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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

Posted Images

So I finally made it to Corduroy for dinner after meaning to go for so many years.  Perhaps mistakenly I thought there had been a jacket and tie requirement which goes against my very ethos (modern slob in case anyone is wondering) - anyway the dress code is gone now if it ever existed and I was excited to try the place after so many wonderful reviews here.  Went with a couple close friends who were happy to share in the adventure.

I had the appetizer special, a smoked salmon/cream cheese affair that was quite good with the accompanying bread. Followed that with the chicken two ways - confit and roasted - that was wonderful.  Really enjoyed this dish immensely. Perhaps what helped that was the wonderful wine recommendation from Marc Slater, who stopped by to say hi and to suggest a really great red that all three of us enjoyed.  I'd be glad to add this place to my standard repertoire, such as it is.  Kudos for the wonderful cooking and hospitality.

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Q: Single guys, Valentine’s Day
Baby Wale might satisfy three single men.
A: Tom Sietsema
Good idea, and I see that the menu, from Corduroy chef Tom Power, includes zucchini pupusas and mushroom pizza, among other meatless selections. 
 
always delighted to see both Corduroy, as well as Baby Wale mentioned in Tom's Chat.
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We went to Corduroy for our ten year anniversary and had a really nice meal.  We had a booth which was nice for a nice conversation.  The service could have been a tiny bit more polished- I feel like there was maybe a lot of somewhat young staff, maybe that was just me.  We were seated and just waited a long time for anyone to give us menus or greet us.  No explanation of the tasting menu (so we decided just to order off menu/specials).  I heard the specials at another table and things were presented with a little bit more option than at ours (I didn't know you could get one soft-shell as an app or two as a dinner).  We were given the wine list, but never any offer to help us select something (we ended up being fine, just for a nice occasion it can be nice to get some suggestions).  The table around us had some papers with them and they left and one was left on the floor all evening, and maybe no one else noticed it?  I just thought there were some small attention to detail items that if I were the FOH manager, I would work on.

The food was great.  I had the kale caesar which was very good, and then the soft shell crabs for dinner.  I have been craving some really good soft shells and this hit the spot.  I got the chocolate flourless cake for dessert and hubby got the strawberry tart.  He had the lobster carpaccio- which I think he was neither here nor there about, and the seared tuna dish and just loved it, he thought the flavors in the sauce just really made the dish spectacular.  All in all it was a really nice meal and a nice evening, my small quibbles about some initial service issues aside.  

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I still can't understand why the best fine-dining value in all of Washington, DC is constantly empty.

The 3-course, $30 dinner offered at Corduroy's bar is unmatched in terms of (quality x value) - as far as I'm aware, nothing anywhere else even comes close.

---

We had dinner off the regular menu (with a couple of specials) at the bar Saturday night, and split 4 courses (1 appetizer, 2 mains, and 1 dessert), and with one notable exception, it was as good as ever. Everything you see in the pictures was split (plated for two) in the kitchen. Because each course was so different, we stuck with wines by the glass. The only miss of the evening was the fish itself, which just didn't taste fresh (this was at the end of a long Thanksgiving weekend); everything else was Corduroy at its usual level of excellence.

Maryland Crab Blintz atop Chayote Slaw ($15) CrabBlintz.jpg with Cava

Barnegat Light Sea Scallops with Grits ($35) Scallops.jpg with Rully Blanc (Chardonnay)

Black Sea Bass in Jerusalem Artichoke Sauce ($32) BlackBass.jpg with Sancerre Rouge (Pinot Noir)

Flourless Chocolate Cake and Hazelnut Ice Cream ($9) ChocolateCake.jpg with LBV Port
 

Service at the bar was outstanding, and we left perplexed why all of DC isn't lined up every night to have the $30 dinner here - it really says a lot about the power of marketing, and (I'm sorry to say) the gullibility of the masses, who will flock like sheep during Restaurant Week, only to pay more for a *much* lesser meal in turbulent surroundings.

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I don't know if this is the answer, but in Tom's chat last week, someone (maybe you!  ;-) asked why he doesn't mention Corduroy much/ever in his chats anymore.  His answer was that the menu has been unchanged for years, and the place/decor could use a refresher.

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4 hours ago, DonRocks said:

I still can't understand why the best fine-dining value in all of Washington, DC is constantly empty.

The 3-course, $30 dinner offered at Corduroy's bar is unmatched in terms of (quality x value) - as far as I'm aware, nothing anywhere else even comes close.

The 5-course, $70 chef's choice dinner offered in the main dining room is not far behind.

