Thursday, January 24, 2013

FOOD REVIEW: Corduroy (Washington, DC)

Chocolate Tart with Caramelized Banana
Broken Arrow Ranch Antelope with Chestnut Puree 
Crispy Striped Bass with Wakefield Cabbage
Roast and Confit Guinea Hen
with Maitake Mushrooms
 Carpaccio ofLobster with Drawn Butter
Interior of Corduroy
Washington, D.C. is a good town for foodies and good food. I have been taking advantage of my temporary relocation to the DC metro area to explore some of the best restaurants in the area. Recently, I went to Corduroy, which is well-known as one of the best restaurants in the city. I was with two other foodies so we decided to have the 5-course tasting menu for $65. Two of us were omnivores but one member of the group was a pescatarian so the restaurant offered to accommodate us by substituting our red meat entrees with fish. Instead of the antelope course he had the Seared Sea Scallops with Anson Mills Antebellum Grits (which looked amazing) and instead of the guinea hen course the vegetarian option was Peppered Rare Big Eye Tuna with Sushi Rice and Hijiki.

The night started with an amuse bouche of a small, piping hot serving of the Kabocha Squash Soup. Then the five courses were, in order, the lobster carpaccio, the guinea hen, the crispy bass, the antelope with chestnut and ended with the dark chocolate tart. (Another interesting twist on the tasting menu was that they offered each one of us a different dessert. I had the chocolate tart, the other meat-eater picked the apple tart tatin and the pescatarian chose the pistachio bread pudding. I think my desert was the best of the three, by far.)

The service was exquisite throughout, and the restaurant started off relatively empty but by the time we finished it was about half full but there was no diminution of the level of quality of service and the courses came at a very comfortable and timely pace. The food was superb, with my favorite being the antelope dish. It was perfectly paired with the chestnut puree (which tasted sort of like a semi sweet creamy mashed potatoes). I'm not a fan of brussel sprouts, but the ones with the guinea hen made me a believer in that vegetable. The lobster carpaccio sounds like a good idea, but it is really not. It's just sorta of weirdly gooey and bland, with a frankly unsettling texture. But the high quality of the rest of the courses (and the very tasty soup to begin) outweighed that single wrong note in the symphony of flavors the meal provided.

Corduroy was by far my most enjoyable dining experience I have had living in Washington for the last 17 months. I hope to dine there a couple of times more before I return to Los Angeles at the end of the summer.

: Corduroy.
Location: 1122 9th Street Northwest Washington, DC 20001 (Mt. Vernon Sq/Convention Center).
Contact: 202-589-0699.
Visit: Tuesday, January 15, 2013.

FOOD: A+. 

OVERALL: A (4.0/4.0)

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