Majorelle

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Is it fair to judge a new restaurant after just one dinner there, on one of their first evenings after their “soft” opening? I thought that Majorelle deserved at least a second look, so we returned recently after they’ve had another month. This time we tried the library, and I also enlisted the input of a friend dining in the main room on the same evening.

The space has changed so much in this new incarnation that one can barely remember how it used to hold the Post House. They’ve created a spacious front bar area called Jacques (where they don’t serve food), and a lovely library/club room, along with the main dining room and a sliver of a “back garden” with a few tables.
The French-Mediterranean menu is enticing, and overall the food has been delicious: the black sea bass with champagne was the winner, my friends raved about the chicken carved table-side and the sucrine salad was so good that I wish it was a bigger portion. There a few misses, such as boring kibbe and a baba au rhum which the waiter erroneously talked me into, but the gougères more than compensate.

The space strikes the right balance, for me, of noise control yet energy, and it is beautiful and elegant, with sumptuous fabrics and flower arrangements. While the space is beautifully decorated by Michael Smith (of White House fame), the layout is one of Majorelle’s main drawbacks: there really aren’t any great tables — either you have a plant leaf tickling your hair, or one of the servers bumping into the back of your chair, because everything is squished together just a little too much. Thus we tried the library, which feels a bit better, if you don’t mind ordering from the limited menu and eating at coffee-table height.

As for service, they seem to have so many staff running around, yet on our first visit we waited far too long at every stage. On our recent library visit, the server was friendly but forgetful and slow, but her colleagues stepped up when requested; our friends in the main dining room said their recent service was quite good.

We’ll likely try Majorelle again, but in the bar just for quiet drinks, or in the library for (not inexpensive) snacks.

Ilona Quasha

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