Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Michel Richard's Citronelle


vengroff
 Share

Recommended Posts

Wow, great report, Charles and a fitting one for a truly great restaurant. this was very reminiscent of my truly outstanding meal there last spring. The "Caviar" and lobster is a sensational dish and one of the best I have ever had. I am not aware of anyone cooking at a higher level than this restaurant in this era. Mark's skills with wine are equally exceptional.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

My son decided he wanted to go to Citronelle for his birthday so I made the reservation and started saving up.

Dinner was, in a word, WOW. The dining room is elegant and rich, with sparkling glasses on the table and comfortable chairs (thank goodness). We were placed on one of the higher levels with an excellent view right into the kitchen.

After starting with an Amuse Boche that I can't start to describe other than to say it was wonderful, for my first course I had the lobster "Begula Pasta." The presentation of the Begula Pasta is something to see. The dish, served in a 'caviar' tin, is pearl pasta cooked with squid ink under which is hidden a poached egg, toasted brioche, hollandaise, and lobster meat. Everyone agreed it was out of this world. My son had the Mosaic "surf and turf" carpachio. Thin, vibrantly colored glass-like circles of fish, vegetable, and meats are artistically arranged on a plate (he really liked the eel and the venison). Drizzled with a basil infused oil with capers, bits of orange, it was a work of art that was even more delicious to the tongue than the eye. My wife had the diver scallops, with cauliflower couscous and egg porcupine. They literally melted in your mouth.

Entrees were the colorado rack of lamb with soft polenta, sunchoke endamame, and garlic herb sauce for Jthe kid. The lamb was perfectly cooked medium rare, and the bone literally slid out of the meat. He was in heaven.

I had the venison, slices of perfectly medium-rare loin with freshly cracked blacked pepper were served with chestnut risotto, absolutely wonderful tiny (really tiny) brussels sprouts, and a celeriac-red wine (syrah) sauce. Every bite was a joy.

But my wife had the dish of the night. Sablefish with a leek brandade and potato gratin. It was so rich and flavorful that you had to put down your fork after every bite to savor it. It literally melted in your mouth with a burst of flavor that was almost orgasmic.

Dessert was a wonderful orange souffle for my wife, served with a rich, buttery caramal sauce with a side of whipped cream, spiced grapefruit, and something else that she did not let me taste. My son had the Chocolate Mushroom Vacherin, a whimsical mushroom treat I can't even begin to understand how it was made, but it was huge, full of chocolate and he loved it.

I had the Breakfast at Citronelle and I wish I had a camera. The dessert is composed of a cappuccino, home fries, toasted brioche with butter, bacon strips, and an egg sunny side up. The presentation is truly a work of art and each item makes you stop and think. The home fries are cubes of apples with raspberry sauce and the toast is pound cake with a small scoop of ice cream as the butter. The egg was flavored cream cheese with an apricot puree yolk, and the bacon strips of crispy pastry. Coffee for my wife and I, and tea for my son ended the meal.

I also must thank Mark Slater (the sommelier) for a wonderful evening. He is nothing short of the cosumate professional. We know each other from DonRockwell.com, and it was fun to finally meet him in person. He paired the wines with our meal perfectly. After confirming what my tastes were, he recommended several Burgandys in several price ranges. At his recommendation we ordered a 2000 Domaine du Château Chorey Beaune Les Teurons 1er Cru to start the meal. My wife raised her eyebrows a bit when I ordered a Burgandy (she knows I really love the big RRV type Pinot Noirs) but she loved the wine. When the entrees were ready to arrive, I asked him for something to pair with the lamb and venison. Again, a short discussion about tastes, and I let my son choose whether he wanted a French Syrah or an Aussie Shiraz. Once he said he wanted something from "down under" Mark recommended a 2002 Torbreck "The Steading" and once again, was dead on. What a wonderful blend of Shiraz, Grenache, and Mourvèdre. Medium-bodied, surprisingly restrained and in perfect balance. Flavorful and delicious with flavors of crushed herbs, licorice, black raspberry and other black fruits. My son loved it and even my wife, who usually does not like Aussie wines loved it. And Mark's stories were sidespliting. He also made sure the service we received was first rate. I have to say a big thank you so much Mark, you made Jake's birthday dinner special.

