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Westend Bistro, in the Ritz Carlton on 22nd & M Streets NW - Chef Devin Bozkaya Takes Over for Joe Palma


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Eric Ripert. Here. From the "Chog" thread:

The restaurant, called Harvest, will replace The Grill at the Ritz-Carlton on 22nd and M Sts. Adamstein and Demetriou are doing the interior.

No word yet on how involved the pouty-lipped, four-star chef plans to be in the day-to-day operations of the new restaurant, which should open late this summer or early fall, but his arrival marks yet another high-profile addition to the city's dining scene

If it means he might be here occasionally I am all for it. I will try to control my groupie instincts. wub.gif

(Adamson & Demetriou? Shocking. laugh.gif )

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Eric Ripert. Here. From the "Chog" thread:If it means he might be here occasionally I am all for it. I will try to control my groupie instincts. B)

(Adamson & Demetriou? Shocking. :unsure: )

That is something to look forward to. The restaurant scene here has been pretty quiet as of late. (Chick-fil-A being the most talked about on here :) .)

A chef with a great reputation and great looks to boot! I can't wait! I would love to sit at his table. :lol:

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I can say with greater than 80% confidence that a restaurant will be opening in Falls Church that will have a much more significant impact on our city's culinary legacy than either The Source or Westend, two upcoming satellite restaurants that will be technically associated with Wolfgang Puck and Eric Ripert, but both in name only. My prediction is that neither of these two "chefs" will ultimately have anything more to do with these restaurants than Antoine Westermann does with "Cafe 15," or Todd English does with "Olives." I see more name-brand significance in Betty Crocker or Sara Lee opening a new line of pre-packaged pudding cakes in Harris Teeter than I do with either of these hype-driven, let's-give-the-restaurant-critics-an-erection outposts.

But there's a very real chance that the next Fabio Trabocchi will be coming to Falls Church (and Fabio should have opened downtown, dammit, and shame on you, Washington, DC restaurant investors, for not making this happen - you had a golden opportunity, and you blew it).

I'd love to give you more details, but I can't right now.

Cheers,

Rocks.

well Eric Ripert, no matter what, this destination will be worth the go. his famed Le Bernardin of NYC is amazing,a nd one can only imagine that the new venture with his Sous Chef opening it up, will better than a mere second showing. keep the fatih there DR, the city needs outside roles to get some of the old up date with the new, and happening. it should be a complement that NYC wants to come to DC to create new ventures, rather than Vegas, or San Fran, or Chicago, or Canada for that matter. we should supportive, and look forward to all the new that is ahead...

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That's the spirit, Wine Guy.

Please note that Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert - a casual American bistro - will officially open for dinner on Thursday, November 1. And, yes, chances are very good to see the man himself in the kitchen.

www.WestendBistroDC.com.

I'm so intrigued by the Fabio in Falls Church lead...

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Sounds like they're in the home stretch. Hopefully during the hectic preopening they'll find time to give the whole first page of the bar menu some serious proofreading . Given the errors in laying out these pages there may be some really good items missing [additional beers, hopefully] from Version 1.0 of this menu. Looking forward to seeing how it all turns out.

bar_Oct30.pdf

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I don't know what you were expecting, but it looks like an upscale bistro menu to me. Fairly pricy, but is is the Ritz and Bernardin. I look forward to trying the salmon rillettes.

I did not say that the menu was bad, just a bit conservative. I am always surprised that places send a great deal of time on wine, food, etc. and seem to disregard the beer list.

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I did not say that the menu was bad, just a bit conservative. I am always surprised that places send a great deal of time on wine, food, etc. and seem to disregard the beer list.
Gotcha. And agreed on the beer list, it is pretty tame. I'm guessing, based on the menu and the drinks offerings, that this is going to be more like a conservative hotel restaurant than the second coming of Le Bernardin. Still looking forward to tasting the cooking.
Please note that Westend Bistro by Eric Ripert - a casual American bistro
I am not seeing a whole lot of "American" on that menu, unless steak au poivre, pate en croute, and skate au beurre noisette are now American? Maybe that refers to the wine list? :blink:
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well I was going to blast you all with a rant about how dare you judge a menu before you try it...if you give a casual read of Central's menu much if it sounds plain (fried chicken, hanger steak, tuna burger, lamb stew) but we all know differently...etc. etc.

