Chef/Owner Daniel Labonne opened his two-level Bistro La Bonne in January 2010, and has rapidly attracted a clientele seeking his classic cuisine – which begins with such starters as pâté de campagne (homemade country pâté), and bisque de homard et crabe (lobster bisque with crab meat).
Labonne, a native of Martinique, was born into a restaurant-owning family, so his career choice may have been preordained. Certainly, his family’s business helped shape his palate. At the age of 14, Labonne entered a chef’s school in Martinique, then moved to Toulouse for five years to attend “l’École hôtelière de Toulouse” to further his training.
After graduation, Labonne began his culinary odyssey, returning first to Martinique, where he worked at the Méridien hotel as an assistant pastry chef, before moving to St. Tropez, the Turks and Caicos islands, and finally to England, where he cooked in a series of hotels prior to arriving in Washington, D.C.
After working as chef at the neighboring tapas-style Tabaq Bistro, Labonne said he decided to “take the leap” of opening his own business when the opportunity presented itself with a former bar located at 1340 U Street.
“For a chef, it’s the ultimate challenge to run your own restaurant, so after 10 years in the Washington, D.C. area, I decided it was time,” he explained.