“Michele’s, new French-American restaurant, will open at The Eaton DC on November 3”

1201 K Street, NW. Photo by Ted Eytan

Check out the menu here.

From a press release:

“Chef Matt Baker of Gravitas and 101 Hospitality Group today announced that Michele’s, Baker’s new French-American restaurant, will open its doors at The Eaton DC on November 3. Named after his late mother, Baker pays homage to his French heritage and upbringing in Houston and New Orleans at Michele’s, where he brings the multicultural flavor profiles of the two American culinary centers to the Nation’s Capital. The chef’s classical French training, his New American cooking style, hometown influences, and signature panache come together to create a bright, eclectic French American menu, where fresh, local seafood and seasonal produce take center stage.

courtesy Michele’s

“From top to bottom, raw bar to dessert, Michele’s is the culmination of my personal and professional journeys, it tells my story of what influenced me that made me a chef,” said Chef Matt Baker. “I fell in love with food and cooking in my mother’s and grandmother’s kitchens in Houston and New Orleans. I hope to honor both cities, which have been deep personal influences on me, with their rich culinary histories and vibrant cultures, and I wanted to honor those traditions and my roots at Michele’s.”

Chef Baker draws from the traditional flavor profiles and seasonings of his southern upbringing, his classic French training, to create new-look French brasserie dishes, executed in the same fine dining experience honed at Gravitas, Baker’s MICHELIN-starred Ivy City tasting room. This takes shape in family-style dishes like a free-range chicken presented whole, but prepared three ways – with a roasted breast, braised thighs, and crispy fried legs. Tacos al pastor, omnipresent in Houston, are reimagined as a crudo in Hamachi Al Pastor, with a delicate tajin crust featuring pineapple, guajillo dressing, and avocado mousse. Baker’s penchant for vegetable-driven dining is not typical of traditional French restaurants, but menu items like Celery Root “Tatin,” a play on Apple Tarte Tatin, makes a strong case for their inclusion and sets Michele’s apart from other D.C. French brasseries and bistros.

The menu at Michele’s will include an expansive raw bar with stunning seafood towers, classic caviar service and a menu of crudos, tartars, and ceviche to be featured next to locally sourced oysters. An 18-20 course omakase menu served at the raw bar will launch soon after opening.

Baker tapped Andrew Cleverdon to help bring his vision to life as Chef de Cuisine. Cleverdon brings with him Michelin cooking experience from his time at the late Siren as well as time spent leading the kitchen at Bourbon Steak.

Pastry Chef Aisha Momaney brings her culinary expertise, crafting sweet dessert dishes like a decadent Sour Cream Cheesecake, a stunning Illanka Chocolate Mousse, and a playful Banana Fosters Ice Cream Sundae. “My focus was combining Chef Baker’s childhood favorites with whimsical notes from New Orleans, while keeping things seasonal,” said Momaney. “And most importantly, these are treats you’ll want to share with your loved ones.”

Located on the ground floor of The Eaton DC, Michele’s will initially be open Wednesday through Sunday for dinner service — featuring heated outdoor dining options — with weekend brunch and dinner to follow later this winter.

Baker played a role in curating an expansive wine list featuring a broad selection of natural, biodynamic wines, alongside French classics to complement his eclectic yet classic food menu. An innovative cocktail program developed by Beverage Manager Judy Elahi blends perfectly executed classic cocktails with original takes on traditional French tipples.

The Space

The 3,000 square-foot, 124-seat interior features 54 seats in the dining room, a 10-seat raw bar, and 60 seats throughout the bar area with a mix of traditional bar, high-top, and lounge seating. D.C.-based interior architecture and interiors firm Natalie Park Design Studio led the design behind Michele’s. Working off the space’s existing elements, cobalt blue and neon pink brand colors are incorporated throughout the dining room with new artwork by local artists Naomi Whitestone and Emon Surakitkoson commissioned by Baker. A double-sided glass wine display showcasing the restaurant’s extensive wine collection separates the dining room from the bar. Park designed a custom raw bar adorned with textured walnut wood and a deep-veined blue marble top with brushed brass accents. Diners seated at the raw bar will be able to view a selection of fresh seafood while being served by the chefs. An additional 32-seat, partially enclosed streetery is being constructed with heating and cooling for all-weather outdoor dining and will debut later this year.”

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