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19 hours ago, Bart said:

I don't know if this is the answer, but in Tom's chat last week, someone (maybe you!  😉 asked why he doesn't mention Corduroy much/ever in his chats anymore.  His answer was that the menu has been unchanged for years, and the place/decor could use a refresher.

Speaking of Siesetma, if that now infamous couple would have dined discreetly at Corduroy, perhaps they would not have been exposed. 

This isn’t the first time I have heard the lack of traffic as a result of Chef’s unwillingness to change the menu & the dated design of the space. Completing a design overhaul could be an expense he is not willing to entertain. The menu on the other hand, well... 

I will always have a soft spot for Corduroy, & think its hands down one of the best in town. There are dishes that are unique to the menu that you can not have anywhere else in the city, and the fact he rarely changes the menu is like returning to a old familiar favorite. I think Corduroy just needs to be included in the conversation more frequently. Every time I visit the District, a stop at 1122 9th St is always in my rotation, and as long as the doors are open, that will never change. 

Delish,

kat

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20 hours ago, DonRocks said:

I still can't understand why the best fine-dining value in all of Washington, DC is constantly empty.

The 3-course, $30 dinner offered at Corduroy's bar is unmatched in terms of (quality x value) - as far as I'm aware, nothing anywhere else even comes close.

I think this has been discussed in DR.com before, be the $30 dinner doesn't appear anywhere on their website.  Or at least I couldn't find it.

I've only been there once, 100 years ago, but these last few posts, and a quick once over of the menu makes me want to head there soon!

 

Carpaccio of Lobster with Drawn Butter $15 - WOW!!

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18 hours ago, Bart said:

I don't know if this is the answer, but in Tom's chat last week, someone (maybe you!  😉 asked why he doesn't mention Corduroy much/ever in his chats anymore.  His answer was that the menu has been unchanged for years, and the place/decor could use a refresher.

Both of those things are absolutely true. That said, I come by about 4x/ year and the experience is always excellent, and I am looking for the old favorites (have been going since the 4 points on K Street). Would like to say I'd go more if the menu changed more, but the reality is that I'm seldom in DC, so the new usually prevails.

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On 12/21/2019 at 5:29 PM, saf said:

OOOOH. Now I just need a reason to get catering from Corduroy.

I could be wrong, but I don't think they do off-site catering. I think it's meant in terms of doing a buyout at Corduroy, or an event at Baby Wale.

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Ate there for the first time last night for my mom's 89th birthday. Beyond our expectations even with all the rave reviews. We both had the tasting menu and were accommodated for our exclusions- mine pork and any form of alcohol, my mom shellfish. Basically 6 courses (they don't count the soup/salad as a course!). Tuna Tartare, Red Snapper, Duck Confite, Prime Rib, Apple Fritter or for me Flourless chocolate cake. Amazing on every level- quality, quantity, variety, service, price, and ambiance. Absolutely now part of my rotation and has jumped ahead to number one for special events. 

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A last-minute Christmas dinner at Corduroy. They weren’t offering the typical, $30, 3-course bar menu on Christmas, but they were serving at the bar, and everyone in the restaurant had only one menu from which to choose: A $65, 3-course Christmas dinner.

CorduroyMenu.jpg

The wine, the bread:

Wine.jpg <--- Champagne *and* Red Burgundy? Yep.

First Course:

Kabocha Squash Soup
Salad of Beets, Carrots, and Goat Cheese

Soup.jpgSalad.jpg

Second Course

Peppered Rare Big Eye Tuna with Sushi Rice and Hijiki
Roast Free-Range Turkey with Sausage Stuffing, Giblet Gravy, Root Vegetable Mash, Potato Purée, Bok Choy, and Cranberry Sauce

Tuna.jpgTurkey.jpg

Third Course

Bread Pudding, and you know what?

We were so stuffed that we ordered the bread pudding to-go, and we were also so stuffed that we forget to wait for it – the desserts were left at the restaurant, hopefully for our wonderful servers to enjoy after a long Christmas service.

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Peppered Rare Big Eye Tuna with Sushi Rice and Hijiki

That is one of my favorite dishes of all time. I can't remember the last time I had it either.

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On 12/10/2019 at 10:35 PM, saf said:

I just wish the goat cheese in potato cage was still around.

We can make the larger (original version) of the goat cheese in crispy potato for you. Just give us 2 days notice as we do not always have the cheese on hand.   

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On 1/5/2020 at 3:25 PM, Mark Slater said:

That's a Michel Richard dish, prepared the same way,  with Saranwrap.

The shape of the fish is all Michel. He loved to make things perfectly round.  I never saw sushi rice, hijiki or lotus root in any of Michel's kitchens.     

