Albi presents chef/owner Michael Lee Rafidi's contemporary vision of Middle Eastern cooking as seen through the lens of Modern American techniques and Mid-Atlantic ingredients.
For his first solo restaurant, chef Rafidi draws inspiration from his roots in Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan, as well as influence from the Levant and North Africa, bringing to the table an experience that melds ancient culinary tradition with the refined hand and artful plating that has earned him widespread acclaim.
A second location of Maxwell Park, the adventurous wine bar from award-winning sommelier Brent Kroll, sits adjacent to Albi. Kroll oversees the wine programs for the dual-concept venture.
MICHAEL LEE RAFIDI
Michael Lee Rafidi is the chef/owner of Albi coming to Washington, D.C.’s Navy Yard neighborhood in summer 2019. The menus will be a creative update to traditional Levantine cuisine with Modern American techniques and Mid-Atlantic ingredients. Chef Rafidi was previously the executive chef of Arroz and Requin in D.C., which both earned critical acclaim under his stewardship. Rafidi was recently recognized as Eater DC’s Chef of the Year in 2017, and was a finalist for Rising Star Chef in the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s 2018 RAMMY Awards.
Before making his mark on D.C.’s restaurant industry, Rafidi spent six years working alongside Michael Mina as executive chef of celebrated French restaurant RN74 in San Francisco, and as the Mina Group’s corporate chef. In this role, he supported culinary management of the group’s multinational properties, and was pivotal in opening eight of those concepts. Having grown up in Maryland, Rafidi spent time at other respected East Coast restaurants, including Blue Duck Tavern in D.C. and Talula’s Garden in Philadelphia. He also staged at chef René Redzepi’s internationally acclaimed Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark, an experience that fostered his appreciation for foraging and other culinary techniques from around the world.
Brent Kroll is the sommelier and founder behind Maxwell Park, a playfully offbeat and approachably sophisticated wine bar in Washington, D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood. A forthcoming location will open next spring adjacent to Albi, Michael Lee Rafidi’s contemporary Middle Eastern restaurant. Kroll will lead the wine programs at the dual-concept venture. Taking note of the spirit and sense of humor he imbues into the wine-drinking experience, Food & Wine honored Kroll among its Sommeliers of the Year in early 2018.
Prior to opening Maxwell Park, Kroll designed the wine program at Iron Gate when the historic restaurant reopened its doors in 2013. His handiwork earned Wine Program of the Year in the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s RAMMY Awards in 2015, and the restaurant was recognized as one of the Best Wine Restaurants in America by Wine Enthusiast. Kroll similarly developed the wine lists for other respected eateries in the Neighborhood Restaurant Group portfolio, including Hazel and The Partisan. He was named a StarChefs Rising Star Sommelier in 2014 while spearheading distinctive wine programs for each of the group’s 16 properties.