Contact: Anthony HesseliusLinda Roth Associates, Inc.
Phone: (703) 417-2703
RIS Set to Open
Washington, D.C. (November 30, 2009) — For chef/owner Ris Lacoste, co-owner Mitchell Herman, and the talented restaurant team, there is much to celebrate in Washington’s West End. RIS (2275 L Street, NW; 202.730.2500), Lacoste’s signature neighborhood café, will open its doors on Monday, December 7 in the heart of the neighborhood, offering guests personalized dining experiences with farm fresh seasonal American cuisine, set against the backdrop of an artisan gallery.
“I’m excited to be back coaching my staff, welcoming my guests with delicious food, and presenting an ambiance to make them happy,” notes chef and owner Ris Lacoste.
RIS has 240 seats in eight unique spaces designed to accommodate the everyday diner. Guests are greeted at the L Street entrance by myriad shades of straw surrounded by slate floors, granite tops, and limestone walls. The sizeable Bar offers a place to relax with three mounted flat screen televisions, a series of high-backed chairs and a row of sociable tables, perfect for watching the State of the Union or the New England Patriots. Set before floor-to-ceiling windows framing downtown D.C. is a picturesque Café sheltered by warm fabric sconces and a wall of glass-art kitchen doors, with complimentary wi-fi.
Following the length of the restaurant are three seating areas. The Lounge is perfect for informal parties, a casual meal, or cocktails. Over a stretch of variegated black and straw leafed carpet opens the aptly named Living Room, a casual, central space, sibling to the more formal Dining Room, a versatile and semi-private space flanked by a retractable glass dividing wall and a separate 23rd Street entrance. It will feature a Jacquard tapestry by Robert Kushner.
Two secluded rooms round out the true versatility of RIS. Under the leadership of Sales and Marketing Director Jackie Ludden, the Federal Room and the State Room accommodate parties from 8 to 40. The former is a large, convivial space with original art by renowned DC artist Sam Gillian. The rock ensconced walls border a visual maze of nooks and crannies harboring local artisan pottery. Hidden from sight is a mobile audio visual system. The State Room is a cozy room flooded with dramatic light and draped with a Jacquard tapestry by Donald and Era Farnsworth. It seats up to 10 for more intimate celebrations or meetings. And come cherry blossom season, Lacoste will unveil The Patio on 23rd, with 60 outdoor seats.
The entire menu is available throughout RIS, so whether it’s a quick bite at the bar or a lingering experience with friends, RIS can and will accommodate. The menu features memorable classics such as rabbit stew, lamb shank, and Nantucket Bay scallops alongside original and playful compositions such as grilled octopus, sardines, grilled Portuguese skirt steak, and fall vegetable Wellington. The menu is executed by Lacoste’s team led by Chef de Cuisine Ed Kwitowski and Pastry Chef Chris Kujala, whose decadent desserts will include daily sundaes.
The cornerstone of the inaugural menu at RIS is a list of everyday dining specials indicative of a timeless American café ideal, but with a rustic elegance for which the award-winning chef is known. In addition to the seasonal a la carte menu, guests and neighbors can look forward to Meatloaf on Mondays; Paris Bistro on Tuesdays; Little Italy on Wednesdays, to include amazing spaghetti and meatballs and fresh pistachio chocolate cannolis. Lacoste will serve her signature Rack of Lamb every Thursday. Weekends at RIS aim for fun and flirtation, as Fish on Fridays celebrates fresh regional seafood that includes freshly shucked oysters. Saturday has been dubbed Date Night, focusing on simple pleasures like steak and potatoes and crème brulée.
RIS is the incarnation of Lacoste’s personal style, sensibility and in every manner of speaking, taste. She is a native of New England, trained at the legendary La Varenne Écôle de Cuisine in Paris, and has cooked with some of the most respected and successful chefs in America. For nearly two decades she has earned a reputation in Washington built upon high-quality ingredients, bold innovative technique, and food that is both familiar and simply delicious. Couple her sophisticated pedigree with a deep-rooted dedication to the community, keen understanding of genuine hospitality, and a most unique vision, and therein evolved RIS.
Co-owner Mitchell Herman is a native Washingtonian who enjoyed a long career as Senior Vice President of the Shoppers Food Warehouse chain when it was a family-owned business. Today he is president of Dana Creative Concepts Corp., a business and financial consulting company RIS will serve lunch weekdays from 11:30am to 2:30pm and late lunch from 2:30pm to 5:30pm, to accommodate the perpetually hectic work schedules in the District. Beginning at 5:30pm, the menu will shift to dinner, served until 11:00pm Monday through Saturday. In the coming weeks, Lacoste plans to begin serving breakfast as well as weekend brunch and Sunday Supper.