But holy crap.

fried calamari, chicken soup, tuna carpaccio, warm chocolate cake...ok, ok, let's hope the mini pork pies are to die for and the calamari is a revelation is frying. I'll go with an open mind. except for the beer list...what is this a Ruby Tuesday's, no wait even Ruby Tuesday's has a better beer list (Ruby's Beer List)

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I am sure the time that the time I am posting should reflect the absurdity of this post- but I have to say.. as far as I am concerned ... Eric Ripert could serve chowder crackers for all I care. I will be first in line to see him break a sweat in that kitchen..

I'm with you Kitkat. He is a rock star and from my anecdotal experiences he is taking a hands on approach to the Westend. He was in town Tuesday (for at least the second time in the past week). Saw him after midnite at the bar at Hudson with all his cooks and spoke with him briefly - he was warm and genuine and very accessible. I have no problem with the menu and I'm confident it will evolve as the chef settles in. Give the guy a chance. One thing is for sure (as all you Top Chef groupies know) - there will never be a dish that combine chocolate and chicken livers on that menu.

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I agree with Mr. hmmboy. :blink: The guy is a rock star, and by all accounts, not lacking in integrity. Shall we wait to actually try the food before dismissing it?

What happened to the Harvest concept? I wonder why they went from something that really sounded intriguing to something that appears to be upscale chain food.
Upscale chain food? Is that what bistro food is now? The US has come a long way if skate au beurre blanc is on the menu at Applebees.
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Upscale chain food? Is that what bistro food is now? The US has come a long way if skate au beurre blanc is on the menu at Applebees.
It is a far cry from the original concept for the space. And the menu does strike me more as something you would find at a more upscale chain (no not Applebees, more like one of the McCormick & Schmicks brands, or something that the Clyde's Group might put together). I am more than willing to give the food a try, but nothing about the menu calls to be as being very innovative. On the other hand the Harvest concept had the potential to be just that.
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I have had the good fortune to eat at Ripert's Blue restaurant at the Ritz in Grand Cayman and the food was superb and the service was impeccable. The only slight negative was the wine list. From what I understand, he comes down to GC at least 4-5 times a year to check in on his restuarants there.

That being said, I would expect the same quality of food and service at this establishment. From what I have seen, Mr. Ripert, unlike some other chefs, takes his name association very seriously.

I will be there on Friday for dinner.

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It is a far cry from the original concept for the space. And the menu does strike me more as something you would find at a more upscale chain (no not Applebees, more like one of the McCormick & Schmicks brands, or something that the Clyde's Group might put together). I am more than willing to give the food a try, but nothing about the menu calls to be as being very innovative. On the other hand the Harvest concept had the potential to be just that.
Can you refresh our memories as to what the "Harvest concept" was? I recall the name and the rumor, but no details other than that.* Could be the Ritz-Carlton nixed anything too out there.

I usually settle for delicious rather than "innovative," so perhaps we just have different expectations.

* I even posted about it here.

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Can you refresh our memories as to what the "Harvest concept" was? I recall the name and the rumor, but no details other than that.* Could be the Ritz-Carlton nixed anything too out there.

I usually settle for delicious rather than "innovative," so perhaps we just have different expectations.

* I even posted about it here.

The way I understood it was that it was supposed to be a “localvore” concept with dishes changing with what was being harvested. Such a concept can really be a template for some innovative and delicious food. It very well might be that the Ritz rejected it, but that is really all I am asking.

I am going to go (actually will be there on the 11th) and judge the restaurant on its merits.

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A good bistro is not to be dissed, but the menu currently on-line is significantly less intiguing than it might have been before the grand, grander and grandest opening of Michel Beck's Bistro du Parc. And the continued usurpation of the word "bistro" by establishments that by no means embrace the concept of affordability that once infromed bistro dining is troubling -- I hardly need another joint where my wife and I can spend $200 on dinner, or $18 on a hamburger.

We'll see.

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I'm with you Kitkat. He is a rock star and from my anecdotal experiences he is taking a hands on approach to the Westend. He was in town Tuesday (for at least the second time in the past week). Saw him after midnite at the bar at Hudson with all his cooks and spoke with him briefly - he was warm and genuine and very accessible. I have no problem with the menu and I'm confident it will evolve as the chef settles in. Give the guy a chance. One thing is for sure (as all you Top Chef groupies know) - there will never be a dish that combine chocolate and chicken livers on that menu.

