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Posted at 1:49 PM ET, 03/ 1/2011

New at Michel: simpler dishes and lower prices

By Tom Sietsema

Michel Richard and Levi Mezick confer at Michel in January. (Jeffrey MacMillan/ For The Washington Post)

Within the last month, Michel Richard has added more than a dozen dishes to Michel, his fledgling dining room in the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner. But they're not exactly new: Yellowtail carpaccio, bacon and onion tart and cheese ravioli, among other arrivals, all originated at Richard's popular bistro in Washington, Central Michel Richard.

Since Michel's debut in late October, diners have been letting the acclaimed French chef know they were "expecting something like Central" there, says Richard, who turns 63 Monday. So he recently scrapped some of his young restaurant's fancier food and replaced it with some of the reasons Central is so busy.

Think lobster burgers and fried chicken. (The new "Levi's burger" is a reference to Michel's executive chef, Levi Mezick.)

Reduced prices are part of Michel's game change. Originally, entrees ranged from $27 to $42; now main courses start at $16 and top off at $32. Early on, dinner checks at his first foray into the Washington suburbs averaged $100. These days, according to the restaurant, tabs hover around $75. And just two weeks ago, the hotel restaurant introduced a three-course express lunch for $21. Richard says the deal is "fast, simple. (Diners) don't have to think."

In other news, Richard says he is a week away from naming a replacement for Arthur Cavaliere, who left Central last month after only a year in the kitchen. Richard says he has three candidates in mind. One is already at the bistro, another is French-American and the third lives in France.

Let the guessing begin.

By Tom Sietsema  | March 1, 2011; 1:49 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  | Tags:  Tom Sietsema  
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Would that make it 3 chefs in just 4 years?

Posted by: emilymn | March 1, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

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