Upon its return from summer break, Michel has announced new hours that pretty conspicuously eliminate the restaurant's lunch service altogether. Big-name French chef Michel Richard opened the restaurant less than a year ago in the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner space that has foiled many a chef — everyone loved Maestro, but even that bit the dust. So does this news mean the restaurant is in trouble? Both of DC's big critics tackled the subject in their online chats this week and came to very different conclusions that are worth pondering.
The Washingtonian's Todd Kliman isn't surprised to hear the news, nor does he think it a bad omen for the restaurant's future: "I think what it signals is, a restaurant trying to streamline what it does, put the focus where it matters most — dinner — and in this way, develop greater consistency. Three courses for $20 — for food of that caliber — is a sure money-loser for them. It's also surely a labor-waster, too."
Meanwhile, the news worries Tom Sietsema: "Uh oh. I didn't know that. I think it was a huge gamble for Michel Richard to take on that hotel space in the middle of a recession, just as I think it's odd for him to open in Las Vegas with a 24/7 spin on Central. The great chef needs better advisors."
It's not so unusual for these two to disagree, but one can only hope that Kliman is right this time.
Michel [Photo: Ling Ling L./Yelp]