He is a total rockstar. I have no shame is saying that I gladly call myself a Ripert fan.<borderline fanatic>. I love the idea of that a well known chef from NYC, Le Bernadin, is lending his name and idea to this restaurant in the district. Whatever the capacity he will be contributing, I think it will be amazing. If anyone would like to join me and ogling at the rockstar himself...It would be my pleasure.

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And the continued usurpation of the word "bistro" by establishments that by no means embrace the concept of affordability that once infromed bistro dining is troubling
Has "bistro" ever had that connotation in the US? Anything with a French name is an excuse to jack up prices.

I called yesterday to ask about lunch, and the gentleman on the phone said it's up to the chef, but he thinks it will be at least a month before it starts.

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Has "bistro" ever had that connotation in the US? Anything with a French name is an excuse to jack up prices.

I called yesterday to ask about lunch, and the gentleman on the phone said it's up to the chef, but he thinks it will be at least a month before it starts.

Oui.
When?

Toujours.

Even Lepic, semingly the swankiest of the bistros to come rapidly to mind (Francais, Du Coin, etc.) keeps all of its apps under $10 and a goodly portion of its entrees under $20.

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Well no chance for a slow opening! The place was packed from open until I left around 930p. Great looking space and it was excellent to see a good amount of bar space. Plenty of seats around the oval bar and a good number of two tops around the perimeter. It is too bad that other recently opened places don't have that kind of space.

The drinks (22nd St Side Car and Eric's Primo Margarita) were well made and tasty.

They are currently only serving a small menu at the bar, but they I think I was told that they will be offering the regular menu at some point in the future. Since we waited a bit to late to see if we could snag a table we decided to make a meal of the small plates that they are offering at the bar. We shared the mini-burgers, salmon rillette, and calamari. The burgers were served MR with a pickle slice and I cannot remember what else :blink: . The rillette was excellent, a mix of smoked(?) and poached salmon in a mayo sauce with chives. Not exactly what I think of when I see the word rillette.

To finish we shared the blueberry cobbler and the nougat glace. The cobbler is really a tart, but was excellent nonetheless. The glace was a soft oval of nougat filled with hazelnut sauce sitting in a layer of orange sauce.

Overall the service was pretty good considering how busy they were and having to answer all sorts of questions from the guests. Looking forward to having dinner there soon.

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I went last night with my boyfriend and we did it all- from bar snacks and cocktails to dinner and then dessert. Here's what we thought...

We arrived 45 minutes early for our reservation and were able to snag a bar table. The space looks great- kind of like Central meets Proof. By that I mean, it is darker and sexier than Central but not quite as dark and sexy as Proof. We were a little put of by the music, which was a little techno/clubby (they finally changed it to something more mellow around the time we ordered desert, at 11:30). We were able to snag a small cocktail table and proceeded to order cocktails and some bar snacks. (I should warn you that the next several lines are fairly critical as we didn’t have the most positive experience in the bar area but the rest of the night did make up for it) I ordered the Westend Cocktail, which was basically a Pomegranate Martini. It was refreshing but nothing to write home about. My boyfriend ordered a more interesting cocktail at our cocktail server’s suggestion- the Bourbonesque, which was Markers mark muddled w/strawberries and maple syrup. I am not a bourbon fan so I did not try it but he was very happy with it and it did smell delicious. We also ordered the truffle/parmesan popcorn and the marinated olives. We were disappointed in both- our big problem with the popcorn was that it was served cold. The olives were also served cold, pitted and fell flat on flavor. I could see a couple of cloves of garlic and a sprig of rosemary but I could taste very little beyond the garlic. I was hoping for higher quality olives and the flavor could have certainly been pumped up a couple of notches (I also prefer them warm, but I recognize that this is merely a matter or taste and opinion). The cocktail service was a little off but I only saw one cocktail server which tells me they probably weren’t expecting the crowd that they got.

Next, we headed to our table in the dining room and began the serious eating. We started with the mini pork pies (served with mustard and some sliced house-made?? pickles) and the salmon rillette. I believe someone posted on the rillette already and their description was pretty accurate. The pieces of salmon in the mayo sauce was served with toast points and while not quite the creamy spread I was expecting, the flavor was very good and I really enjoyed it. The pork pies were also very good- reminiscent of a pig-in-a blanket meets an empanada (what’s not to like??).

