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Michel, in the Tysons Corner Ritz-Carlton - Chef Jon Mathieson takes over for Levi Mezick - Closed

Tysons Corner French American Ritz-Carlton Closed

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#1 CajunJason

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 05:19 PM

In today's Washington Post.

I suppose we'll all have to wait and see, I secretly was hoping for something a little sexier than "approachable things to eat" like "a good steak". Perhaps a sign of the times.
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#2 Kibbee Nayee

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Posted 22 March 2010 - 09:00 PM

Tysons is a relative wasteland, so this will be a welcomed addition.

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#3 DannyNoonan

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 09:03 AM

Horrific traffic, endless construction, and terrible parking in a neighborhood with all the personality and charm of a glorified office park. That's Tyson's. I'd say relative wasteland is putting it kindly. We'll see how this one works out. I hope Michel's reputation is enough to make up for the aforementioned.
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#4 Joe H

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 09:22 AM

"Free of tablecloths and full of approachable things to eat."

More in common with Central? A safer investment? My guess is yes to both and regardless of the traffic there is a huge need for a restaurant like this in western Fairfax County. There have been numerous times that my wife and I wanted to go to Central but didn't want to put up with an hour's plus rush hour drive to get there. An extra ten minutes to Tyson's (from Reston) is comparatively nothing. Welcome, Michel! There is a market for you here!

#5 wendydb22

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Posted 23 March 2010 - 02:21 PM

I'm so excited for this! Wonder who the chef will be?
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#6 DonRocks

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 10:38 AM

I'm so excited for this! Wonder who the chef will be?

Levi Mezick, formerly of The Jockey Club.

Mezick is currently vacationing with his family in France. In August, says his new boss, "I'm going to work with him to show him the Michel Richard style."

"You take zees plastique bag, you drop it in zees water, next morning voila!" :)

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#7 Joe H

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 07:08 PM

Is scheduled to open to the public on Monday, October 25th for dinner. They are accepting reservations.

#8 Joe H

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 08:50 PM

We had dinner at Michele tonight; it "officially" opens tomorrow night although the room was half full this evening.

1. Vincent is across the hall at the Ritz Carlton restaurant. The ambience has absolutely nothing in common with Maestro; it stands totally on its own as a truly unique and original room. I note this first because I believe a lot of people (perhaps including ourselves) may be curious in how they will react to it.
2. Nor does it have anything in common with Central. For me it was Citronelle at Tysons except a la carte.
3. The wine list is very short and breathtakingly expensive. Layer Cake cab is $14 by the glass. The menu is relatively short, too.
4. Several first courses are truly outstanding and should be seriously considered: onion carbonara (a Great dish)and a salmon terrine which is also a literally artistic presentation as well as delicious. A short step below was scallop in a "caviar tin" with egg which was original and interesting, reminiscent of similar dishes at Citronelle and Roberto's Lab.
5. Michele Richard spent a considerable amount of time in the dining room. We took particular note of what those who he was with ordered: halibut (entree) and veal cheeks (entree) and eggplant soup (first course). All were interesting presentations and evoked enthusiastic responses. We did not order these, rather a filet mignon of tuna ($35) and a ribeye crusted with aoli ($39). We lusted for the halibut and veal cheeks at the next table.
6. Floating Island is a Great dessert. Yes, he has the chocolate bar, too and an interesting creme brulee Napoleon. For me the Floating Island was on another level from even his signature chocolate bar.

This is a serious restaurant that will compete with 2941 and fill the void left by the closure of Inox. It will be interesting to read what others have to say about it.

#9 Night Owl

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 09:04 AM

(Sorry in advance - having computer problems and couldn't use bullets.)

We battled rush hour traffic and the unbelievable construction last night, and enjoyed a truly delicious dinner at Michel's (official night #2 for them):

Reminiscent of Central, they brought over a little "fryer basket" of gougeres

I started with the onion carbonara - clever and so flavorful.

My husband had the wonderful and gorgeously vibrant leek and quail egg app.

We both had the veal cheeks blanquette (because we were each unwilling to share!) -- a must-try. The veal cheeks were lovely and tender (not sous vide, Michel said), the sauce is unlike any other blanquette I've had -- rich yet light with a subtle touch of celeriac, which makes it. Served with basmati rice on the side. Both the blanquette and rice are topped with a sprinkle of fun rice crisps.

