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Corduroy, Fine Dining at the Convention Center - Chef Tom Power's Magnificent Cooking


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Excited to announce we have a new pop up in the alley behind Corduroy and Baby Wale.  "Clos Du Roy"!   The walled in patio is open each night at 5 PM  and taking reservations until 8:30 as all patrons

What a fantastic meal we had here on Friday evening. Compliments to @Tom Power and to @Mark Slater for amazing food and a great wine pairing.. It was seafood heavy - snapper bisque, lobster with grits

I haven't been to Corduroy in forever so when the forecast called for an Indian Summer for this weekend, I booked a reservation at "Clos du Roy" (the alley behind Corduroy and Baby Wale). As can

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5 hours ago, Simul Parikh said:

Taking some staff out for a thank you dinner. How is the tasting menu? Do they do a wine pairing?

I had dinner at Corduroy two weeks ago - you're going to see why I've had it ranked in Bold since day one. We ordered a really nice bottle of 2008 Bourgeuil, but if you can get pairings, so much the better.

These were from the tasting menu - I wasn't going to post them because they don't represent just how good (and ample) the dishes were. We were also so stuffed that we waved the white flag despite having more courses coming (one dish (not pictured) was taken home, and we would have had another coming had we not surrendered).

Note: I was with a first-timer, so I specifically requested the Lobster Bisque and the Big Eye Tuna to be thrown into the mix.

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People forget that Tom Power was Chef de Cuisine at Citronelle in Baltimore, and I'm pretty sure he once worked with Gerard Pangaud (Gerard specifically told me that he thinks Tom is a great cook). And you can bet your bottom dollar that he'll be working the line, too - you can call to make sure he isn't on vacation, but as many times as I've dined at Corduroy (30 maybe?), I don't ever remember not seeing him there.

I wrote this over 14-years ago.

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1 hour ago, Mark Dedrick said:

We did the bar menu about a week ago, and as mentioned above it's still $30. The soups were, as always, incredible. 

Chef @Tom Power whips up magnificent soups! When I used to serve at Corduroy, I used to describe the cauliflower parmesan soup as a  cozy velveteen  blanket on a chilly winter day. Delish.

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21 minutes ago, Simul Parikh said:

Hey- any idea how much wine pairing costs? I emailed restaurant and got no response.

Also, dress code for women?

Excited for dinner Friday!!

Are you dining at the bar or the restaurant? I don't believe that they have a wine pairing at the bar, but not sure what the cost is in the restaurant, where they definitely have wine pairings. 

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2 hours ago, Simul Parikh said:

Hey- any idea how much wine pairing costs? I emailed restaurant and got no response.

Also, dress code for women?

Excited for dinner Friday!!

Mark will work with you on a wine pairing in your budget. We did one last night; a mid-range pairing for the $70 5-course menu was $55.

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3 hours ago, Simul Parikh said:

Also, dress code for women?

Anywhere from "not jeans" to black tie, the most important thing being "not jeans." I mean, I've sat upstairs at the bar in jeans, but I knew full-well I was out-of-place - at the old location, you could get away with it in the dining room, but not here.

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5 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Anywhere from "not jeans" to black tie, the most important thing being "not jeans." I mean, I've sat upstairs at the bar in jeans, but I knew full-well I was out-of-place - at the old location, you could get away with it in the dining room, but not here.

I find that rule kind of silly - I love jeans. But I also enjoy a fine meal and if Corduroy is calling, I don't mind changing pants for an evening.

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1 hour ago, Pool Boy said:

I find that rule kind of silly - I love jeans. But I also enjoy a fine meal and if Corduroy is calling, I don't mind changing pants for an evening.

It's not a rule; it's a best-guess on my part about what people might feel comfortable in - I'm pretty sure you could dine here in jeans if you wanted (think: Kinship). :)

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14 hours ago, DonRocks said:

It's not a rule; it's a best-guess on my part about what people might feel comfortable in - I'm pretty sure you could dine here in jeans if you wanted (think: Kinship). :)

I think they used to have an official "no jeans" policy, but abandoned it some time back because of the convention center traffic that they get as walk-in.

