So long, Sou’Wester. Washington’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel announced today that it’s switching concepts for its more casual restaurant, replacing the Southern-inspired eatery with the Asian-themed Muze. The new all-day dining space, which officially opens on December 2, will be helmed by existing chef Didier Pouzier as well as newcomer Mark McDonnell, a former chef de cuisine at Rogue 24.
The Mandarin’s fine-dining restaurant, CityZen, has been a steady star of the Washington dining scene under chef Eric Ziebold. Its more casual sibling claims a rockier past, with the original shift from Cafe Mozu to Sou’Wester in 2009 and several chef changes in recent years, including the departures of opening toque Rachael Harriman and Eddie Moran. Pouzier has already taken the menu in an Asian direction since his arrival last winter, matching the hotel’s Eastern themes. In addition to existing dishes like ahi tuna crudo and Korean braised short rib empanadas, look for new menu items such as miso rockfish with dill and confit lamb shoulder with soy-roasted sunchokes.