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Jacques Gastreaux

Marcel's, Robert Wiedmaier's Fine-Dining Flagship in West End with Chef Paul Stearman, Pastry Chef Ashleigh Pearson, and the Great Maitre d' Adnane Kebaier

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Marcel's is definitely one of the top three restaurants in the DC-Baltimore area (Sushi Sono and Tosca being the others).

Wow! Sushi Sono and Tosca are better than places like Komi, CityZen, Eve, Citronelle ... and what else am I forgetting? Those are some strong words.

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My law firm bought out Marcels last Saturday night for a special dinner. All I can say is WOW. Chef Wiedmaier was in the kitchen and he again demonstrated that he is a true maestro. One expects greatness from the legendary boudin blanc and the amazing roast chicken (the only serious competition to Palena for DC's best), but every single thing I tasted this evening was utterly sublime. My date's salmon ravioli and loup de mer were both sensational, as was my lobster risotto. Perhaps the most eye opening pleasure of the night was the cheese and tomato pizza passed along with several other awesome hors d'oeuvres. There has been a lot of recent chatter on this site about the best pizza in DC . My two personal favorites have historically been 2 Amys and Sette, but I would take the pie Chef Wiedmaier made last weekend over all of them. And this extraordinary quality level was maintained even though the restaurant was serving 75 people at once. Kudos and thanks to the Chef and his entire team for an amazing and delicious effort.

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My wife and I went to Marcel's for the first time last night. What were we waiting for? One of our best meals in DC.

The descriptions above are really on target. Next time I go, I will try anything with a crust. My wife's lobster bisque and lamb were both served in crusts and were outstanding! My Dover sole was prepared simply and might have been the best fish dish I have had in DC. It was sliced in half so that there was a bottom piece, some potatoes, then a piece on top. We didn't go wrong with our desserts either: a pear baba with ginger ice cream and the chocolate soufflé. The soufflé is a small portion, so don't skimp on dessert. You can fit it in! Sorry we didn't try the coffee!

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After reading all of the laudatory comments on this thread, and WWMeade's previous wonderful experience, he and I looked forward to our reservation last night with happy anticipation. We decided to go "all in" and get the full seven-course tasting dinner.

The staff were all very attentive to my gluten intolerance and were careful to ensure that my food was all "safe." However, the service overall was inconsistent, sometimes very attentive and sometimes very absentminded.

Of the seven courses I tried, I can't say that I would want to eat them again. Much of my food was overcooked: pork belly that was dry, tough and stringy, snapper that was dried out. The boudin blanc had four patches of blackened surface around it, not the nice browning described above. A "mistake" on the menu described the snapper as being accompanied by morel mushrooms, when it in fact was paired with mixed "wild" mushrooms. When we mentioned to the server that we were expecting morels, he consulted the kitchen and returned to announce the error on the menu and that we would have morels on our next course. Sadly, those, too, were overcooked. Initially I thought it was a fluke, but as we went through our subsequent courses, it became evident that it was a trend. Even my cheese was hard and crumbly, rather than the soft creamy texture that I would expect, based on descriptions of the cheese.

By the time we got to our fifth course, the sun had set and the room was very dim. My food became amorphous brown and black shapes on a white background, mocking the kitchen's attractive plating. I asked for more light, and it was promised, but never delivered.

I don't know who was in the kitchen. Later in the evening every table and every seat at the bar was filled, but when we arrived before 6, there were few other diners, so I can't attribute the disappointment to an overloaded FOH or BOH staff.

At this price point, a restaurant only gets one chance to impress me. As with many things, first impressions are important. I am not at all inspired to return to Marcel's.

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I'm heading here Wednesday - hate to hear that it might be slipping. Any recent experiences that were positive and what to get? It's not often we get to go to places like Marcel's, so I want to make the best of it!

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Sthitch, I am excited to return to the Wiedmaier group as the Beverage Director for all things Robert Wiedmaier. Come by and visit!

While you wrote this, I was returning home after swilling Récoltant Manipulant Champagnes at the flagship.