A three course dinner is $85 a person with an upcharge for the lamb ($10) and the Breakfast at Citronelle ($5). The service was out of this world, inobtrusive, efficient, and always friendly. Warm bread (made by BreadLine here in DC) was always replaced, water glasses were always full, and while never rushed, when you finished, the plate disappeared. All in all, a first class experience all the way around. The food, the wine, the service, the restaurant, all Premier Crü.

Last thing. I hate when I order wine at restaurant and am told that they are out of that wine or that vintage. It never happens at Citronelle. Mark updates his list daily and if they don't have it in the cellar, it doesn't go on the list.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Looks like Citronelle is backdrop to a minor political fluff-up: a $2800 dinner -- the defense contractor and the Congressperson now seeking a Senate seat.

Story here.

It's always harder to connect with the common man when he's asking himself how the hell can you spend a month's salary (his salary, anyway) on dinner two.

"It is not clear what the cost of each meal was, but the fixed-price menu at Citronelle ranges from $85 to $150 per person. The restaurant carries wines that range in price from $30 to $5,500 per bottle. Wade's favorite wine, according to a restaurant employee who knows him, was a $1,000 a bottle French Bordeaux."

C'mon Mark, dish: what's the Bordeaux that's worth a thousand dollars and a Senate seat?

Also, is "French Bordeaux" more expensive than the other kinds? :laugh:

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

The Washington Post Magazine had a long and insightful piece on one of America's best French Chef's, Michel Richard, yesterday. The article's author, April Witt, will be taking questions on-line at 2PM Eastern (U.S.). Questions can be submitted now.

Also note the many quotes offered up by Washington's best sommelier and eGullet contributor Mark Slater (Marksommelier).

The article is well worth a read.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great article. It really provided a wonderfully in depth view of the man and his food. i very much relished the opportunity to sit down and have a glass of champagne with him when I dined there in 2005. He is a very charming and gracious man in addition to being a truly extraordinary chef. It will be interesting to see what becomes of the situation with negotiating with the new ownership of the hotel. If they are smart they will keep Chef Richard very happy.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great article. It really provided a wonderfully in depth view of the man and his food. i very much relished the opportunity to sit down and have a glass of champagne with him when I dined there in 2005. He is a very charming and gracious man in addition to being a truly extraordinary chef. It will be interesting to see what becomes of the situation with negotiating with the new ownership of the hotel. If they are smart they will keep Chef Richard very happy.

Doc,

After reading this article I remembered you mentioned being there and tried in vain to find your report. Did you happen to post one?

Robert R

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great article. It really provided a wonderfully in depth view of the man and his food. i very much relished the opportunity to sit down and have a glass of champagne with him when I dined there in 2005. He is a very charming and gracious man in addition to being a truly extraordinary chef. It will be interesting to see what becomes of the situation with negotiating with the new ownership of the hotel. If they are smart they will keep Chef Richard very happy.

Doc,

After reading this article I remembered you mentioned being there and tried in vain to find your report. Did you happen to post one?

Robert, you can find it here.. Unfortunately, I actually forgot to bring my camera that evening and so didn't have any photos. It was a marvelous meal.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wanted to visit Citronelle when my wife and I will be in DC during labor day weekend. Not surprisingly, opentable says they are sold out and the Chef's table needs a minimum of 6 people :sad: .

Does anyone know if they hold tables for specific hotels/concierge? Anyone have a reservation that weekend with an opening for 2? :wink:

ETA: If luck is not on my side, are there other restaurants that you could recommend in the DC/Georgetown area?

Cheers

Percy

Edited by percyn (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
Lobster Burgers are back!

... of course they are, I'm not living in D.C. anymore... :hmmm: Y'all enjoy 'em for me!! :wink:

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

Without outing anyone, I know at least two people on eG who would, if given a choice between Citronelle and the French Laundry, would pick the former.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Citronelle is considered by many, including the major food writers, to be the best restaurant in DC, which is a very good restaurant town. I have never had a meal there that was not first rate. They also have an excellent wine list, if somewhat expensive. But it is a dining experience that is well worth the money and everyone should be so lucky as to be able to eat there at least once. Having never been to the French Laundry I cannot compare it, but it is easily the equal of if not superior to dining at Per Se or Restaurant Daniel in NY.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i consider them different but equal. and there is no higher praise i can give.

Indeed. I should have been clear that I was not claiming Citronelle was better than the French Laundry. Rather, I wanted to make the point that Richard is an extaordinary talent -- just giving a shout-out for my homie, as I'm not sure DC chefs get the national attention they have earned. Citronelle is sufficiently different in style from TFL that which one a person prefers is a question of personal preference, not one being "better" than the other.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
I'll be in DC late March and will have dinner there. Are there any other places that I should visit?