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20 hours ago, Simul Parikh said:

Finally, as far as why this place isn't packed every night - i.e. I got a prime time Friday reservation a week in a few weeks inadvance from Open Table. It's not the location - it's in a pretty good area. It's obviously not the food - the meal was fantastic. It's not the wine list - I mean, heck, we were pretty blown away at the price point we were at (I think it was a $55 pairing). Not sure exactly what it is. I guess it's not "novel" or "innovative" and it seems like the newer places that are hot in DC are ethnic, innovative (and I don't mean that in a positive or negative way), have a 'celebrity' chef. For whatever reason, just making great food at a fair price with great wine in a handsome dining room that you can easily have a conversation in isn't enough ... 

Corduroy has never succumbed to trends. Chef is the real deal. He has been serving guests for 17 years with excellent food at a great price paired with stellar service. This is why it is always my go to when I’m in town. So happy you had a wonderful evening! 

Former staff,

kat

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Just FYI, but we were there 2 nights before Simul. We also went for the tasting menu, but other than some ingredient overlaps (and the bisque), we had a completely different meal than they did, and different pairings as well.

The core menu at Corduroy may be static, but when you get the tasting menu, which is a steal at $70 for 5 courses, you definitely get a different experience.

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11 hours ago, DanielK said:

Just FYI, but we were there 2 nights before Simul. We also went for the tasting menu, but other than some ingredient overlaps (and the bisque), we had a completely different meal than they did, and different pairings as well.

The core menu at Corduroy may be static, but when you get the tasting menu, which is a steal at $70 for 5 courses, you definitely get a different experience.

I am generally so over tasting menus. How big are the portions at Corduroy?

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14 hours ago, Pool Boy said:

I am generally so over tasting menus. How big are the portions at Corduroy?

I am in the same boat.  Portion size has been the significant reason

13 hours ago, Mark Slater said:

Not tiny.

Good to know

5 hours ago, Simul Parikh said:

Good sized. Was full.

Good to know

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It's "five courses", one of which is dessert, and included a tasting of one of his soups first (not part of the five). So that's 4 savory courses, all of which I would call a moderate appetizer size. At the end of the evening, spread over about 2.5 hours (though it could go quicker if you liked) I was pleasantly full but not stuffed.

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Heads up! call first to make sure the bar is available.

Decided to enjoy the bar menu last night after about a year hiatus which followed very regular monthly or twice monthly visits.

Arrived around 6:00 in order to secure 4 bar seats and was faced with a group of 25 standing in the bar. 

Apparently a group had reserved the bar until 7:30 (ish which lasted longer). We always go early and had never thought to call ahead.

Class act.. Mark Slater agreed to permit us to be seated in the upstairs front room and order from the bar menu.

Dinner was delicious as ever-snapper bisque, pork loin, flat iron steak, which had replaced the faux ribeye, and I ventured off the bar menu and ordered scallops and grits and tuna tartare .

Another great meal ... But be forewarned if you are accustomed to dropping by.

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Hi Tom - I had originally planned to go to Kinship for an upcoming birthday (and scored the perfect reservation time!), but now my husband needs to travel for work during that time. Do you have any recommendations for a restaurant that has good food, a quiet atmosphere, and would have a reservation a week out? We'll be leaving our two toddlers at home with a sitter, so we would like to take advantage and go someplace that we couldn't go to with our kiddos. Thanks in advance!

A: Tom Sietsema

Good, quiet and easy to access? Corduroy, the townhouse restaurant with solid American cooking by veteran chef Tom Power fits the bill. One of my favorite dishes on the menu is peppered tuna on coconut rice. 

 
Its always nice to see Corduroy get a mention in Tom's chat!
 
Delish,
 
katt
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my fiance is out of town this weekend so I was on my own for dinner.  i wanted something decent in my neighborhood but wasnt in the mood for Ethiopian or El Sol and everything else in my neighborhood (save Unconventional Diner) is small plates,  which don't really work for one person. Then it hit me: the bar at Corduroy. Done.

At 8 pm, the restaurant was busy but the bar was empty,  save for one man in his 60s/70s reading the same issue of The New Yorker that i brought.  I had a phenomenal simple and fresh kale salad that was nearly a ceasar, perfectly cooked steak of some sort with whipped potatoes, and a phenomenal peach dessert (peaches are my favorite) for $30. they were out of the soft shell crab, but my steak was delicious, with a delightful red wine sauce.  $30 for these 3 is highway robbery.   once my septagarian barmate left, i was the only one up there the entire dinner.  my mezcal negroni was unremarkable,  as ive found cocktails to be here generally, but the bartender was attentive and nice to talk to.

i dont go here much during the summer because there aren't any windows,  but i look forward to frequent visits this winter.

