le pain is an international restaurant of obvious french flair. it is a very nice restaurant/cafe to dine for breakfast or lunch and it is well known for it's "communal table" dining. i had previously been to both the georgetown and dupont circle locations (unfortunately, no international ones for me :-) ), but to hang out with BOOF buddy, kku, we decided to meet one morning for a sort of after breakfast snack at the bethesda location.
the bethesda location is located on bethesda row which is an adorable area that i had never really ventured to previously, but if I ever find myself back in DC living (which i pray i do), i definitely would want to spend some more time there. i am fairly certain that all le pain's pretty much have a similar set up with a large communal table in part of their restaurant with more individual tables set up around the restaurant and then the bakery/casing taking a large part of space also in the restaurant. the furniture is dominated by a lot of "unfinished wood", and although i really like the concept of the communal dining, i still feel that you just end up communicating with whoever you are with. nevertheless, it is an idea that i do like.
le pain uses mainly (if not all) organic ingredients in their meals and i have had breakfast there before and really enjoyed it. on this day, kku and I just enjoyed a couple of breakfast pastries. le pain is one of those places that it can be difficult to order because EVERYTHING in the pastry cases looks delicious. nevertheless, i just ordered a simple croissant (i know how boring), but it was delicious.
kku was a little but more adventurous and ordered this really tasty bread topped with a creme and strawberries. it was really really good. the creme wasn't that sweet and the strawberries were sweet with enough tart that you were not too overwhelmed. and the bread definitely had a nice pastry puff/croissant taste to it, so it was nice and had a bit of a crunch to balance out the texture.
all in all, a trip to le pain is always good and never disappointing. if you need something quick, i definitely recommend just grabbing a pastry and a coffee to go (coffee is good and strong), but if you have time to sit down...then definitely do that and order something of more substance. their omelettes are pretty tasty...just a thought.