When Bush Got the Bin Laden Call (While Eating a Souffle)

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ABC News' Devin Dwyer broke the news this morning that former president George W. Bush got the historic call that Osama bin Laden had been killed while at a Dallas souffle restaurant:

"I was eating souffle at Rise Restaurant with Laura and two buddies," Bush said Wednesday at a conference of hedge fund managers in Las Vegas.

"I excused myself and went home to take the call," he added. "Obama simply said 'Osama Bin Laden is dead.'"

Bush told attendees the president described in detail the secret mission to raid bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and the decision he made to put the plan into motion.

Bush told Obama, "Good call."

Turns out that Bush 43, the recent American president perhaps most associated with acts of theatrical machismo, is a frequent diner at soufflerie "rise n°1," a small French restaurant in the ritzy Dallas neighborhood of Inwood Village recently profiled by the local NBC affiliate for its environmentally conscious ways.

"This is one of Laura's favorite restaurants," rise no. 1 general manager Tara Brahni told The Atlantic. For security reasons, she wasn't able to "disclose how often" the former first couple visits, but the duo are regulars at the West Lovers Lane spot, which is "basically around the corner from where George lives," she said.

On that fateful Sunday night, Bush most likely would have been eating a crab souffle, she said, though he had ordered the filet. A six ounce center cut, it is served with fingerling potatoes, haricots vert and bernaise sauce. Also at the table was a crab souffle, George W. Bush's favorite.

Laura Bush "mixes it up so much -- every time she's in she gets a different [souffle]," observed Brahni. But the former president always gets the crab.

"I asked him before if he was ever going to order something different and he told me he was a creature of habit," she said.

There was no exclaiming when the call came in. "At the time that he did receive the call, no one in the restaurant knew what the phone call was," she said. "He was really calm. He just said he needed to leave."

"I don't think anyone in the restaurant really knew that any thing was going on," she added.

The menu for the restaurant follows; the crab souffle is not listed on the permanent menu, but is a regular "specialty" item:

menu_jan_2011.gif

Image credit: Rise Souffle

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Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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