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6 hours ago, Tom Power said:

The shape of the fish is all Michel. He loved to make things perfectly round.  I never saw sushi rice, hijiki or lotus root in any of Michel's kitchens.     

That's true. Sorry , Tom

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9 hours ago, Tom Power said:

The shape of the fish is all Michel. He loved to make things perfectly round.  I never saw sushi rice, hijiki or lotus root in any of Michel's kitchens.     

This is interesting. I didn't remember this dish from Citronelle at all; but now that you mention it, he did do a lot of cylinders.

And I suspect the quality of the fish itself is a fair bit higher at Corduroy also. 😉

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17 hours ago, Tom Power said:

We can make the larger (original version) of the goat cheese in crispy potato for you. Just give us 2 days notice as we do not always have the cheese on hand.   

Oooh. So the appetizer size from the old location? That would be so delicious.

Just call 2 days before we want to come in?

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On 12/3/2019 at 3:45 PM, Bart said:

I don't know if this is the answer, but in Tom's chat last week, someone (maybe you!  😉 asked why he doesn't mention Corduroy much/ever in his chats anymore.  His answer was that the menu has been unchanged for years, and the place/decor could use a refresher.

Q: Corduroy

Hi Tom — You haven’t mentioned Corduroy in ages, and it’s one of my dependable favorites. Have you checked it out lately, and if so, what do you think?

A: Tom Sietsema

I visit every 16 months or so. Tom Power is a very good chef, but for awhile at least, I felt as if  he was serving the same menu he started with. (A diner can only eat lobster carpaccio so many times, you know?)  A quick glance online just now suggests he's doing some new dishes, however. I guess I need to pay Corduroy a visit.

— FEB 12, 2020 11:45 AM

For the record, lobster carpaccio is not currently on the menu.

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#repost Corduroy/Baby wale

I spent the afternoon painting these signs for Corduroy and Baby Wale. "Virtual farmers' market" is a way for us to make produce available from small local farms that are not set up to sell to large grocery stores (they only sell to restaurants). Farmers had already planted crops when the virus hit, and the produce will be wasted if we don't use/sell through restaurants. People can order produce on Tock and pick them up curbside. Not the cheapest, but super fresh, sustainable, organic, and exclusive. We have a very small selection at the moment, but it will grow if the demand is there. 

We also have beer, wine, and liquor. We are liquidating our inventory! Trying to be the best prices (and best selections) in town. 

Virtual Farmers Market/ Carry out

0B0D93FA-5196-4F4F-BAC8-D0420A91651A.jpeg

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Liquid Liquidation Is Back!  (that's for the old school) 

Corduroy quietly reopened for takeout last week.  This is more than a pivot, it's a brand new business with a lot of resources not going to use.    I have a lot of beer, wine and spirits on the shelf that might as well find a good home.  We have takeout, a virtual farmers market and super discounted adult beverages. You can pick up dinner, produce and cheap drinks in one stop curbside pick-up.  All alcohol purchases must be made with the purchase of a prepared food item.  Here is the To Go wine list that will be on line tomorrow.  Ordering is online through Tock right now which is still adapting to this.  Email corduroydc@mindspring.com for details.  

wineList5.7.20.xlsx

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3 hours ago, Tom Power said:

Liquid Liquidation Is Back!  (that's for the old school) 

Corduroy quietly reopened for takeout last week.  This is more than a pivot, it's a brand new business with a lot of resources not going to use.    I have a lot of beer, wine and spirits on the shelf that might as well find a good home.  We have takeout, a virtual farmers market and super discounted adult beverages. You can pick up dinner, produce and cheap drinks in one stop curbside pick-up.  All alcohol purchases must be made with the purchase of a prepared food item.  Here is the To Go wine list that will be on line tomorrow.  Ordering is online through Tock right now which is still adapting to this.  Email corduroydc@mindspring.com for details.  

wineList5.7.20.xlsx 26.68 kB · 22 downloads

I may have to break the SAP order and take advantage of this Liquid Liquidation sale! 

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Last night, I was delighted to pick up - not just dinner and some soups for the freezer - but also some of the "virtual farmers market" items:

Asparagus (1 lb) $6.50
Strawberries (1 [very generous] pt) $4.50
Garlic with Tops (1 lb) $4.00
Red Leaf Lettuce (1 head) $4.00

All these vegetables look great, and will be put to good use in short order.