We moved on to another course of the tuna tartar and the crab cake and again, we were very happy with both. The tuna tartar was simple and gorgeous. The crab cake had almost no filling- also falling into the category of simple and delicious.

For our entrees, I had the salmon and my boyfriend had the veal cheeks. My salmon came medium rare which I love and was very good. It came with asparagus and a buerre blanc. The sauce was a bit heavy for my taste but again it was basic but still wonderful. My boyfriend’s veal cheeks seemed to be the perfect winter’s dish- they were perfectly tender and the sauce they were served in was rich but still delicate.

We ordered three deserts- the apple tart, the rice pudding, and the warm chocolate cake. The apple tart was described to us by our waiter as their signature desert but it was actually our least favorite. Again, we had a problem with the temperature and we felt that it should have been served warm rather than room temperature. It was fine but certainly not outstanding. The chocolate cake was the biggest hit. It seems that every restaurant does some version of a molten chocolate cake these days (and as chocolate is my weakness, I think I end up ordering each and every one) but this one ranked high. It was rich but not bitter and the inside almost tasted like brownie batter. It was served with rum ice cream, which was fine but the I couldn’t really make out the rum flavor over the rich chocolate. The rice pudding was also quite good- reminiscent of the rice pudding that you would be served in an Indian restaurant more than in a Jewish deli. It was bruleed and topped with dried fruit- creamy and perfume-y (from the honey, I assume).

All and all, we had a very positive experience, especially considering that last night was their first night of service. Beyond the bumps we experienced in the bar area and the limited wine list, we found very little to dislike. Our service in the dining room was great- although they obviously had all hand on deck last night. Our server was very attentive but not intrusive. He seemed to know the menu very well and he was happy to offer his recommendations.

I know this was a long review but I hope it was helpful....I also hope you are not judging me for all the food I managed to put away in one sitting!!

Happy Friday :blink:

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The cocktail service was a little off but I only saw one cocktail server which tells me they probably weren’t expecting the crowd that they got.

I was there for about 90 minutes last night, just at the bar. Service was excellent from where I was standing, and there were at least 3 bartenders, 2 barbacks, and 2 cocktail servers.

Having spoken at times last night with Eric Ripert, the GM, both assistant managers, and the beverage director, they were most certainly anticipating the crowd, didn't fully book the dining room, and overstaffed, just to make sure there weren't major service glitches. The beverage list is a work in progress, as both the GM and beverage director made a point of mentioning. (the beer list stinks, among other problems)

Oh, and the "mini pork pies" are actually Pate en Croute. The "american" twist is that the inside is sort of 50%country pate, 50% pork meatball. It was 100% delicious, though. The "Bourbonesque" was ok - the bourbon disappeared into the muddled strawberries, and the maple syrup added only sweetness, no discernable maple flavor. A good idea that needs more balance to work properly. Eric's Signature Margarita was fabulous, though.

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I was there for about 90 minutes last night, just at the bar. Service was excellent from where I was standing, and there were at least 3 bartenders, 2 barbacks, and 2 cocktail servers.

Having spoken at times last night with Eric Ripert, the GM, both assistant managers, and the beverage director, they were most certainly anticipating the crowd, didn't fully book the dining room, and overstaffed, just to make sure there weren't major service glitches. The beverage list is a work in progress, as both the GM and beverage director made a point of mentioning. (the beer list stinks, among other problems)

Oh, and the "mini pork pies" are actually Pate en Croute. The "american" twist is that the inside is sort of 50%country pate, 50% pork meatball. It was 100% delicious, though. The "Bourbonesque" was ok - the bourbon disappeared into the muddled strawberries, and the maple syrup added only sweetness, no discernable maple flavor. A good idea that needs more balance to work properly. Eric's Signature Margarita was fabulous, though.

Maybe they cut back on the cocktail staff later in the evening and I did not see more than one cocktail server for the entire time that we sat in the bar area. I can't figure out how else to explain the slow service or the fact that we never got so much as a napkin (which made the eating oily olives an especially messy undertaking).

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The "Bourbonesque" was ok - the bourbon disappeared into the muddled strawberries, and the maple syrup added only sweetness, no discernable maple flavor. A good idea that needs more balance to work properly.
Sounds like it--this sounds like sweet with sweet with sweet. Needs orange bitters and another bitters, at least to start, from what it sounds like.
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Sounds like it--this sounds like sweet with sweet with sweet. Needs orange bitters and another bitters, at least to start, from what it sounds like.
Orange bitters, or maybe some lemon; it's got potential, but there needs to be an acid note to counter the strawberry and maple.
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Orange bitters, or maybe some lemon; it's got potential, but there needs to be an acid note to counter the strawberry and maple.