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9 hours ago, funkyfood said:
9 hours ago, funkyfood said:

At 8 pm, the restaurant was busy but the bar was empty,  save for one man in his 60s/70s reading the same issue of The New Yorker that i brought.   once my septagarian barmate left, i was the only one up there the entire dinner.  

 

I no longer live in DC, but the bar at Corduroy was a favorite dining spot when I did. So, I was eager to see your post until I actually read it.  I have no idea how old you are, but I am really curious why you felt the need to point out the age of the other diner at the bar.  Would you have done so if he were in his 30s?  And, by the way, you misspelled "septuagenarian" when describing when he left.  If he were in his 30s would you have said, "Once my Millenial barmate left." How about just saying, "When the other guest left"?

 

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@LauraB

I probably would have mentioned his age regardless,  but i can't know for sure.  I thought it may help set the scene and advise others as to the crowd at the bar, at least on this Saturday night.

Apologies for the typo--I'm posting from my phone without the benefit of spell-check. Since we're on the subject, your quotation of my misspelling should be in quotation marks, not apostrophes.

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47 minutes ago, Ericandblueboy said:

Some people may find the age of other patrons relevant.  Even if it’s irrelevant, it sets the scene.

I take your point, Eric.  However, funkyfood has a sample size of one.  I have a sample size of at least 12.  And I can tell you that the age range at the bar is all over the map.  It is not just old people.  I have been there with my 20-something daughters and I have seen many other young people there. 

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8 hours ago, LauraB said:

I take your point, Eric.  However, funkyfood has a sample size of one.  I have a sample size of at least 12.  And I can tell you that the age range at the bar is all over the map.  It is not just old people.  I have been there with my 20-something daughters and I have seen many other young people there. 

where did I say that it's exclusively  "old" people? i literally just described the only other gentleman at the bar last night. you're reading something into my post that simply isn't there.

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It seems clear that not many people are taking advantage of the great deal at the Corduroy bar. That is a shame. Apparently, word isn't getting out about it. The fact that the only other person funkyfood  saw was a 70-something doesn't mean only older people go to sit at the bar. It seemed like a bit of color in the post. I read it as, there were only 2 of us eating at the bar, me and a 70-something. To me at least, that reads totally fine as part of a narrative about a meal, like if someone says there were several middle-aged conventioneers there.

 

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I have to be honest, when I go to Corduroy, I prefer to indulge in the dining room. That said, the couple of times I have tried to do something at the bar, it was a bust - packed or taken over for private event as I recall. Bummer as I want to experience it. Maybe the third time will be the charm.

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14 hours ago, Pat said:

It seems clear that not many people are taking advantage of the great deal at the Corduroy bar. That is a shame. Apparently, word isn't getting out about it. 

I checked the website, and there is no mention of the 3 course/$30 offer at the bar, but what is mentioned on the menu is the  Chef's tasting for $70, offered in the dining room.  Perhaps if this tidbit was added to the website, more people would be informed. And then again, maybe it's a deliberate omission so that guests will seek it out. I know it has been mentioned on social media several times about what a great deal the bar prefix is, but sometimes diners don't always follow it. Being that I frequently dine solo, I usually always opt to dine at the bar when I am in town. The setting of the bar is actually what I prefer. It gives me a chance to chat with the bar tender, and receive tips on other favorable places to dine in the city.

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On 9/23/2018 at 9:20 AM, funkyfood said:

@LauraB

I probably would have mentioned his age regardless,  but i can't know for sure.  I thought it may help set the scene and advise others as to the crowd at the bar, at least on this Saturday night.

Apologies for the typo--I'm posting from my phone without the benefit of spell-check. Since we're on the subject, your quotation of my misspelling should be in quotation marks, not apostrophes.

Say hi next time. 

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On 9/23/2018 at 12:07 AM, funkyfood said:

my fiance is out of town this weekend so I was on my own for dinner.  i wanted something decent in my neighborhood but wasnt in the mood for Ethiopian or El Sol and everything else in my neighborhood (save Unconventional Diner) is small plates,  which don't really work for one person. Then it hit me: the bar at Corduroy. Done.

