois finally proved his mortality, passing away after complications from a fall. Itâ€™s not yet clear how the founderâ€™s eldest son will re-imagine Lâ€™Auberge Chez FranĂ§ois, but Jacques promises to remain true to his fatherâ€™s vision of classic French country cooking, which alone is enough to merit inclusion on my list. Sometimes I just long to luxuriate in Lâ€™Aubergeâ€™s Old World charm and indulge in the kind of food that once dominated culinary thinking: Dover-sole meuniĂ¨re, choucroute garnie, Alsatian plum tart. But with that said, I have a feeling Jacques is going to invigorate the place. And why not? Heâ€™s been waiting decades for the chance.
332 Springvale Road, Great Falls (703) 759-3800
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