I inadvertantly deleted dinwiddie's reply, which I reproduce here:

Maestro in the Ritz-Carlton in Tyson's Corner VA (right outside DC)

Palena on Connecticutt Ave next to the Cleveland Park METRO stop.

Marcel's in Foggy Bottom/West End of DC

Komi on 17th St near Dupont Circle.

Those ought to keep you satisfied for fine dining.

Otherwise, you must hit the good Ethiopian Restaurants in DC. I recommend Etete on 9th St. and Dukem on U Street in little Ethiopia.

To his excellent selections, I would add -- if you are in a top-dollar mode -- CityZen and -- if in a mid-dollar mode -- Cashion's Eat place, a less formal establishment where I just had a wonderful meal, with a write-up to come tomorrow.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

"I'll be in DC late March and will have dinner there. Are there any other places that I should visit?"

How much time do you have?

Citronelle is a climax of a starting point, in my opinion. Everywhere you eat for weeks after Citronelle just won't even phase your palette.

busboy is dead on- CityZen is a wise choice. Chef Eric Ziebold is doing a lot of cool stuff.

Also...

Colorado Kitchen- make reservations. Its a tiny restaurant, only open half the week, and seats quick. Great food. Don't let the humble atmosphere deceive you- this is good food.

Colvin Run Tavern - Kinkead's place at Tyson's. Really good, not cheap, but again, really good.

Any of the Black Restaurant Group establishments are going to be winners- Addie's in Rockville MD, Black's in Bethesda, Black Salt on MacArthur blvd, or Black Market somewhere in MD haha.

If you're gonna be in DC you have to go by at least one of Jose Andres' places.

Check out Bread Line- its cheap, and popular for good reason.

but, back to topic. Citronelle... In the introduction of "Happy in the Kitchen," by Chef Richard, Thomas Keller notes to himself "Why didn't I think of that?" while reading Richard's recipes. That makes a point.

I think the difference in the two restaurants are the motivation for the chefs- Keller seems to strive for perfection, Richard seems to want to play until something is perfect. Richard's dishes reveal a playful genius, a sense of humor... Keller's reveal exactness and stringent technique. Equally valuable, just different.

To understand "what he does that is so good," you need to check out his book. It speaks volumes about not just his style of food but the way he thinks. He's outside the box- way outside. He's not using quail eggs, hes making fake eggs. He's not just searing and roasting, he's poaching and then searing. If the kitchen were black and white he'd be color.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I'll be in DC late March and will have dinner there. Are there any other places that I should visit?"

How much time do you have?

Citronelle is a climax of a starting point, in my opinion. Everywhere you eat for weeks after Citronelle just won't even phase your palette.

busboy is dead on- CityZen is a wise choice. Chef Eric Ziebold is doing a lot of cool stuff.

Also...

Colorado Kitchen- make reservations. Its a tiny restaurant, only open half the week, and seats quick. Great food. Don't let the humble atmosphere deceive you- this is good food.

Colvin Run Tavern - Kinkead's place at Tyson's. Really good, not cheap, but again, really good.

Any of the Black Restaurant Group establishments are going to be winners- Addie's in Rockville MD, Black's in Bethesda, Black Salt on MacArthur blvd, or Black Market somewhere in MD haha.

If you're gonna be in DC you have to go by at least one of Jose Andres' places.

Check out Bread Line- its cheap, and popular for good reason.

but, back to topic. Citronelle... In the introduction of "Happy in the Kitchen," by Chef Richard, Thomas Keller notes to himself "Why didn't I think of that?" while reading Richard's recipes. That makes a point.

I think the difference in the two restaurants are the motivation for the chefs- Keller seems to strive for perfection, Richard seems to want to play until something is perfect. Richard's dishes reveal a playful genius, a sense of humor... Keller's reveal exactness and stringent technique. Equally valuable, just different.

To understand "what he does that is so good," you need to check out his book. It speaks volumes about not just his style of food but the way he thinks. He's outside the box- way outside. He's not using quail eggs, hes making fake eggs. He's not just searing and roasting, he's poaching and then searing. If the kitchen were black and white he'd be color.

Let's see: I'm wondering how I could include an article I wrote about Chef Michel Richard of Citronelle. How do I do that? Yes, I got the book of Michel when I went to his demonstration at The Masters of Food and Wine....anina

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...