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Posted at 5:16 PM ET, 10/27/2010

Rustico, Michel openings and celebrity chefs in town

By Justin Rude

It's been a busy week of restaurant news already. Here's the scoop on the opening of a new Rustico location and Michel, along with your chance to win a dinner with a dream team of celebrity chefs.

The Neighborhood Restaurant Group's second Rustico location is now open in Ballston. Like the original, the new location has a dizzying selection of ales, lagers, ciders and stouts. Executive Chef Steve Mannino, who currently runs the kitchen at the Alexandria location, also leads the more spacious 260-seat Arlington spot. If the press tasting I attended last week was any indication, the rich and delicious truffled cous cous carbonara and intriguing Pineland farmer's strip loin should be on your must-eat list.

Farther west on 66, the doors have opened at another restaurant of note: local luminary Michel Richard's third area restaurant, Michel. As Tom Sietsema reported, Levi Mezick, formerly of the Jockey Club, is heading the kitchen. Right now, Michel is open for breakfast and dinner, but Sunday brunch service is planned to start on Nov. 14 and lunch on Nov. 15. The menu's description of the sablefish "Phaux Pho, with horseradish and ravioli and ribeye with garlic-parsley sauce and cheese tater tots have already made me jealous of the early diners.

Next month, former Vidalia chef R.J. Cooper makes an appearance on "Iron Chef America." Cooper will be the first opponent to face the winner of the current series "The Next Iron Chef." Cooper's team will be made up of locals, including Harper McClure (chef de cuisine at his not-yet-opened Rogue 24), and pastry-chef (and Bayou Bakery owner) David Guas. The episode will air at 10 p.m. on Nov. 28.

The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C. and DC Central Kitchen are teaming up to offer a one-in-a-lifetime dinner to support the local charity. The meal is a family-style feast in the hotel's Ritz-Carlton Suite with the guest lineup of Eric Ripert, Tom Colicchio and Jose Andres, and it will take place Nov. 10, the night before DC Central Kitchen's signature fundraiser, Capital Food Fight. The only requirement to winning seats at this star-studded meal is deep pockets; bidding starts at $10,000. Bidding only lasts another 19 hours, so get out your credit card and hit up the Ebay page.

In other celebrity chef news, Patrick and Gina Neely will be in town for Howard Homecoming's Kraft Foods Huddle to Fight Hunger campaign. The kitchen couple will be hosting a meet-and-greet during a tailgate event before the 1 p.m. game, taking pictures with fans, answering questions and trying to covert visitors to the Huddle to Fight Hunger cause.

--Justin Rude

By Justin Rude  | October 27, 2010; 5:16 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  
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