Michel by Michel Richard (Closed)
1700 Tysons Blvd.
McLean, VA 22102
Neighborhood: McLean/Tysons Corner
Open Monday through Friday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Saturday for breakfast and dinner, Sunday for brunch.
Price Range: Expensive
Noise Level: Chatty
Onion carbonara; salmon terrine; eel carpaccio; chestnut soup; head cheese with frisée and shallot vinaigrette; rib eye with tater tots; Celebration Cake; marjolaine cake; napoleon crème brûlée.
Starters $10 to $22, entrées $27 to $39.
Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.
The Ritz-Carlton dining room long vacated by Maestro is now a plum-hued playpen for the area’s premier culinary artist, Michel Richard. The influences are many—Asian flavors, French bistro fare, American comfort food—all refracted through the prism of Richard’s witty mind.
Crabmeat-stuffed spring rolls look tossed off, but the construction is as intricate as a roulade; a bowl of pho-style broth with sablefish, shrimp, udon noodles, and a poached egg appears convoluted but speaks simply and directly. The setting provides a fitting stage for the food, and every accoutrement, from the water glasses that fit snugly in the hand to the flattened spoon provided with dessert, adds to the pampering.
Still, Michel isn’t yet the place it aspires to be. Open only since November, it could stand more fine tuning in the kitchen and in its service. The cost of dinner for two is about a third more than at Central, the chef’s DC bistro. And Michel lacks both Central’s informal conviviality and the high-gloss perfectionism of Richard’s fine-dining flagship in Georgetown, Citronelle. Our bet: The restaurant will make the necessary adjustments. It is, after all, a Michel Richard production.
Also good: Salmon terrine; crème brûlée napoleon.
Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for brunch. Expensive.