More than a year after they were published, the lead sentences in Post food critic Tom Sietsema’s Michel review now seem prophetic: “Even some of his friends suggested that Tysons Corner was a poor location for Michel Richard’s chic third area restaurant.”
“No one will want to fight the suburb’s notorious traffic, they told the acclaimed French chef,” Sietsema continued in his review. “Fellow boldface culinary names — Bob Kinkead, Jonathan Krinn — had already tried and failed in Tysons Corner, the skeptics reminded him. And didn’t the intended site, the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner, home to the great, late Maestro, run counter to the way so many diners prefer to eat these days?”
Today, a spokeswoman for the celebrity chef confirmed that Richard will be closing the restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton hotel, effective after breakfast on Sunday. Richard declined immediately to comment on the closing.
It was a short run for Richard in the Tysons location. The chef opened Michel in the fall 2010, with former Jockey Club chef Levi Mezick leading the kitchen. About six months into the restaurant’s existence, Mezick was replaced by Jon Mathieson , former chef at Inox, which closed in May 2010.
Sietsema reviewed Michel before the chef change and awarded the restaurant 2 1/2 stars.
“Richard is one of the country’s finest chefs, but in these early months, not everything on the menu at Michel, the restaurant, upholds Michel, the artist,” Sietsema wrote. “For better or for worse, the guy is a perfectionist, constantly tinkering with his recipes and presentations. Add the stress of a hotel restaurant obligated to serve three meals a day, six days a week, and it’s a small wonder Mezick and his colleagues perform as well as they do.”
The timing of the closing is unfortunate for Richard. Earlier this week, the chef announced he was opening three new concepts in the forthcoming Revel, the 6.3 million-square-foot hotel and casino in Atlantic City.