The 22nd St Sidecar and the West End are more balanced than this and both are pretty good. But, more fun was seeing Vincent Ferraud and having him pick wines from the list. No, of course, it's not his wine list, but I suspect most DR.com-er's will be excited to see him pitching in here with Eric Ripert, with whom he first worked in his early twenties many years ago, as this place gets off the ground. The chef is cute and all, but this was the exciting spotting of the night for me.

I liked the space. The description placing it between Central and Proof seemed pretty apt: it's hip, but not overly so. I liked the tables, the china/stemware, and the decor a good bit. The menus are too big for the tables, though otherwise visually attractive. Some other kinks will get worked out too, but folks are very friendly and professional here and from what I gathered most diners were quite pleased with their experience tonight.

I'm not wild about about the salmon rillete. It was good for what it was, but it was smoked fish spread on toasts and it wasn't more than it sounded like. The skate and veal cheeks, however, are both quite good. The skate is a very generous serving and comes with a lovely brown butter sauce and braised endive. The braised endive is striking. The veal cheeks are quite rich and tender. The pinot (Mac Murray) and petite sirah (Concannon) by the glass are both solid, food friendly selections for under $10 a glass, and good parings with the skate and veal cheeks, respectively.

They were recommending the warm chocolate cake for dessert. It's good with the highlight being the rum ice cream that accompanies it. Otherwise, the brownie comparison seems about right to me (take that as you will).

I liked this place for what it is and am glad I tried it, but it's less exciting to me than Central and its presence in Washington says nothing to me about the quality of our dining scene. That said its a nice spot and I'm sure it will do quite well, though, perhaps more so with folks who are not members of this board.

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I liked this place for what it is and am glad I tried it, but it's less exciting to me than Central and its presence in Washington says nothing to me about the quality of our dining scene. That said its a nice spot and I'm sure it will do quite well, though, perhaps more so with folks who are not members of this board.

I find this statement pretty interesting. You stated that the food very good so why would members of this board not enjoy it?

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Arrived a little early for our 7 pm reservations. Prior to dinner we had a glass of wine at the bar. Service and offerings were fine. While waiting for our tables we noticed the mini burgers being served to people at the Bar, they looked good. We had a perfect location to watch the kitchen and all the action.

For appetizers were had

Pork en Cruet- Nice appetizer. Pork served in pastry with pickles and mustard on the side. Nice flavor combinations and textures.

Calamari- Perfectly seasoned and fried, excellent flavor with a nice remoulade sauce.

Mussels- Perfect all around. White wine Broth, with chorizo. They were served in a Staub Mussel Pot.

Clams- Wellfleet clams, fresh and nicely presented

Oysters- 3 different types all were fresh and nicely presented, a nice combination of oysters

Dinner

Tagliatelle Bolognese- Well prepared and flavors were fresh and balanced. A decent dish.

Halibut- perfectly seared nice sized piece of fish atop of perfectly seasoned broth and vegetables.

Chesapeake Bay Stew- A nice combination of shrimp, clams and sea bass. Flavors worked well together.

Grilled Flat Iron. Perfectly seasoned, and prepared, It was ordered med rare and was delivered med rare. The shallots and sauce were a nice addition. The sauce, which was under the steak, was smooth and flavorful.

Braised Veal Cheek- Very tender and flavorful. A great dish.

Mac and Cheese- Well prepared. Needed a little salt, but other then that it was good.

Desert

We had the pineapple upside-down cake, blueberry cobbler, warm chocolate cake and port. The chocolate cake was served with a malt ice cream which great. Overall desert was excellent.

The service was attentive and responsive a little over covered, but it was fine. The wine service was excellent. The Sommelier selected a great red and fully explained the selection. He told us that he was helping until they hire someone and that he work at Maestro. Very nice guy. We were luck to have a seat in both near the kitchen with a perfect view of the kitchen. Chef Marino visited the table and we had a discussion about the cheeks. He noticed that we did not order them and had the dish sent out to the table for us to try. Eric Ripert was in the kitchen and working the floor as well. It was a treat to meet him, he was pleasant and allowed us to have our picture taken with him.

Overall a great experience. We will be going back.

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