Though we usually go out on Friday night only when we are traveling – last night was the expiration of a Groupon for Little Fountain Café, so we made an exception and took a walk to 18th Street to visit this basement spot. I think I put off using the Groupon for the precise reason that the café was in the basement, which is a shame, because the basement space is cozy, warm and a little oasis from both the hustle of 18th Street and Washington, D.C. in general. The walls are white, with funky paintings of women and other subjects and dark wood panels through the ceiling and walls. I felt transported to Europe.
Now to the menu, it is a simple menu with about eight appetizers such as mussels, soup, dips, green salads and an onion torte. The entrée menu included duck breast, steak, roast chicken, trout, scallops, eggplant pasta, and gnocchi. The pasta dishes and some of the more simple appetizers are available in a prix-fix menu ($24.95) with desert. With a groupon, this deal was not available. Warm bread is served with a garlicky, spiced butter. Our service was very slow, but very nice. We spent more than an hour and a half at Little Fountain total. I had the Brook Trout that was very lightly breaded and pan sautéed, served with a plain orzo pasta, tomatoes and snow peas. It had a tangy lemon wine sauce with capers mixed in. I’m trying to eat much more healthfully than usual, so this was a tasty and good option for achieving my goals. As the duck was already sold out at 7 PM, he had roast chicken with potatoes gratin and steamed broccoli. I tried the gratin and the chicken. The gratin was tasty, made with extremely thin cut potatoes, however the chicken was pretty average breast meat baked with spicy rubbed on the skin.
All and all, the atmosphere was really charming, but the food was not outstanding for the price. For a $18-25 price point, I can think of many places that serve something more special and outstanding and as some have said, without the groupon, I would have felt ripped off. If you have family visiting you in DC or want a quiet place for a long chat or intimate night – the atmosphere might outweigh the food, it really was great.