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While you wrote this, I was returning home after swilling Récoltant Manipulant Champagnes at the flagship.

Funny!

You went on my day off.

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Hi everyone,

I am heading to Marcel's for the first time this weekend to celebrate my birthday. We are most likely going to have the 3-course pre-theater menu. Any recommendations? Thanks in advance!

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Hi everyone,

I am heading to Marcel's for the first time this weekend to celebrate my birthday. We are most likely going to have the 3-course pre-theater menu. Any recommendations? Thanks in advance!

Lobster bisque, boudin blanc, and if available the Skate

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I have a bone to pick with Wiedmaier: the Marcel's website devotes paragraphs of purple and awkwardly-worded* gush to Executive Chef Paul Stearman in the "about us" section, but not a word to Maitre d' Adnane Kebaier, whose talents include making three-times-a-year visitors feel like high-rolling regulars, even when he's doing double duty on a Sunday night -- bartender and host.

From the "great to see you again" when we walked in to having Marcel's driver take us home, Adnane spun a service experience that matched and even, perhaps, exceeded the excellent meal the kitchen churned out.

Highlights of that meal included the oyster gratin and root vegetable puree ethereally light and delicious enough to suggest that, rather than spooning it off a plate, it would best be consumed off the naked torso of someone you find exceptionally attractive.

Mrs. B: "These vegetables are fantastic, what's in them?"

Adnane: "Just carrots, turnips, parsnips...you know"

Mrs. B: "What's the fat?"

Adnane: (hesitates a moment, wondering if we're vegans or something) ".....Maybe a little bacon."

The venison and (Lingon?)berries that came with the puree were pretty good, too.

When I asked for a half bottle of something red or maybe something by the glass, Adnane shook off the pitch and rummaged around for bottle of Cornas which smelled like a summer afternoon in the Aix-en-Provence, and worked well with both the venison and the subsequent cheese. Later on there magically appeared a glass of some stellar Cali Cabernet, whose name I unfortunately have forgotten.

The kitchen certainly deserves all the credit it gets, but the front of the house should get a nod, as well, for making you feel not only well-fed, but greatly appreciated.

*I will edit for boudin blanc, if you're reading this, Chef.

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I have a bone to pick with Wiedmaier: the Marcel's website devotes paragraphs of purple and awkwardly-worded* gush to Executive Chef Paul Stearman in the "about us" section, but not a word to Maitre d' Adnane Kebaier, whose talents include making three-times-a-year visitors feel like high-rolling regulars, even when he's doing double duty on a Sunday night -- bartender and host.

From the "great to see you again" when we walked in to having Marcel's driver take us home, Adnane spun a service experience that matched and even, perhaps, exceeded the excellent meal the kitchen churned out.

Charles, this is a great and deserved shout out for Adnane - a guy who has for years delivered consistently outstanding service. The true mark of his performance is that Marcel's stellar hospitality and service did not falter on iota when the equally wonderful Ramon Navarez left Marcel's to open Adour. And now, of course, Ramon is back heading up the wine program for Chef Wiedmaier's ever growing empire. It is always a pleasure to walk into Marcel's.

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I have a bone to pick with Wiedmaier: the Marcel's website devotes paragraphs of purple and awkwardly-worded* gush to Executive Chef Paul Stearman in the "about us" section, but not a word to Maitre d' Adnane Kebaier, whose talents include making three-times-a-year visitors feel like high-rolling regulars, even when he's doing double duty on a Sunday night -- bartender and host.

Amen (enough to change the subtitle of this thread - one of the city's truly great GMs).

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I had a truly delicious Dover sole Saturday night. The butter poached lobster pasta is off the charts. Tasty Crepes Suzette for dessert.