For dessert, my husband had the Ile Flotante -- the sauce, a fresh banana cream, is unreal.

We also had Michel's very fun take on profiteroles... ice cream topped with a shower of mini sugar-encrusted choux, decadent warm chocolate sauce served at the table with a "say when."

And finally, reminiscent of Citronelle, they brought us a lovely plate of the paper-thin caramelized nut mosaic wafers.

Michel's meticulous eye was on every detail throughout the night, from prep and plating to service and more -- he was all over everyone -- making the experience this early in the restaurant's life very smooth and thoroughly eye- and palate-pleasing.

Can't wait to hear what others try...

"It's so beautifully arranged on the plate -- you know somebody's fingers have been all over it." ~Julia Child


#10 Joe H

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 05:53 PM

(Sorry in advance - having computer problems and couldn't use bullets.)

We battled rush hour traffic and the unbelievable construction last night, and enjoyed a truly delicious dinner at Michel's (official night #2 for them):

Reminiscent of Central, they brought over a little "fryer basket" of gougeres

I started with the onion carbonara - clever and so flavorful.

My husband had the wonderful and gorgeously vibrant leek and quail egg app.

We both had the veal cheeks blanquette (because we were each unwilling to share!) -- a must-try. The veal cheeks were lovely and tender (not sous vide, Michel said), the sauce is unlike any other blanquette I've had -- rich yet light with a subtle touch of celeriac, which makes it. Served with basmati rice on the side. Both the blanquette and rice are topped with a sprinkle of fun rice crisps.

For dessert, my husband had the Ile Flotante -- the sauce, a fresh banana cream, is unreal.

We also had Michel's very fun take on profiteroles... ice cream topped with a shower of mini sugar-encrusted choux, decadent warm chocolate sauce served at the table with a "say when."

And finally, reminiscent of Citronelle, they brought us a lovely plate of the paper-thin caramelized nut mosaic wafers.

Michel's meticulous eye was on every detail throughout the night, from prep and plating to service and more -- he was all over everyone -- making the experience this early in the restaurant's life very smooth and thoroughly eye- and palate-pleasing.

Can't wait to hear what others try...

Perhaps this is the price we paid for going on their first night: no fryer basket of gougeres, no amuse and no caramelized nut mosaic wafers. My wife and I did have three first courses, two entrees and two desserts along with wine and a check totalling more than two hundred dollars. My filet mignon of tuna ordered rare was medium... Lesson learned: remember that it's a restaurant's first night and have appropriate expectations. Also, when the man whose name is on the restaurant sits next to you, order what those at his table order.

#11 lion

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 06:41 PM

Can't seem to find a link to an online menu....?

#12 paula

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 08:18 AM

Can anyone speak to the portion sizes? We're thinking about checking it out for our work holiday lunch/dinner but we have some non foodies who will want full bellies (not just wonderful food) when the meal it done.
Can't wait to check it out! May have to find a babysitter this weekend.

#13 Joe H

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 09:29 AM

Can anyone speak to the portion sizes? We're thinking about checking it out for our work holiday lunch/dinner but we have some non foodies who will want full bellies (not just wonderful food) when the meal it done.
Can't wait to check it out! May have to find a babysitter this weekend.

Portions are small similar to Citronelle. Four or five courses would be typical here (as opposed to three at one end or a tasting).

#14 leleboo

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 03:12 PM

Can't seem to find a link to an online menu....?

Menu (pdf)

Michel has its own site -- if you go via the Ritz's site, you don't get a menu.

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#15 Tweaked

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 03:26 PM

The November 2010 edition of Washingtonian Magazine has a splashy feature article on Michel. Doesn't appear to be available online yet.
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#16 lion

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 12:04 PM

Menu (pdf)

Michel has its own site -- if you go via the Ritz's site, you don't get a menu.

Thanks Leleboo!

#17 eyedubya

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 09:17 PM

Dined at Michel last night. All-in-all, major letdown. I've eaten at Citronelle numerous times, dating back 10 years; albeit often in the bar. I've enjoyed Central 5 or 6 times as well. Michel lacks the punch of Citronelle and the fun of Central.

