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

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Nooooooooo...we had to delay our return because we're going out of town...sniff. I was SO looking forward to some scallop loveliness...maybe they'll be back? Boo hoo.

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No scallops on the menu this past Saturday night, but we still had a wonderful meal. The space is beautiful, with the only problem for us being the lighting being slightly brighter than an operating room. According to our waiter, that was an unfortunate problem they had with the dimmer that day, and it will be remedied. You could still smell the fresh paint, and we were told that there is still work to be done, but it looked like a finished product to us.

I started with the half-dozen oysters, which were plump and fresh, with a nice mignonette. Entree was the tuna with sushi rice. An excellent piece of tuna peppered and expertly seared. The wife's chilled pea soup had a wonderful smoky goodness owing to the ham stock base. And as I lefty, I noticed that the soup spoons were standard, ambidextrous spoons. She enjoyed the halibut with warm potato salad, and we finished it off by sharing an excellent strawberry tart with a 'creamsicle.'

Service was as excellent as the food. Our waiter did comment that they are trying to migrate to more of a prix fixe arrangement, with a constantly changing menu. It will be interesting to see the evolution the restaurant takes on once they fully settle into the new space.

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Have you been to, what I affectionately call, "New Corduroy?" There are many reasons to go, and you know that, but you may not know that our own MelGold is a hostess at Corduroy, and she looks like a million bucks. Go. Say hi. And, tell her how great she looks!

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The single best restaurant dish of the year (and of recent memory) can now be announced--Tom Power's Crab and Custard (With Mystery Dumpling) Soup.

Words fail me to describe this quivering bowl of multiple pleasures.

But let me further say that I love, love, the new Corduroy. It is what every city of sophistication or note should aspire to claim as its own, along with Komi, Palena and Eve, as a leading urbane, chef-owned, neighborhood-rooted work of passion, sacrifice and dedication. I can't say enough how happy I am for him to have this new home.

This in spite of Tom Sietsema's misdirected pooh-poohing (Let he who has mortgaged and risked his very life and soul and sweated it out against all odds and common sense to build a house to serve the public be the first to pooh-pooh) of what is a very sound, responsible and respectful approach to an unimaginable, to those who have not done so, endeavor--building and opening a new restaurant. Not with the hundreds of millions of dollars of the Ritz-Carlton or Puck Conglomerates Incorporated, but with BS&T (ask if you don't know).

At the end of the day it is these restaurants (along with Eric's, Dino's, Anne and Johnny's, Gillian's, Peter Smith's, Haidar's, Ron Tanaka's, Jamie's and others' who I'm too drunk to remember, but you know who I mean, restaurants) which will determine whether DC is a restaurant town of distinction or not.

And for my money, today and for tomorrow, Tom Power, my favorite soup maker of all time, who has just taken it to a whole other level with his Crab and Custard (and Mystery Dumplings) Soup, wins the prize.

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For those restaurants that say that good help is hard to find, I say visit Corduroy. The level of professionalism that the staff exhibits is as fine as I have found in any number of restaurants bestowed with three florets from Michelin. Now for the food.

The peeky toe crab custard is as good as described before, but to be warned if you order it expect a 20 minute wait (and one that is well worth it). The beef and the bison loins are both well worth ordering as is the duck crème brulee.

I am happy to note that the bottle prices on the wine list are still as affordable as ever. Mr. Power please keep up the good work and I can promise you that you will have me as a customer for life.

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Dinner last night - and the space is as elegant as advertised. And great private dining space - a room for 21, another for 14, and they can be combined. Pretty clear that they are aiming at the highest level of luxe and service - the prix fixe pricing alluded to in an earlier post makes perfect sense. Outstanding food - a wonderful snapper bisque and a simple but fantastic asparagus salad were our openers and we shared an amazing rack of lamb for our main. The garlic creamed spinach served alongside the lamb forever changed the way I will think about creamed spinach. A strawberry tart/strawberry creamsicle dessert disappeared in 2 minutes - yum. Kudos to Chef Power and staff!

