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Apr 3, 2009 02:03 PM

That's It! This has got to stop.

From the Post blog today. The most beuatiful and elegant dining room in the city will close this month. Where is left for a gentleman to eat in this town!

From Willard Room to Private Room
The Willard InterContinental Hotel announced yesterday that, as of April 13, its grand fine-dining space, The Willard Room, will no longer operate primarily as a stand-alone restaurant. The room will become a venue for private events of up to 175 people. The public will only be able to dine at the restaurant during Sunday brunch and special occasions like Easter and Mother's Day.

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  1. Jesus... I have never eaten here, but always loved the space it would be such a grand place to eat dinner. I guess to late now, except Easter or other places when I try to avoid that area altogether. Between this and Le Paradou that couple of blocks is losing a lot of very classy dining spaces.

    6 Replies
    1. re: ktmoomau

      Well I have eaten there and was not impressed -- had to chase down the waiter for my drink, had to send back cold fish. Rest in peace.

      1. re: ktmoomau

        I'd like to think that I'm not part of the problem and more part of the solution but perhaps not this time, not for this particular place. I have only been to Le Paradou once in Decemeber 2007 to celebrate my 4 year Wedding Anniversary and haven't returned, but it wasn't beacuse we didn't enjoy our dinner, because we certainly did. We thought it was supperb! Perhaps diners more often than not go to fine dining establishments like Le Paradou mostly on special occasions and want to try a new place each time.
        Chef, Yannick Cam said that "Business dropped 30 percent" from last year...the landlord didn't want to renegotiate" on more favorable terms and "it's hard to find staff" familiar with the demands of such a restaurant.

        Chef Cam says that he's already thinking about opening a more casual French restaurant, much more informal than Le Paradou. Possible locations he says could be McLean and the Palisades neighborhood in Northwest Washington.

        Le Paradou
        601 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC

        1. re: DiningInDC

          In my opinion, Le Paradou is D.C.'s finest, bar none. But it is never hard to get a reservation there -- as it is with other equally expensive restaurants, such as Citronelle and Cityzen. I think there is one reason: Location. The address in the post above is wrong. It's at 678 Indiana Avenue. The only people who even know where that is are lawyers who practice in D.C. Superior Court. And those are the only people who would ever walk by it or drive by it. If it were elsewhere, it would be much more successful -- but that does not include the Palisades or McLean, where Kam's cooking would be wasted.

          1. re: mnadel

            I hear what your saying, but I am not sure it's that. That location is pretty well known as the old home of BIce and then Maloney and Porcini (or something like that).

            Somehow Cam must have just not played the game. He got no press whatsoever. Richard and Ziebolt(? guy at Citizen/) have national recognition. Buben and Armstrong and Ruta and and Grey and Monies and Kinkead and the guy at DC Coast seem to get their mugs on the cover of some DC rag for some nomination (Beard, Rammy, etc) virtually every month. They are constantly commented on by the blogs and the City Paper and the Post and the Washingtonian. They hosted events and attended events. I only follow it casually, but it seems Cam's name was never mentioned. There was not buzz.

            1. re: Pappy

              I was thinking about this... my first thoughts were that maybe it was because Le Paradou opened before the DC dining scene became a "scene", but Michel Richard was, as well, but then again not Central. Would he still have the "it" factor without Central? I dunno, I see a lot of people eating at Central... high name politicos, business people, so I just don't know.

              But I don't think he ever got much press for how good the food was...
              I do think that it was a gem that just never quite caught on. I actually really liked the clean dining room, a lot like a lighter Bistro Bis in a good way, sometimes I don't like the over the top decor like at Marcel's it is cute there because it is so small. I really liked Le Paradou, it even performed on a special occasion, NYE.

            2. re: mnadel

              Why would his cooking be wasted in the Palisades or McLean?

        2. A gentleman can still dine at 1789 and The Prime Rib. But this is still quite sad. Their Sunday brunch was a DC classic. (Ate there last year for Mother's Day).

          1. The original comment has been removed
              1. re: ktmoomau

                Add it to the list of where gentlemen can eat? Or the list of restaurants that are closing??

                1. re: theoneontheleft

                  Places that are closing...but see my note below.

                2. re: ktmoomau

                  Farrah Olivia has great visuals and OK taste, but the dining is not quite stellar.

                  1. re: Jacey

                    All very sad. But overall I think we are doing far better then other cities that see restaurants closing every week.

                    And from what I understand Farrah Olivia is only closing in order for the chef to open a new restaurant in Crystal City and then he will relocate F.A. to DC.

                    1. re: Elyssa

                      Balducci's new owner chose not to renew their lease, which is the only reason they are closing. The kitchen at the new place in CC will be run by his brother but he is helping to open the restaurant.

                      1. re: pineapple sage

                        I heard the entire chain was bought out- this was said by the manager of the Balduccis in CT.