Here's my rundown, good and bad.
  • On arrival, they did not have our reservation in the system, even though it had been made 2 weeks earlier. They were gracefully able to accommodate our party of 6 on a Saturday night by moving some bar-ish tables together for a later large party. They said because my wife and I were both in their database (from our past reservations at Citronelle/Central), that they found a way to get us a table. Bad they botched the rez, good they made it work.
  • Sat at bar to wait. Bar is cramped, four seats, and 2 bartenders in an very tight space. At peak time, they were slammed with table orders and couldn't pay attention to bar patrons. Plus there was some kind of tizzy about some champagne order for a table where Michel Richard was hanging out.
  • Wines by glass severely limited, highly-marked-up, and unoriginal. As previously mentioned, Layercake Cabernet $14, and the rest of the list was equally boring.
  • Decor of dining room is quite nice and sophisticated, and no trace of the Maestro ballroom effect. BUT... something about it doesn't allow you to forget that you're in a hotel room. Might be too sanitary, or just a tad too bright. This is a nit, but this kind of thing matters when it comes to pricey restaurants trying to make it, especially in the 'burbs.
  • Upon seating we were promptly pushed on bottled water and given menus then bread. Waiter did not come back for 10 minutes after that. When we asked him questions on the menu he launched into diatribe about how he is not a regular waiter, he is a "chef who cooks professionally", so he will explain things differently than a waiter. Fine...in hindsight I should have gone and asked the manager for a real waiter. His responses to our questions lacked any subjectivity, just brief descriptions of the dishes we inquired about. We were unsuccessful in our attempts to get any kind of recommendations for favorites, items to skip, etc. He was generally aloof and somewhat arrogant.
  • Michel Richard was in the house, roaming between 3 or 4 tables exclusively, even pouring champagne for one group. Ignored everyone else. He also spent a fair amount of time doing 1:1 discussions with staff members near the bar. Later he moved to the kitchen directing traffic, then he disappeared around 9:00 or so.
  • Our first bottle of wine took 30 minutes to arrive, despite empty cocktail glasses on the table. We asked about it three times, and our waiter just said he was working on it. He was really just working on getting us to order more $12 vodka tonics.
  • Wine list is shorter than Citronelle or Central, and less interesting, in my opinion. Also the markup was frustratingly high. I eat at decent restaurants somewhat regularly so I have a decent sense for wines and prices, and I was very disappointed in both selection and value here.
  • Appetizers: Onion carbonara very good but by MR standards, uneventful. Scallops borderline great. The escargot tart was a big letdown; at Citronelle this is a fantastic dish, here the escargot were ground into a paste and put on the "pizza" like a pepperoni slice. The crust was tough and overall it was unflavorful. Someone had the spring roll but I didn't catch how it was.
  • Entrees: Mustard Rabbit (my dish) was OK. Half some sort of tenderloin (tasted like chicken finger from Sweetwater Tavern, minus the batter) and the other half a cold confit in a column. The mustard sauce was good, but not much of it. Would not recommend unless you are some kind of rabbit addict. Porcupine shrimp: I did not try, but my dining companion said it was fantastic. Salmon: Fine, nothing spectacular. Beef tenderloin: fine, consistent with a good tenderloin from other high-end restaurants. Tuna filet mignon: 2 people ordered it, and both were overdone. Described as "seared, rare," one was medium-rare and the other medium-well. We returned the medium-well one and were promptly given a properly rare one, but even that was seared long enough that 20% of the fish on either side was cooked through. It was about an inch thick, whereas I expected something thicker to allow more of the rare part.
  • Sides: Mac&Cheese: Arrived the 2nd time we ordered it, not the first. It was OK, but no better than any other restaurant could do. Mashed potatoes were rather bland, they went unfinished at our table of 6. Brussel sprouts I did not try, but they were hardly touched. We also sprung for some of the optional shaved truffles. I didn't see the bill but I am scared at what this little add-on might have cost, and it really wasn't appropriate/value-add for several of the dishes for which it was recommended. It was good for my rabbit b/c it gave me something to taste.
  • Desserts: Chocolate Bar, Profiteroles, ice cream. All good, basically the same as at the other MR spots.
Bottom line: All of our dishes lacked the punch and wow factor that you would get at Citronelle, yet the menu lacks the reliable (casual) go-to choices of Central (Lobster burger, Fried Chicken, etc). Our server, while professional, was borderline condescending, and did nothing to enrich the dining experience. If they can't improve, I honestly don't see this place lasting more than 18 months.

