Michel creating the "smoked salmon croquet madames" he is about to hand us.
I was fortunate to attend the “announcement party” at Central for Michel Richard’s new restaurant (tentatively named “Michel”) at the The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner (in the old Maestro space).
At the beginning of the event, I was (intentionally) positioned to watch Michel make some “small bites,” which he handed to the three of us. At one point, Michel was in the corner of the room surrounded by his staff. I wandered over into his tight group and started a conversation with him. I’d never met Michel before and was very impressed with him because he is personable, passionate, and expressive and makes people immediately feel comfortable. He is also funny: (spoken in a French accent) “I like cheeses that smell like my feet when my wife gives me foot rubs.”
Half of the time my gaze kept being drawn back to their house made charcuterie–intensely red cured hams, and salamis sitting right in front of me on the meat slicers. $22 for a charcuterie plate (from their lunch menu).
I skipped the two mushroom dishes (due to an allergy) but one diner told me that a mushroom dish was the best thing she had that night. Everything I had was tasty, but my favorite was the croquet madame, of which I had several; the cheese, black bread, and salmon in the teeny sandwiches were an amazing combination. The deviled eggs were great but they did have (raw) meat in them! Yum! I tried the two red wines, and both were good but I preferred the tempranillo (the heavier wine). Below is a list of what we were served.
I HAD to take a picture of the charcuterie.
Bailly Lapierre, Crémant De Bourgogne, Blanc de Blancs, France 2007 – (Chardonnay)
Bourgogne Blanc, Michel Richard, Domaine Maillard, Burgundy, France 2007 – ( Chardonnay)
Domaine Coteau De La Biche, Vouvray, Loire, France 2008 – (Chennin Blanc)
Bodegas Muaurodos, Prima, Tora , Spain 2006 – (Tempranillo)
Frederic Mabileau, St Nicolas de Bourgueil, Loire, France 2006 – (Cabernet Franc)
Mushroom croquet monsieur – duxelle of mushrooms, Swiss cheese, whole wheat bread
Smoked salmon croquet madame – smoked salmon, Swiss cheese, black bread
Gougeres (cheese puffs) – gruyere and parmesan cheese
Mushroom Tarts – mushrooms and gruyere cheese
Deviled steak & eggs – hard boiled eggs stuffed with beef tartar