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Paula and I had a wonderful meal here on Friday night. The Peekytoe Crab and Egg Custard Soup is probably the ugliest, strangest, yet best tasting dish that I have had this year. A grayish custard on top gives way to a wonderful broth underneath. In between are generous chunks of crab. Its lack of visual appeal is more than made up for as soon as this dish hits your mouth. An appetizer special of Scallop Carpaccio was bright and fresh, with a touch of sea salt to balance it all out. We enjoyed a half bottle of Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs Champagne with our appetizers.

For mains, I had the Crispy Fluke with Warm Potato Salad. The fluke was cooked perfectly and was enjoyable. However, the warm potato salad was fantastic. Paula had the Veal Ribeye, which she loved. The one bite I was allowed to have incredibly tender and flavorful.

The desserts at Corduroy have never blown me away; however, I really enjoyed the Duck Egg Crème Brulée, which was nice and thick. The Chocolate Tart with Caramelized Banana was good as well; however, the vanilla ice cream was more like a vanilla sauce by the time it hit our table, as the ice cream had almost completely melted from the heat of the caramelized banana.

Service was, as usual, terrific from the moment we walked in the door. Thanks to Ferhat for giving us a tour of the space. The restaurant is gorgeous, and Chef Power and staff should be proud. We are looking forward to many more great meals here.

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Had an early dinner at Corduroy on Friday. At 6 pm, we sat in the bar and had cocktails. At 6:30, we asked for our reservation and were given a lovely table at the front. We were in fact the first guests seated that evening.

Everything about the meal was fantastic. I was a little disappointed that the soft-shell crab no longer comes as an entree, but I was more than happy to make it my appetizer so that my husband and I could share the most delicious rack of lamb that either one of us has ever tasted. We kept sneaking looks at our waitress to make sure she couldn't see us gnawing on the bone (alas, she was ever attentive but was polite enough not crack up laughing at us and even offered a Tide stick when my husband got sauce on his shirt :lol: )

Sitting near the front, as we were, we noticed that this restaurant seemed to attract a certain group of people. At present, the clientele seems to be those who were familiar with the old Corduroy. Several groups came in escorting a silver-haired lady (not the same woman, mind you, but different silvered-haired ladies). With precious little foot-traffic to begin with, Corduroy will have to work hard to promote itself outside of this circle. Word of mouth will certainly help, but maybe bar specials will bring in some of those who find themselves in the neighborhood, but think the regular menu is out of their price range. This neighborhood is certainly changing. A lot of young professionals are moving into those condos, and there are a still some of those older residents that currently own the townhouses.

Our meal was pricy, but we certainly weren't making an effort to keep the bill down. I can't wait to return, and try some other items on the menu. If you have a silver-haired woman in your life, I think this would be the perfect place to bring her.

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We were also at Corduroy on Friday night. It was nice to see some familiar faces and taste some familiar cooking. We started with crab custard/soup and scallop tartare. The custard was the only dish that didn't really work for me. The tartare was very nice though. We followed with crispy fluke w/ potato salad and salmon with snap peas. Both were perfectly prepared. The potato salad was the best I've ever had, hands down. The service, as always, was exceptional (thanks Katt.) The menu was a mix of stand by's (whole chicken, tuna, beet salad) and newer dishes.

The new space is very nicely done and it goes without saying that it's a vast improvement over the Sheraton. As a former resident of the neighborhood, I think that putting a 4 star restaurant on that block is rather forward looking. It looks a little rough right now, but in a couple years it should be buzzing.

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I had the pleasure of dining here last night during my super-quick pass through town. The place is absolutely stunning. It is wonderful to see food and service of Corduroy caliber finally showcased in a space equally worthy. I never really had a problem with the old place, but the new place is hands down a better package. The starters were calling my name so I had the chilled pea soup now with extra pork flavoring (in a good way). This is such a great harbinger of spring dish. It paired really well with my taste of my dining companion's crab custard soup and would make a great side-by-side tasting. I followed with the duck egg and leg salad and was not disappointed. Rich, salty, hint of bitter and crunch.

It was also nice to see so many familiar faces both staff and diners.

Congratulations and best wishes to Chef Tom and the whole crew.

