Music photographer Mike Benson opened Café Saint-Ex in 2003 and it was an immediate hit. Over the past four years, its popularity hasn’t waned although its weekend scene has definitely transitioned a bit. During the evening, Café Saint-Ex is a restaurant that offers contemporary American cuisine and at night, turns into one of the hot-spots in the U Street / Cardozo area with a downstairs club and upstairs bar.
Cost – $$
Service – A-
I may be getting old but I just don’t have the energy to deal with door politics these days and that is one thing you never have to worry about with Café Saint-Ex. They hire good people who are there to help you have a good time. The wait-staff is laid back and will engage you in friendly banter, and the the bar staff does a great job as well.
Food – B
Café Saint-Ex self-describes their menu as “American Bistro style cuisine, enhanced by international and seasonal influences.” The menu is pretty solid and does a good job accommodating a range of taste buds while placing a premium on fresh, healthy ingredients.
Decor – B+
I like the aviation-influenced decor throughout Saint-Ex. The upstairs bar area is comfortable arranged. The downstairs club – Gate 54 – can get a little cavernous and claustrophobic but if there isn’t a mob present, is a decent little place.
Feel – A-
Like other popular venues in the U Street area, Café Saint-Ex doesn’t make any attempts at pretense and offers a fun, laid back place to enjoy yourself on a weekday or a weekend. It was initially known as a hipster favorite but over the past couple years, as U Street has continued to grow as a DC-nightlife hot spot, has transitioned to include a more mainstream, yuppie crowd. Ultimately however, Café Saint-Ex is still one of my favorite destinations in the DC area.
Café Saint-Ex is located at 1847 14th St. NW. (202) 265-7839
What’s the Buzz:
November 27, 2007 – Cafe Saint-Ex (Washingtonian) – Though the restaurant/bar looks like a weathered European bistro, the food is eclectic American. The small kitchen puts out plenty of roasted and wood-grilled meats and fish, all simply presented. Full Article…
November 1, 2006 – Cafe Saint-Ex (DC Foodies) – You don’t usually expect to find good food at a bar. A bar is where you typically find great munchies like nachos, cheese sticks, mini-burgers, and maybe…maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll find some Asian-inspired potstickers. Full Article…