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Charting Panache’s Changes, Including Adding a Michelin-Starred Belgian Chef and a New Name

Big-money renos and big-name chefs

Panache will soon be Le DeSales
Philip H./Yelp

Panache, on DeSales Street NW, is going through some major changes. Not only has its owner — Aziz Safi — spent “hundreds of thousands of dollars” on a high-end interior renovation. Panache has also added a new chef with major Michelin recognition. Oh, and it’s got a new name: Le DeSales.

Panache closed its doors in August of 2016, though the idea was to undergo a renovation. That it did. When Le DeSales (re)opens later this month, patrons will see some definite shifts, from an interior with plenty of reclaimed wood and bar seating space to a completely revamped menu, helmed by someone with a rather impressive résumé: Raphael Francois

Francois, a chef born and raised in Belgium, was previously at Hélène Darroze, a London-based restaurant that was awarded two stars by Michelin. Francois has also logged time at Le Cirque in New York. Most recently, he was working at London’s Launceton Place.

The menu under Francois will certainly be different. Instead of the Mediterranean vibe that defined Panache, Francois is leaning French (and of course, Belgian.) And sorry, but sharable plates — which the team claims will be larger than tapas — will probably be on said menu.