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February 21, 2012 
Michel Richard Closes One Door, Opens Three

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Michel Richard's Tysons Corner restaurant Michel at the Ritz-Carlton closed for good Sunday, a little over a year after opening. The news came just days after the chef announced plans to open three new restaurants at the Revel resort in Atlantic City.
Michel Richard
We broke the news of the restaurant's shutter early Saturday morning. Michel declined to comment, and Ritz-Carlton general manager Mark Sherwin told us "I wish I knew... We're just the landlord" when asked about reasons for the closure. The restaurant didn't have the smoothest run: It changed chefs after six months and dropped lunch service in September. When we interviewed Michel about the bistro last February, he joked about its hard-to-reach location. "The access to my restaurant is almost impossible... It's a dream to be able to reach Michel in Tysons Corner. You take your car and six months later you reach the restaurant," he said. "Maybe it would be easier to use a helicopter to reach the restaurant." No word yet as to what will replace the Michel space.
Revel resort
The good news for Michel is that he's setting up shop at an even swankier hotel. The 6.3 million sq. ft. Revel resort and casino in Atlantic City, set to open in May, will host three Michel concepts: a version of Central, The Breakfast Room, and O Bistro and Wine Bar. The Breakfast Room will be just that—a place to grab omelets, corned beef hash, or French toast creme brule. O Bistro will feature a 25-seat circular bar and large windows overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. (The name "O" is meant to represent "eau," the French word for water.) The bistro will serve "trendy cocktails," small plates like potato chip nachos and chicken wings, and larger dishes ranging from roasted chicken to lobster rolls. The menu will also be available pool-side. "It's the first time in my life that I'm going to be able to serve food to ladies in bikinis," Michel says in a promo video for the restaurants. Ironically, that promo video was filmed inside Michel in Tysons Corner.

Top Chef Alum to Open Seafood Spot
Jason Cote and Emily Sprissler
Emily Sprissler has kept a relatively low profile since she appeared on season 2 of Top Chef in 2006. Now, she and chef husband Jason Cote are opening a casual seafood-centric restaurant called Mayfair & Pine in the former Town Hall space in Glover Park. Emily started at Vidalia then moved to San Francisco for culinary school, where she met Jason. "Pine" is the street in San Fran where they lived (this photo is from that time), and "Mayfair" is the London neighborhood where they honeymooned. Emily worked in a Basque restaurant and other seafood-centric spots in San Fran before moving to Vegas, where she and Jason worked at Nobhill at the MGM Grand. It was then that she appeared on Top Chef, only to pack her knives and go after the third episode. After a stint at Shibuya Japanese Restaurant, Emily had a son in 2008. The recession hit the Vegas dining scene hard, so Emily and Jason returned to Virginia where they have family. They worked for Wegmans before deciding a year ago it was time to open their own place.
Emily Sprissler
Mayfair & Pine, set to open in mid-to-late April, will combine Emily and Jason's seafood training in SF with the friendliness and simplicity of a neighborhood British pub. The restaurant will feature regional sustainable seafood and dishes like fish and lobster pot pies as well as sauteed cod, halibut, or sea bass prepared simply with butter and lemon. Among the non-seafood dishes will be a "Thanksgiving sandwich" made with stuffing as bread and mashed potatoes and turkey inside. The couple doesn't plan to make many changes to the Town Hall space, mostly just some new paint for now. Though its been six years since Top Chef, Emily tells us that every once in a while when an old episode airs, people still recognize her. "Hopefully now, they'll recognize me for the restaurant."

Meat, Knives, Beer
Carving Room
A new "deli gastropub" called Carving Room is coming to 300 Massachusetts Ave., NW. The neighborhood bar and restaurant will serve house-cured, hand-carved sandwiches including corned beef, pastrami, leg of lamb, and more. "We're trying to bring deli to DC, but we're trying to do it in a different way," says owner Oded Weizmann. This is the first restaurant for Oded, a culinary school grad who's been a manager at Silver Diner in Rockville, BD's Mongolian Barbecue in Bethesda, and most recently the restaurant group that runs Buffalo Billiards, Rocket Bar, and CarPool. The 55-seat space (plus patio) will have an open kitchen with meat carvers up front and a bar with ten taps serving East Coast beers. Oded calls the look he's going for "urban retro" with tables made of reclaimed bleacher seats. Carving Room will be a quick service place during weekday lunch and transform into a full service restaurant at night and on weekends. Oded hopes to open by late summer.

Bandolero Pop-Up
Chef Mike Isabella flanked by O.A.R. band members Richard On and Marc Roberge
Mike Isabella previewed his forthcoming modern Mexican eatery, Bandolero, with a pop-up restaurant last week. It's the first of many pop-ups that will be staged at Living Social's new event venue, which (as we reported last month) will also be a destination for athletic, educational, artistic, and culinary classes. We were invited to check out the new building (918 F St., NW) and try out the Bandolero menu Sunday evening. We snapped the Graffiato chef with O.A.R. band members Richard On and Marc Roberge, who were on hand to perform. And, yes, they still play Crazy Game of Poker.
Bandolero pop-up food
Back to the food: "I love margaritas, and I love tacos," Mike Isabella tells us. Both will figure prominently on the Bandolero menu. One of Mike's favorite dishes is a crunchy mahi mahi taco fried in day-old tortilla chips and made to look like a fish stick. Above are other dishes Mike is playing with: lamb picadillo sopes with chipotle goat cheese, blue crab coconut milk taquitos, spicy pork meatballs, and corn and potato empanadas. The drink menu will have an extensive margarita selection including classic drinks recreated with tequila and mezcal. Hungry? You'll have to wait a while longer. The Georgetown restaurant won't open until later this spring, though no official opening date has been set yet. Check out more photos from the pop-up on our Facebook page.

Got a hot new tip? Send restaurant news and story ideas to Dining Editor Jessica Sidmandining@bisnow.com.

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