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On 5/7/2020 at 5:18 AM, Tom Power said:

Liquid Liquidation Is Back!  (that's for the old school) 

Corduroy quietly reopened for takeout last week.  This is more than a pivot, it's a brand new business with a lot of resources not going to use.    I have a lot of beer, wine and spirits on the shelf that might as well find a good home.  We have takeout, a virtual farmers market and super discounted adult beverages. You can pick up dinner, produce and cheap drinks in one stop curbside pick-up.  All alcohol purchases must be made with the purchase of a prepared food item.  Here is the To Go wine list that will be on line tomorrow.  Ordering is online through Tock right now which is still adapting to this.  Email corduroydc@mindspring.com for details.  

wineList5.7.20.xlsx 26.68 kB · 44 downloads

 
I know zilch + 0, squared, about restaurant POS systems. Came across the comment below in a tech article and it seemed worthwhile to post. Metha is a venture capitalist.
 
 
Quote

Mehta said he encourages businesses that want to offer takeout to use a system like Toast, that charges a flat $50 per month, rather than taking a big commission. For gift cards, he encourages them to use Square.

 

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The problem with taking online ordering in house is that there is a mass marketing effect with Postmates/ I cuold offer a discount on an order and pay an increased comission of $3.99 on a minimum $10 order. My order count would skyrocket to 3 or 4 times normal. ANd maybe 20% would be $15 to $20 orders that I would lose money on. But as many were 40 or more orders that I made good money on. My orders skewed to burrata {very little labor} and pasta {low food cost} compared to inhouse dining. 

I had a link on my website and got a reduced comission from the serviceif a customer clicked from three. Getting a customer to click from my website to order from one of the big guys was very hard. Almost all my pickup orders came from phone calls. 

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On 5/7/2020 at 5:18 AM, Tom Power said:

Liquid Liquidation Is Back!  (that's for the old school) 

Corduroy quietly reopened for takeout last week.  This is more than a pivot, it's a brand new business with a lot of resources not going to use.    I have a lot of beer, wine and spirits on the shelf that might as well find a good home.  We have takeout, a virtual farmers market and super discounted adult beverages. You can pick up dinner, produce and cheap drinks in one stop curbside pick-up.  All alcohol purchases must be made with the purchase of a prepared food item.  Here is the To Go wine list that will be on line tomorrow.  Ordering is online through Tock right now which is still adapting to this.  Email corduroydc@mindspring.com for details.  

wineList5.7.20.xlsx 26.68 kB · 52 downloads

Thanks Tom - email sent!

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On 3/27/2020 at 4:22 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

Thought it might give each other ideas based on where and what you're ordering for take-out or delivery.  

On 5/1/2020 at 6:48 PM, Pat said:

Corduroy and Baby Wale are on Tock for pickup. My husband and I are thinking about doing that next week. (I think they're newly added to Tock, or I haven't noticed them there before anyway.) Tock seems best in terms of benefit to the restaurants.

Screenshot 2020-05-26 at 01.21.31.png

On 5/1/2020 at 8:21 PM, saf said:

I think they are new - the newsletter this week made a big deal about them.

We had two delicious meals from Corduroy last week, and we bought some fresh, fabulous produce from them as well. 

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FWIW, picked up some wonderful wines and snapper bisque at Corduroy yesterday. Very easy to purchase, and excellent pricing!

Truly looking forward to being back in person soon. And picking up some more wine in the coming weeks...

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I'm sure that some restaurants are doing okay right now, but I don't know of a single one that is.

I'd like to remind our readers that Corduroy (menu) is open for dining Wed-Sat, 5:30-10:30. I just made my reservation, and I encourage everyone to follow suit - Tom *loves* cooking for people, and he's one of the very best chefs in DC; the problem is that he's *terrible* at promoting himself or his restaurant. Corduroy could have won a James Beard Award by now, but they haven't even been nominated - not once. This hits home with me, hard - in a lot of ways, for what are (hopefully) obvious reasons.

In other news, I heard Kojo Nnamdi talking several times yesterday about Kwame Onwuachi, who has replaced Mike Isabella as the current media darling.

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39 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

I'm sure that some restaurants are doing okay right now, but I don't know of a single one that is.

I'd like to remind our readers that Corduroy (menu) is open for dining Wed-Sat, 5:30-10:30. I just made my reservation, and I encourage everyone to follow suit - Tom *loves* cooking for people, and he's one of the very best chefs in DC; the problem is that he's *terrible* at promoting himself or his restaurant. Corduroy could have won a James Beard Award by now, but they haven't even been nominated - not once. This hits home with me, hard - in a lot of ways, for what are (hopefully) obvious reasons.

In other news, I heard Kojo Nnamdi talking several times yesterday about Kwame Onwuachi, who has replaced Mike Isabella as the current media darling.

We have followed Corduroy from the first location to the new. We frequented the bar for early weekend dinners and the restaurant proper to celebrate special occasions. While we are not dining out now, I am sorely tempted by chefs wonderful soups.

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