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#18 bookluvingbabe

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 02:09 PM

Dress code? Thinking of dragging Mr. BLB there tomorrow night.

#19 DonRocks

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 11:21 PM

Dress code? Thinking of dragging Mr. BLB there tomorrow night.

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#20 Kibbee Nayee

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 02:49 PM

I was there for breakfast today. The menu is limited but high quality and a little pricey. Nonetheless, the omelet is perfection and the turkey sausage is quite a few bumps above the grocery store version.

But the highlight was the Chef sighting. Around 10:30, Michel came in and was his gregarious self. I looked up from my coffee and saw him coming, and out of my mouth popped "Chef!"....he acted like we were old friends and I got a nice slap on the back as he walked by. Next thing I knew he was in the kitchen preparing a tray of smoked salmon. As I waited for my car at the valet, they mentioned that he's there almost every day, looking after his new baby.

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#21 kwhitney

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 03:37 PM

We enjoyed our aniversary dinner here last Saturday. I found the food was good, but not exciting. My impression was that the place can't decide if it wants to be fine dinning or a Bistro. It doesn't do very well at either.

#22 bookluvingbabe

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 12:52 PM

How formal is the dining room? I have a good friend, and serious Michel groupie, coming in and I'm trying to decide if lunch with an almost 4 year old in tow would work or if we should aim for a grown up dinner. (The menu is in no way an issue for the little guy.)

Thanks!

#23 eyedubya

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 01:19 PM

How formal is the dining room? I have a good friend, and serious Michel groupie, coming in and I'm trying to decide if lunch with an almost 4 year old in tow would work or if we should aim for a grown up dinner. (The menu is in no way an issue for the little guy.)

Thanks!

You should be fine. Michel is more modern than formal; not to say it isn't classy, it's just not stuffy or overly quiet. I would take my four-year-old son (for lunch) if he were a better eater (and if I liked the restaurant more).

#24 DonRocks

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 08:25 AM

A reliable source tells me Jon Mathieson (formerly of Inox) will be taking over the kitchen from Levi Mezick at Michel.

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#25 agm

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Posted 03 November 2011 - 03:34 PM

A reliable source tells me Jon Mathieson (formerly of Inox) will be taking over the kitchen from Levi Mezick at Michel.

I missed this little item somehow. With all due respect to Levi Mezick, whose food I have not eaten and therefore have no opinion on, it seems to me that Jon Mathieson would be an upgrade in almost any kitchen. And although this is clearly a Michel Richard restaurant, the menu looks like food that Mathieson would do well. Has anyone eaten here recently? Has it improved over the shaky early reviews?

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#26 agm

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 08:16 AM

Going to Michel tomorrow and need some recs. We were thinking of ordering the crab spring roll, onion carbonara, seared tuna, and lobster roll. Would they be good choices? We don't eat red meat. Thanks.

How was it?

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#27 kirite

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 10:45 AM

How was it?


It was very good. Sleek decor, professional yet friendly wait staff. My seared tuna was melt in the mouth tender that came with smears of whipped avocado. I also ordered the onion carbonara after watching Michel Richard prepare it on YouTube. So I was disappointed that the version served at Michel came without the salmon caviar. My wife's lobster burger was dense and flavorful and arrived with three thin slices of potato chips. She thought that her crab spring roll with ginger sauce was exceptionally well balanced. Neither of us ordered dessert. Overall, a pricey but very satisfying experience.

#28 TheMatt

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 03:12 PM

So, after hearing about Michel's tribute menu to Palladin I had a question to those who have been here: would it be worth it? Not a cheap menu.

(And, I suppose, I wondered what the dress code is, but that seems to be answered above. See if I can overcome my credo to never wear a tie unless absolutely necessary!)

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#29 DonRocks

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 10:18 AM

So, after hearing about Michel's tribute menu to Palladin I had a question to those who have been here: would it be worth it? Not a cheap menu.

