Arroz head chef Michael Rafidi has been making culinary waves in his native Washington since leaving RN74 in San Francisco for restaurateur Mike Isabella’s modern Spanish spot. His cooking helped land the eatery in Washingtonian’s top ten new restaurants of the year (on newsstands now), and gained high marks from critics around town. Now, Rafidi will take on another project as the executive chef at the forthcoming Requin at the Wharf from Isabella and business partner Jennifer Carroll.
Rafidi will maintain the same position at Arroz after Requin opens in early October, and oversee the menus at both restaurants. His approach will be similar across the board, creating elevated, modern French fare for the finer-dining Southwest waterfront venture; his last post at Michael Mina‘s French-accented steakhouse may come in handy. Though the name means “shark,” Isabella says diners can expect a balance of seafood and other reinvented French classics such as duck a l’orange and steak-frites, plus a large selection of cheeses, ample Champagnes, and at least one foie gras dish (Rafidi’s foie gras parfait with burnt honey and a warm ras al hanout doughnut has become a must-try dish at Arroz). The 120-seat restaurant will have an airy feel with 40-foot ceilings and a 40-seat patio ringed with fire pits and built-in heat lamps for extended waterfront dining.
After Requin opens at the Wharf, its sister location in Fairfax’s Mosaic District will transform into a more casual French concept, Requin Brasserie. Carroll has moved into a corporate role with les Requins, and will oversee both the DC and Virginia locations as well as developments at Requin Raw Bar. The latter is slated to open inside Isabella Eatery food hall at Tysons Corner Galleria in the fall.