At 8 pm, the restaurant was busy but the bar was empty,  save for one man in his 60s/70s reading the same issue of The New Yorker that i brought.  I had a phenomenal simple and fresh kale salad that was nearly a ceasar, perfectly cooked steak of some sort with whipped potatoes, and a phenomenal peach dessert (peaches are my favorite) for $30. they were out of the soft shell crab, but my steak was delicious, with a delightful red wine sauce.  $30 for these 3 is highway robbery.   once my septagarian barmate left, i was the only one up there the entire dinner.  my mezcal negroni was unremarkable,  as ive found cocktails to be here generally, but the bartender was attentive and nice to talk to.

i dont go here much during the summer because there aren't any windows,  but i look forward to frequent visits this winter.

On 9/23/2018 at 9:19 PM, Pool Boy said:

I have to be honest, when I go to Corduroy, I prefer to indulge in the dining room. That said, the couple of times I have tried to do something at the bar, it was a bust - packed or taken over for private event as I recall. Bummer as I want to experience it. Maybe the third time will be the charm.

On 9/24/2018 at 10:35 AM, curiouskitkatt said:

I checked the website, and there is no mention of the 3 course/$30 offer at the bar, but what is mentioned on the menu is the  Chef's tasting for $70, offered in the dining room.  Perhaps if this tidbit was added to the website, more people would be informed. And then again, maybe it's a deliberate omission so that guests will seek it out. I know it has been mentioned on social media several times about what a great deal the bar prefix is, but sometimes diners don't always follow it. Being that I frequently dine solo, I usually always opt to dine at the bar when I am in town. The setting of the bar is actually what I prefer. It gives me a chance to chat with the bar tender, and receive tips on other favorable places to dine in the city.

I was thinking about Corduroy recently;  I haven't been there in a while.   The item that got me contemplating the restaurant was that two Saturday's ago on 9/15 the Convention Center hosted one of its largest dining evenings of the year; hosting two very large events on the same evening.  The major staffing company arranged for about 500 temporary food and beverage workers to staff the Center for dinners and other aspects for serving food and drink to convention attendees.  Other staffing companies hired still more workers.  (Some of the grads from our bartending school. l love working events as an extra source of income).

While I've sat at the bar waiting for others for a later reservation I've never had the vaunted $30 three course meal.  I suppose I'm like Pool Boy in that regard...I'd think about dinner downstairs long long before I'd consider the bar upstairs.   Interesting to hear though, that on occasion it could be packed as Pool Boy referenced.  In other words its not a sure thing. (BTW:  my reaction to the comments above was similar to that of LauraB--in my case its b/c I'm in the geezer age range--it wasn't horrifically offending--but I didn't enjoy seeing the crowd described that way)

(back to the food and drink)

What the heck though, if the upstairs bar was crowded there is Baby Wale virtually next door.  

Then I was going to offer possible "reasons" for why Corduroy doesn't advertise or market the vaunted bar opportunity.  Hmmm.   Far be it for me to go there....there is one person on this board who could speak to  the reason authoritatively and probably others with more knowledge than me.    What did grab my attention though was how ridiculously convenient Corduroy and Baby Wale are to destination and overflow crowds from the Convention Center.  The Convention Center can attract crowd sizes that rival that of the baseball stadium or the Verizon Center.  Boy!!! those two other places simply drive enormous number of overflow crowds to the bars and restaurants near them.    I'm sure Corduroy and Baby Wale are intimately aware of that opportunity. 

Anyway all this got me thinking it would be worthwhile to try for a $30 deal at Corduroy: its something I haven't done.  If I run into the same issue Pool Boy referenced above there is always Baby Wale with its enormous bar....  Can't beat that as an alternative. (I might check the Convention Center schedule though just to ensure its not overflowing with attendees)

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1 hour ago, DaveO said:

  Then I was going to offer possible "reasons" for why Corduroy doesn't advertise or market the vaunted bar opportunity.  Hmmm.   Far be it for me to go there....there is one person on this board who could speak to  the reason authoritatively and probably others with more knowledge than me.    

 I had worked for Chef for a few years, and in that time Chef has never actively advertised specials that are offered at the restaurant. The only specials that were featured, not promoted mind you, were wine dinners as well as holiday menus. I will conclude, it being my opinion, that the 3 for 30 offer is presented as a courtesy to  guests to take advantage of the menu's offerings at the bar, rather than a deal to lure in customers. 

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9 hours ago, DaveO said:

Anyway all this got me thinking it would be worthwhile to try for a $30 deal at Corduroy: its something I haven't done.  If I run into the same issue Pool Boy referenced above there is always Baby Wale with its enormous bar....  Can't beat that as an alternative. (I might check the Convention Center schedule though just to ensure its not overflowing with attendees)

And if Baby Wale is packed....Kinship.