(And, I suppose, I wondered what the dress code is, but that seems to be answered above. See if I can overcome my credo to never wear a tie unless absolutely necessary!)


I remember the Fricassee of Snail with Crispy Sweebreads like it was yesterday - he served it at Palladin (his "second" restaurant in The Watergate). It was a full-sized appetizer, and I can't imagine a tasting menu would present it in the same way, but man I'd pay full boat just to relive that one dish.

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#30 dcs

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 07:05 AM

I just noticed this: Michel Richard to close Tysons restaurant on Sunday

#31 Joe H

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 11:35 AM

So Inox, Monterey Bay and now MIchel's have all closed within a 200 yard walk of the upcoming Tyson's metro stop. And, a 480,000 square foot building now under construction literally across the street from the Ritz is advertising that a "fine ding restaurant" will open there too.

Doesn't look good for any of the four spaces that have to be filled. Actually this could be a reflection of Tyson's itself: nobody walks down the street that all of these restaurants sit on. There is no foot traffic; frankly very little vehicular traffic. There's little opportunity for a visual reminder that these places are even there. I'm also not so sure that the subway is going to change this-it's Tyson's not Clarendon or even Reston Town Center; certainly not 7th street. The very thing that Fairfax planners want to change, the absence of the ability-or desire-to walk between buildings kills pedestrian activity with the result that shopping and dining greatly suffer away from one of the malls.

I don't think it's going to change. They are advertising a pedestrian walkway between the new office building and the Ritz. A pedestrian walkway? Isn't this what the Fairfax planners want to eliminate? Don't they want people to actually walk out onto the street not walk over it? Further, is this what we are looking at: clusters of development where no one walks BETWEEN the clusters rather they walk within them?

It's going to be hard to fill these four spaces. Having a walkway carry several thousand people in a major new office building over and not down onto a street is not going to help. To get to whoever takes Monterey Bay's and Inox's space will require walking ON the street not over it.

Tyson's is going to continue to be a risky investment away from the malls.

#32 Kibbee Nayee

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 11:50 AM

Tyson's is going to continue to be a risky investment away from the malls.


Tyson's is where fine dining goes to die. The construction that has ripped apart Tyson's makes it virtually impassable....I do my best to avoid the area, Beltway and all, at all times. To Inox, Monterey Bay and Michel (and Maestro), you might as well add the space that Colvin Run used to occupy, not to mention its next-door neighbor Morton's. The sadness in this situation is that there may be no stronger cluster of tech-backed expense accounts than in Tyson's, but now they can flock to the chains that occupy the malls....

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#33 Joe H

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 12:15 PM

I would like to see an Inox or Estadio or Zaytinya or Source like restaurant open in Reston Town Center where there IS foot traffic and also a space available in a building where ground was just broken diagonally across from Passion Fish.

I write this as someone who has no connection in any way to anything at Town Center; rather as someone who lives in Reston and would like to see a restaurant "which makes a difference" and is not an outpost of a national chain. There is education, wealth and a downtown ambience here in what I believe is the single best available location in northern VA.

And, yes, the subway is coming.

#34 lion

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 12:29 PM

Tysons Corner outside the mall is not going to be a economically viable 'neighborhood' for high scale restaurants for the next 4 years because of construction, but honestly outside of a few restaurants in the past 20 years, it's never been a high end region. If you're in the neighborhood of +$200 for a dinner, driving to DC versus Tysons, isn't a factor because the extra time is worth it in terms of quality. Actually when you're north of +$200 for two people, it's for a special occasion and driving to a destination restaurant makes it special.

Who wants to arrive 'dressed up' to the place you battle to get the Christmas shopping done?

It would be better to get four 'start-up' restaurants in those spaces.

#35 Josh Radigan

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 01:26 PM

but INOX and Michel's were in no way attached to the mall, yet again placed in areas of office buildings and hotels, where foot traffic is sparse at night. Reminds me of what happened in Rosslyn in the 70's, after 5PM, ghost town. Until there is a substantial amount of residential, restaurants in that area will continue to battle against one another for the all mighty dollar. I have a very good friend of mine who is the owner/operator of The Cap Grille at Tysons and he has been there for over 10 years. They seem to be doing fine for being high end, maybe someone should ask him, Hey, how do you do it, and yet others fail?

