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Jan 28, 2010 07:55 AM

Anyone try the Michel Richard menu at the National Gallery of Art?

It runs until 2/10, and includes a $19.75 buffet option.

I'm curious to try it but it's a bit of a hike for me so I'd appreciate any feedback (so I can adjust my expectations accordingly).

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  1. hey doh, like you, i read that it was to be there until feb. 10, 2010. (it was oddly a very short run for the menu, i thought at the time). i was soooo sad that i was not going to get down there because of the back to back blizzards.

    i thought, "well, maybe they extended the special richard menu just a week or so because of the blizzards."


    look!!!! the site now shows the michel richard menu is there at the cafe until february **2011***!!!


    1. Interesting how the menu downplays the Michel Richard angle.

      I wonder how they do the buffet, AYCE? I also wonder how gougeres turn out when they are not made to order.

      But it's great that the NGA is interested in providing an enhanced menu.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Steve

        I'm interested too. If anyone goes please report back.

        1. re: beauxgoris

          I just went, it was awesome! It is all-you-can-eat, which is pretty incredible. It's not a huge selection, but it really doesn't need to be, since the food is so great. The best dishes, in my opinion, were the pommes de terre (tiny potatoes w/ caramelized onions), the ratatouille, and coq au vin. They regularly replenished all the dishes (except the faux gras! I was so sad, the lady before me took the last one and they never filled it back up, I think they ran out. Either that or the lady took the entire portion meant for the whole buffet). Honestly, it was the best buffet I've ever had in my life- so far above usual "buffet" food.

          We did make one mistake, I hate, hate Valentine's Day, and didn't want anything to do with any Valentine's special, but I tried to have my husband just order a bottle of champagne (reasonably priced at $24), but I guess the waitress asked if he wanted "the special". He didn't know what the heck I wanted and pointed to the champagne I'd ask for, but that was probably the champagne that was part of the special so we ended up with "the special". Not even really sure what was in the special, because husband just grabbed the normal chocolate mousse that was part of the buffet- which he said was awesome. Waitress said we should have gotten the "special" dessert, not sure what that was, but she implied it was just a bigger, more "special" mousse. Anyway, I ended up getting the vanilla creme brulee which was great- could see the vanilla seeds throughout. And, a yellow rose, which I promptly forgot at the table when we left.

          So, unless you go today you probably won't have the "special" confusion we did, it is awesome. I would highly recommend it, such a good option when you're on the mall looking for some good food. And, even though I didn't get the faux gras- they gave complementary recipe cards at the end w/ the recipe, so I'm planning on making it myself tomorrow. All in all, a great option for the area.

      2. Thanks for the correction, alkapal, and for the report, mjhals! Sounds like it's definitely worth a visit.

        1. i can't wait to get there, once the snow clears (july?).

          3 Replies
          1. re: alkapal

            Yeah, tell me about it, the snow on the ground was still awful on Sunday, and my husband and I had the brilliant idea to walk there from Rosslyn. Pretty slow going, and I fell on my butt several times. The upside is that we were STARVING by the time we got there, so really got the most out of the buffet. We weren't sure if it was AYCE until my husband cleaned his plate in about 7 min (literally sparklying clean, mopped uo by a piece of bread) and a kindly buslady cleared his plate and told him to go get more! We were so excited!

            Also, just want to point out that it's in the Garden Cafe, the little cafe in the West Wing, not in the bigger cafeteria in the East Wing. Which is actually a lot nicer as you get table service for drinks and they clear your plates. It's certainly not the same experience as dinner at Central, but I think it's a good plan b if someone can't get reservations or doesn't want to spend $50+ for a meal. If you think about it $23 for all you can eat of Michel Richards foods is an incredible deal.

            1. re: mjhals

              Thanks for the review! I just might stop by sometime this weekend and have a nice lunch by myself after checking out the current temporary exhibits. Probably won't do the buffet, but after looking at the menu, the braised short ribs and creme brulee are calling me...

              1. re: mjhals

                the garden café is quite a charming location for a nice little lunch! you feel like you're in another "place" entirely -- a fantasy city, where life is slower, and people are nicer, and birds sing, water splashes, and the sculpture and foliage beckon <er, uh uh... back to business now>.

            2. I did manage to make it to the Garden Cafe this weekend. I got there right at opening (actually, before opening, while they were setting up the buffet) and it was nice and quiet. Since it was just me, I didn't try the buffet even though everything looked absolutely delicious. Will have to come back with someone so I can stuff my face accordingly. :o)

              I did try the braised short ribs with mashed potatoes and the creme brulee, both of which were great. Obviously pricey, since it's a museum cafe, but worth the splurge if you want a nice treat. The braised short ribs were so tender, but still had some bite to them (but not stringy at all). Mashed potatoes were average, but obviously made with real potatoes and a great compliment to the ribs. The bordelaise sauce on both the ribs and mashed potatoes was outstanding, and there was just enough to make the whole dish wonderful.

              The creme brulee was perfect. You know how some crappy ones are about the texture of jello? Not this one. Smooth and creamy throughout, tons of vanilla seeds, perfect caramelized sugar crust (not too burned, not just melted sugar, not too thick, not too thin)...I wanted more!

              Can't wait to go back and try the buffet offerings. My mouth was watering watching everyone else dig in while I waited for my dish!