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We had a graduation celebration dinner here last night, and the out-of-town relatives were thrilled by the space and the food, as we were. Kudos to Kat for great service, and Ferhat gave us a tour of the upstairs.

I really enjoyed my cucumber cooler specialty cocktail, a great summer drink with Hendrick's gin, cucumber juice and thyme and lemon-grass-infused syrup.

Apps around the table were oysters, peekytoe crab custard soup, and I had kampachi (amberjack) with an asian sauce. I would have liked the fish cooked a little less (I had thought the presentation was going to be seared outside, rare inside), but it was very fresh and light.

Mains were fluke, scallops, roast chicken, and I had a veal rib chop with silky mashed potatoes and maitake mushrooms. Very delicious. Desserts were pistachio bread pudding and duck egg creme brulee.

I was very impressed by the extensive and reasonably-priced wine list-- we had a very nice bottle of Sancerre, and I had a glass of Margaux with my veal chop.

The design is stunning. the only down note were the two monochrome quadruptychs on opposite walls near the kitchen. They look like the designer smudged some paint on the canvasses, choosing a single color that matched the rug. This is not art, though the architecture clearly is.

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We had a wonderful, comfortable, just lovely time at Corduroy last night. It was our first, long-delayed visit to the new location, and it was worth every minute our 20 minutes circling the block trying to find parking. MelGold and Ferhat were both charming, as always, and very good care was taken of us throughout the entire evening.

Now for the food! We were fortunate that Chef P. allowed us to split a main of scallops for our first first course -- divine. The potato sauce is amazing, with a great taste and a unique flavor that perfectly complemented the scallops and the bok choy! Next Tripewriter had the beet salad, which he really enjoyed. We both loved how the goat cheese was laid onto the plate under the salad -- as Tripewriter said, it was like a doily of cheese :lol: I had the crab soup -- it was absolutely delicious, but I was very glad to have Tripewriter help me to finish it, as it was REALLY rich! For mains, he had the veal, I believe -- I got a couple forkfuls of potatoes off his plate, but that was it -- and I had the fluke, which was GREAT. It was crispy and salty and just lovely. And the potato salad worked very, very well with it. For desserts, he had the creamsicle, and I had the flourless chocolate cake with coconut sorbet. Nothing was left on our plates at the end of the meal -- not a crumb!

It was nice to see the restaurant fairly busy -- we stopped to say hi to the JPWs across the room -- and it was seriously one of the most relaxing, enjoyable meals we've been fortunate to have lately :lol:

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We finally visited Corduroy last nght. The space is lovely, and what a joy to dine without blaring music (or any music), just the soft hum of conversation. The Peekytoe crab custard soup was sooooo rich, perhaps a bit heavy on the salt but chock full of crab. The sorrel soup was cool and refreshing. The real winner was the scallops. Divine. Great bottle of white grenache. Oh, and that cucumber/thyme gin cocktail to start was perfect. This place is a treasure.

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The sorrel soup was cool and refreshing.

Oh my, it's back? Must find excuse to get back over there...

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Finally made it to the new space last night and was not disappointed. I had a pretty crappy day at work yesterday, and to make me feel better, my +1 gave me free reign to choose where I wanted to go to dinner. Corduroy was my first and immediate choice. He had never been before, so he was excited to try it out.

There's definitely a "new" smell as you walk in the door, but I didn't notice it once we were inside. Peter was our excellent waiter (I believe he was also my waiter the last time I visited the K St location just before it closed) with Ferhat swooping in occasionally to refill wine glasses. I didn't even see the wine list, so I'm not sure what we were drinking, but it was delicious and I'd thank Peter for suggesting it. He also mentioned the $600+ bottle (only 12 in the US?) that is apparently "out of this world," but that was a little expensive for us. Ha.

I started with the Peekytoe Crab and Egg Custard Soup. It was definitely more custardy than I was expecting, but rich and satisfying with a generous amount of crab. The +1 had the Red Snapper soup and raved about it. The spoonful I had was excellent. There was a moment of confusion when it was brought out since the bowl of snapper carpaccio was placed on the table before the soup was poured over it, but it was indeed as ordered.