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#36 DonRocks

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 01:37 PM

but INOX and Michel's were in no way attached to the mall, yet again placed in areas of office buildings and hotels, where foot traffic is sparse at night. Reminds me of what happened in Rosslyn in the 70's, after 5PM, ghost town. Until there is a substantial amount of residential, restaurants in that area will continue to battle against one another for the all mighty dollar. I have a very good friend of mine who is the owner/operator of The Cap Grille at Tysons and he has been there for over 10 years. They seem to be doing fine for being high end, maybe someone should ask him, Hey, how do you do it, and yet others fail?


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#37 bookluvingbabe

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 04:31 PM

We had an amazing dinner there last Saturday. It was hopping. Sigh...


#38 Kibbee Nayee

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 04:46 PM

And yet, the fact remains that the Ritz will have to replace it with something....maybe the Gordon Ramsay rumor will resurface....because they have to have a restaurant in that space....

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#39 apicius

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 09:33 AM

The only high end restaurant succeeding in the DC suburbs are steak house.
One of the problem of sophisticated fine dining outside of the city is the life style of people living around; they do not go out during the week and you don't have the high revenue single crowd you find in town. You also have less lobbyists.
People in the suburbs are going out only on Friday and Saturday because they get up early during the week. and you cannot have a successful restaurant based on two days.
There is not attraction like theaters, Verizon center or so on.
All high end restaurants failed in Bethesda as well.
The only exception is 2941 where the owner owns the building and could afford for 2 or 3 years to lose money. Few people can do that.
If Marriott at the Ritz-Carlton were looking to rent the space and not operating it there is a good reason.
They lost a lot of money with Maestro; I went to Maestro a Wednesday night there was exactly 23 people.

To have a great restaurant in the suburbs you need someone with deep pocket who can afford to lose money for several years, I don't know any candidates.
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#40 Kibbee Nayee

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 10:18 AM

I certainly respect your perspective, although I would add to your point about suburban lifestyles the immense traffic difficulties that make fine dining in the suburbs such a challenge. After all, for every downtown lobbyist with an expense account the suburbs have IT execs with expense accounts too. But who wants to navigate the traffic snarl around Tysons?

However, I would counter that the suburbs have a rather nice grip on ethnic restaurants that would not otherwise survive the higher real estate costs of the downtown area. I am happy with the divide of fine dining downtown and truly authentic ethnic mom-n-pops in the suburbs....

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#41 RWBooneJr.

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 10:43 AM

To have a great restaurant in the suburbs you need someone with deep pocket who can afford to lose money for several years, I don't know any candidates.


The Armstrongs seem to be doing quite well in Old Town. And L'Auberge Chez François, which is kind of in the middle of nowhere, has been going strong for 35 years. There are other examples, but I point out these two because they represent the diversity of what can survive in the suburbs. I have no idea why other concepts have failed, but I don't think one can categorically say that you can't do fine dining outside of the city. Personally, I never went to Michel because it didn't seem terribly exciting.

#42 Josh Radigan

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 11:10 AM

Then one question, if it seems that only Steakhouses are surviving, then how do they do it with the example of 'people only dining out Friday/Saturday Night'? Reason being I ask is that the last time I checked, The Cap Grille had no bargain basement pricing, as well as The Palm.
The flipside is how do so many mid-range restaurant fare so well day in and day out out in Tysons? Cafe Deluxe, Clyde's.
It could simply be what the function of penny-pinching does in terms of everyday spending. So many people who used to dine out on top dollar had to scale back, but in the process no one wants to have to forgo or even give up dinning out regularly. So, people are more willing to take a chance on a cheap dinner repeatedly, and save for that special night out.
Hence the visability of Applebee's, Chili's and just about every other cookie cutter restaurant has skyrocketed in the past 4 years. People know what they are getting, they know its consistent, and overall its accessable to their needs.

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#43 Heather

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 11:44 AM

The Armstrongs seem to be doing quite well in Old Town.

But Old Town is walkable. It's possible to stroll around before dinner, shopping or window shopping. Tyson's, not so much.