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The dinner courses I had last night were the seafood gratin, the tuna tataki, the salmon, the cod, the loupe de mer, the duck, the pork tenderloin and the apple mousse. Yes I got an extra course. With the amuse, coffee, and petit fours, it came out to just a bit too much food but all the food was well prepared. The loupe de mer was my least favorite - the branzino was too fishy and seemed a little less than absolutely fresh. I adored the lentils it came with though. My salmon was inconisistently cooked, one piece was overdone but the other bit was perfect just a touch rare in the middle. I quite enjoyed it - a bit more than the gratin, which was a little too rich to start off with. The tuna was precious, I could have eaten another four plates of it. I loved the lardons and potatos with the cod, and my pork tenderloin was fantastic but my favorite was the duck! Four slices of breast on a little rectangular cube of confit with carved apple. Where did they get honeycrisp apples in this season? but they were delicate and tasty. My dining companions were also in raptures over the foie gras special, the butter-poached lobster pasta, the boudin blanc and escargot. Next time, we'll do wines by the glass. We had three bottles of wine and it would have been nice to have more variety. I am sorry to have missed out on the little takeaway baggies of macarons that had me drooling as soon as I saw them when we arrived at the host station in the front door, but we did close down the place. One word of warning, the rabbit encroute will fill you up to the point of not being able to really enjoy your following courses if you are going for seven. Flavorwise, it's a fine example of bunny pot pie. (Tastes like chicken) and the Granny Smith sorbet on my dessert course was perfection!.

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I have a bone to pick with the title of this thread. It should be "Marcel's, Robert Wiedmaier's West-End Flagship". The name of the quarter is the West End, not the Westend. Used as an attributive adjective, "West End" should be hyphenated. That is all.

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I've only ever been here once, for pre-theater IIRC. I think. I am going back here again sometime this month for a long overdue exploration of what they are about. What should I not miss?

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I've only ever been here once, for pre-theater IIRC. I think. I am going back here again sometime this month for a long overdue exploration of what they are about. What should I not miss?

Sthitch had it right back in January. "Lobster bisque, boudin blanc, and if available the Skate". But I've never had a miss there.

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I have a bone to pick with the title of this thread. It should be "Marcel's, Robert Wiedmaier's West-End Flagship". The name of the quarter is the West End, not the Westend. Used as an attributive adjective, "West End" should be hyphenated. That is all.

"West End" (if capitalized and referring to a neighborhood in DC) is a proper noun like "North Carolina" or "Foggy Bottom" and should not, in fact, be hyphenated.

As long as we're getting all nit-picky here.

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"West End" (if capitalized and referring to a neighborhood in DC) is a proper noun like "North Carolina" or "Foggy Bottom" and should not, in fact, be hyphenated.

As long as we're getting all nit-picky here.

Waitman is absolutely correct.

Rob

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Sthitch had it right back in January. "Lobster bisque, boudin blanc, and if available the Skate". But I've never had a miss there.
Boudin Blanc, oyster gratin, lobster papardelle, Dover sole for starters.

Thanks for the suggestions, sounds great! I'm a sucker for all of those dishes. My wife will probably swoon if Dover Sole is on the menu.

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Anyone been and can comment on the Fall menu? Sounds like the repetitions above were the boudin blanc, lobster bisque, skate, oyster gratin, lobster papardelle, and dover sole, but no comments since the Spring.

We're contemplating going next weekend for the pre-theater menu before Les Mis at the Kennedy Center. I am planning to call the restaurant to verify, but do you think if we have 5:30 reservations we'll have a problem making the 7:30 curtain? I assume they are used to getting people and and out and shuttled to the show.

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Anyone been and can comment on the Fall menu? Sounds like the repetitions above were the boudin blanc, lobster bisque, skate, oyster gratin, lobster papardelle, and dover sole, but no comments since the Spring.

We're contemplating going next weekend for the pre-theater menu before Les Mis at the Kennedy Center. I am planning to call the restaurant to verify, but do you think if we have 5:30 reservations we'll have a problem making the 7:30 curtain? I assume they are used to getting people and and out and shuttled to the show.

My wife and I have hit Marcel's before Kennedy Center curtain times and have had no problem. They pull it off seamlessly. The offered "limo" service can be a little reminiscent of the college clown car-taxi cab ride on Friday nights to Georgetown but anything inside of the 4 walls of the restaurant is gold.

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