It's hard for me to pass up the scallops, so of course I had that. Last night it was served with a "shiitake mushroom rice porridge." I was skeptical about the "porridge," but it was more like a risotto with mushrooms and peas. A great compliment to the perfectly seared buttery scallops. My date had the veal ribeye which was served with some of those creamy pureed potatoes and wild mushrooms.

Unfortunately we were far too full for dessert (no kit kat bar on the menu either), but we hope to have an excuse to return soon.

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I also was here recently and the meal was delicious as usual. We were also incredibly impressed with the cocktails, having had the St. Germain and the Cucumber one. Does anyone know if they're willing to give out the drink recipes? I know my wife would love to attempt to re-create the St. Germain.

I do have a complaint, however, which is that I found the dining room to be far too bright. The tables are nicely spaced, allowing for an intimate setting, but instead it was like being in a doctor's office...albeit a doctor's office with the Best. Food. Ever.

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I am loving Scott's (aka Scooter) cocktails! He added a really awesome & refreshing Thai Basil Mojito last night, but the Cucumber Gin Fizz is my favorite right now. Maybe if you PM him for the recipe for the St. Germain 75, he'll share his recipe.

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(Tripewriter can second the cocktails -- he said it was the best whisky sour he'd ever had :lol:)

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I do have a complaint, however, which is that I found the dining room to be far too bright. The tables are nicely spaced, allowing for an intimate setting, but instead it was like being in a doctor's office...albeit a doctor's office with the Best. Food. Ever.
We ate at Corduroy last week and had a great meal as expected. The new space is lovely, but I made exactly the same comment, the lighting is too bright and needs to be tweaked a bit to give a more intimate experience.

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I also was here recently and the meal was delicious as usual. We were also incredibly impressed with the cocktails, having had the St. Germain and the Cucumber one. Does anyone know if they're willing to give out the drink recipes? I know my wife would love to attempt to re-create the St. Germain.

I do have a complaint, however, which is that I found the dining room to be far too bright. The tables are nicely spaced, allowing for an intimate setting, but instead it was like being in a doctor's office...albeit a doctor's office with the Best. Food. Ever.

I enjoyed the cucumber fizz well enough to ask for the recipe, which one of the bartenders was kind enough to share.

And get the Peekytoe crab soup. Fantastic!

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NQD and I also had a great meal at Corduroy on Wednesday night. Ever have one of those days where various issues or concerns - none of them at all serious or immediately relevant - keep you in a semi-distracted state all day, never really able to focus on what's in front of you? Well, the food that came out of that kitchen on Wednesday is a pretty good cure, at least while you're eating. From the first taste it grabs you, stares you in the face and says "you WILL pay attention." On paper nothing fancy - chilled pea soup, roast baby chicken - but on the plate or in the bowl, it's as good as you could imagine such "simple" food could ever be. Flawless, except for my poor chicken carving skills. NQD's peekytoe crab soup and steak were equally good. The only flat note was in dessert. I had the chocolate tart with caramelized bananas. Two wonderful flavors on their own; the mint in the ice cream sitting on top of the bananas, while delicious, was unnecessary competition for both. Not exactly a major problem, but there it is. NQD's strawberry-on-strawberry concoction was a winner.

Oh, and I'd also love to see the St. Germain 75 recipe.

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the lighting is too bright and needs to be tweaked a bit to give a more intimate experience.

Sorry I don't do restaurant lighting. :lol:

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Corduroy is not participating in Restaurant Week promotion. I appreciate your patronage for the past Restaurant Week promotions. Please make your reservations accordingly.

On a side note: I will announce a happy hour menu in few days starting this week. Happy hour will be every week day between 5pm-7pm.

Regards,

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From the creators of `liquid liquidation libation`,

Starting tomorrow 07-09-2008 Wednesday between 5-7pm,

Corduroy will be serving `wine and cheese` happy hour.

Menu is very simple. All the wines we currently offer(eight different wines) by the glass will be priced as $6. I will make surprises time to time. Cheese plate will be $7. There will be 5 different cheeses on the plate which will pair well with the wines.

Happy hour will be served every weekday between 5-7pm.

!please pay attention to our dress code!

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