And L'Auberge Chez François, which is kind of in the middle of nowhere, has been going strong for 35 years.

L'Auberge is a destination restaurant where people go to celebrate special occasions, in an extremely wealthy area. Does anyone decide to pop in to the bar there for a glass of wine or a meal after work? It also has a parking lot - it sounds trivial, but a lot of dining decisions are made around the perceived accessibility of parking around the restaurant.

#44 Kibbee Nayee

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 12:01 PM

Then one question, if it seems that only Steakhouses are surviving, then how do they do it with the example of 'people only dining out Friday/Saturday Night'? Reason being I ask is that the last time I checked, The Cap Grille had no bargain basement pricing, as well as The Palm.
The flipside is how do so many mid-range restaurant fare so well day in and day out out in Tysons? Cafe Deluxe, Clyde's.

This is a point I was trying to make, albeit not well, with respect to the Reston Town Center. Mediocrity thrives in the Tysons-Reston-Herndon corridor. Cafe Deluxe at lunch hour is a noisy and crowded homage to mediocre food, while Michel -- with much easier parking! -- offered better food at similar prices only a few "blocks" away. Clyde's and Jackson's draw incredible after work crowds while Inox and Colvin Run couldn't keep their doors open.

The IT expense accounts and the spouses of IT execs who shop all over Tysons and Reston throughout the daytime wouldn't know what to do if a number if Penn Quarter restaurants all-of-a-sudden appeared in the Tysons-Reston-Herndon corridor. They would still pack the chains....

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#45 mdt

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 12:25 PM

The IT expense accounts and the spouses of IT execs who shop all over Tysons and Reston throughout the daytime wouldn't know what to do if a number if Penn Quarter restaurants all-of-a-sudden appeared in the Tysons-Reston-Herndon corridor. They would still pack the chains....

I really don't get your insistence that folks that live outside of DC have no clue about fine dining. It's just absurd. I guess all those folks in the great places in DC are district residents.

#46 brian

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 01:37 PM

To a large extent, it's simple transportation. A fine dining restaurant in the Virginia suburbs is easier to get to for people in Virginia, but it's harder to reach for most people in DC and Maryland.

Places like L'Auberge and The Inn at Little Washington succeed in part because what they offer in setting can't be found in the city - if a restaurant doesn't have the central location or population density that places downtown have, it needs to counter that with other qualities.

#47 Kibbee Nayee

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 03:02 PM

I really don't get your insistence that folks that live outside of DC have no clue about fine dining. It's just absurd. I guess all those folks in the great places in DC are district residents.

Well, how's this for absurd? Cafe Deluxe, Clyde's (Tysons and Reston), Maggiano's, Jackson's, M&S Grill and Gordon Biersch are PACKED, day in and day out, by discerning suburban palates, while Colvin Run Tavern, Inox, Monterey Bay, Michel and Maestro are all closed. Same general locations, same general demographics, and not all that different price/cover. That's absurd to you?

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#48 Heather

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 03:17 PM

Clyde's, Daily Grill, Gordon Biersch, Cafe Deluxe, McCormick & Schmick, etc. etc. pack them in downtown, too, along with Fuddrucker's, California Pizza Kitchen, Bucca di Beppo, Cosi, Potbelly...bad taste is not confined to outside the Beltway.

#49 Pete

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 03:24 PM

Well, how's this for absurd? Cafe Deluxe, Clyde's (Tysons and Reston), Maggiano's, Jackson's, M&S Grill and Gordon Biersch are PACKED, day in and day out, by discerning suburban palates, while Colvin Run Tavern, Inox, Monterey Bay, Michel and Maestro are all closed. Same general locations, same general demographics, and not all that different price/cover. That's absurd to you?

Cafe Deluxe, Clyde's, Maggiano's, M&S Grill and Gordon Biersch all have lower price points, and are in more accessible locations within Tysons, than Colvin Run Tavern, Inox, Monterey Bay, Michel and Maestro.

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#50 DonRocks

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 04:55 PM

Okay, so who linked to this thread, Tyler or Monica? We've had record-setting traffic this afternoon, for whatever reason (how appropriate that this thread would induce heavy traffic :rolleyes:). Can someone email me and let me know? donrockwell@dcdining.com

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