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On 9/25/2018 at 9:14 PM, Pool Boy said:

And if Baby Wale is packed....Kinship.

Just as (or nearly just as) close as Kinship: Dabney, Tiger Fork, Espita, El Sol, Chercher, Unconventional Diner, All Purpose, Convivial...I suppose those places are more likely to be jam-packed than the bar at Corduroy though

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Four of us had dinner at the bar here last Friday (10/12). We had originally intended to go to Kinship to celebrate a friend's birthday, but it turned out that they were closed. So... up the block and across we went.

Just us at the bar when we arrived (early), but it filled up.

When we eat there, we usually do the $30 bar menu, but being as this was a celebration, we decided to go for the $70 "Chef Surprise" 5 course menu. They were remarkably accommodating, as I do not eat seafood, and 2 others don't do mushrooms. I really appreciate this. It was absolutely delicious, and as ever, the drinks and wine are fabulous.

I don't get here very often, and am always astounded that the wonderful bartender (whose name I have forgotten again) remembers us, and even remembers what we drink. I don't think we are that memorable - she's clearly a customer service genius. And the wine advice is really good too!

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6 hours ago, saf said:

Four of us had dinner at the bar here last Friday (10/12). We had originally intended to go to Kinship to celebrate a friend's birthday, but it turned out that they were closed. So... up the block and across we went.

Just us at the bar when we arrived (early), but it filled up.

When we eat there, we usually do the $30 bar menu, but being as this was a celebration, we decided to go for the $70 "Chef Surprise" 5 course menu. They were remarkably accommodating, as I do not eat seafood, and 2 others don't do mushrooms. I really appreciate this. It was absolutely delicious, and as ever, the drinks and wine are fabulous.

I don't get here very often, and am always astounded that the wonderful bartender (whose name I have forgotten again) remembers us, and even remembers what we drink. I don't think we are that memorable - she's clearly a customer service genius. And the wine advice is really good too!

How were the four of you seated? At the bar itself or are there tables in there as well?

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9 minutes ago, The Doctor said:

How were the four of you seated? At the bar itself or are there tables in there as well?

At the bar itself. 

We are all bar people, and will preferentially eat at bars. There are some tables in there, although they are too low for me.

When there are more of us, or anyone underage, we will get a table, but we do love eating at bars.

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I always do a little happy dance when someone post to the Corduroy thread. I was wondering @Mark Slater if Chef plans on being open on Thanksgiving. I have yet to have turkey & stuffing as good as one that has been served at Corduroy. And the more pressing question, will I be able to have it the day after? Gives me a perfect excuse to stop in for dinner and visit the crew.

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36 minutes ago, curiouskitkatt said:

I always do a little happy dance when someone post to the Corduroy thread. I was wondering @Mark Slater if Chef plans on being open on Thanksgiving. I have yet to have turkey & stuffing as good as one that has been served at Corduroy. And the more pressing question, will I be able to have it the day after? Gives me a perfect excuse to stop in for dinner and visit the crew.

Yes, we are open Thanksgiving. 

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On 10/18/2018 at 10:22 PM, saf said:

At the bar itself. 

We are all bar people, and will preferentially eat at bars. There are some tables in there, although they are too low for me.

When there are more of us, or anyone underage, we will get a table, but we do love eating at bars.

Me too! Is there a corner at the bar? Just wondering how it worked with your group of four, if you were all seated next to one another or something else.

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29 minutes ago, The Doctor said:

Me too! Is there a corner at the bar? Just wondering how it worked with your group of four, if you were all seated next to one another or something else.

There is a corner. 4 on the end, then I am not sure how many along the front.

We actually took the 4 on the end. 

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Q: Thanksgiving for 2
Hi Tom, Any recommendations for where to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner for two in the city? Thanks!
A: Tom Sietsema
Lots of restaurants will be open on Nov. 22. If I wasn't hosting my own feast next month, I'd be inclined to check out the menus of such reliable establishments as the Oval Room (near the White House), Corduroy (near the convention center), 1789 (near Georgetown University), Bourbon Steak in the Four Seasons or Art & Soul on the Hill.  I would be inclined to pick a restaurant that offered not just tradition on a plate, but interesting sites to see before or after the meal. 
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