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Posted at 5:00 PM ET, 10/18/2010

A Date for Michel: October 26

By Justin Rude

Michel Richard and Levi Mezick, the men behind Michel.

If he can work out a few kinks in his new restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner, Michel Richard says he might open Michel as early as Friday for hotel guests and start accepting reservations from the general public beginnning October 26. The celebrated French chef announced the news earlier today from the sweeping exhibition kitchen he inherited from Fabio Trabocchi and the late Maestro.

How does Michel compare to all the other places Richard has launched over the years? "It's gorgeous. The dream of my life. The most beautiful restaurant I've opened," the chef says of the gray- and burgundy-hued dining room. Among its attractions are a six-foot stack of plates, lit from within, and circles in the ceiling that change color.

Richard has hired Levi Mezick, late of the Jockey Club in Washington, to execute a bistro menu that borrows a little from both Michel Richard Citronelle and Central Michel Richard, the maestro's hot spots in the city. Dinner entrees at Michel will average $28 and run to duck a l' orange, veal cheeks blanquette and John Dory with chardonnay sauce.

The hold-ups to opening his third area restaurant are mostly minor: an unfinished wine room, some lighting issues and a weak hood in that open kitchen. "I don't want it to look like in London, with the fog," jokes Richard.

When asked how he'd be dividing his time, Richard replied, "Five minutes here, five minutes there, five minutes there. I don't know." (Pause.) "I'm going to call Wolfgang Puck" -- the California chef with dozens of restaurants to his credit -- "and have him tell me how to do it."

--Tom Sietsema

By Justin Rude  | October 18, 2010; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  | Tags:  restaurant openings  
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