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

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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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"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!

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

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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.

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(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...

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(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.

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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.

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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).

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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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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.

<Disclaimer: Yes I realize this is my first post (after several years of silent membership), but I was finally inspired to jump in after being so surprisingly underwhelmed on so many levels here. I live in the NoVa burbs and would kill for some more good dining choices.>

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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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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.

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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!

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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).

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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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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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