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Cork Wine Bar, 14th & Riggs St NW - Chef Jason Schreuder Replaces Kristin Hutter


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Finally, Ron Tanaka is going out on his own, and will be running the kitchen at Cork Wine Bar.

Cork will be opening in mid-January, and will be focusing primarily on old-world European wines. It will have 67 seats, and the opening menu will be written by co-owner Diane Gross.

But the news here is Tanaka, who is widely admired among insiders as one of the greatest kitchen talents in all of Washington, DC. He's spent the past three years at CityZen, the past two as sous chef. Before that, he spent five years at Citronelle, where he rose through the ranks to become saucier, then sous chef. Sous chef at both CityZen and Citronelle!

Tanaka is downplaying all of this, emphasizing that his opening role will be one of execution. "We're doing small, Italian tapas-sort-of plates," he said. "We're going to be doing simple things, like a Caesar salad. It's going to force me to use a different type of creativity."

I nudged Tanaka to start thinking about some of his own dishes to slip onto the menu down the road. 'It will be a couple of months until things get into full swing,' he said, imploring me not to make a big deal about anything. Then he added that "all I'm going to be doing is running the kitchen."

Maybe so, but finally, after years laboring in the shadows of giants, you've got your own kitchen to run. Congratulations, Chef Tanaka, and we'll see you next year.

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I hope our city's young 14th Street dwellers remember the time when Cork was one of the few good dining options on 14th Street; now, these pioneers have been "joined" by a good dozen other medium-high

This information is more newsy than restauranty or foodie.   I found it interesting insofar as the owners of Cork are deep established within the liberal/activist/leftie world of DC.  Its been a very

"Wine Bar Sues Donald Trump for Unfair Competition over D.C. Hotel" by Rich Gardella and Tracy Connor on nbcnews.com

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The point I was making is that there already ARE places where one can go for reasonably priced wine and small plates of good food in DC (Bistro Lepic, Sonoma, the bar at Courderoy are three that jump to mind and ot much is jumping in my mind this morning....). Veritas has wine but not a real kitchen so just meat & cheese.

I welcome more such places! The more of us that are not killing customers with $15- 4 oz glasses of wines that the restaurant is paying $10 a bottle for the better. Another one, whether it specializes in Italy, France, OZ, VA, Ca, OR or even TX will just make DC's wine scene even better.

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I applaud the emphasis on European wines. That takes courage these days, with the dollar as weak as it is, but it's also a bold statement on the part of the management.

Selling American, or any wines with English-language labels is the path of least-resistance. I worry that too many establishments don't want to take the time to train staff (or even bring in people who are perfectly willing to do it for them, often gratis) because they want the wines to sell themselves, they don't want to have to "sell" these wines, and they prefer to have labels that their customers can understand.

To a certain point, I can sympathize with that, but then the purist in me takes over. Why deny your customers some of the most interesting wines in the world? I'm not advocating buying super-expensive wine, but there are legions of bottles which are of good quality and still very reasonably priced.

I can't wait to see what Cork has to offer, I'm quite excited by this happy development.

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My only problem is, how am I supposed to keep up with all this! We haven't been to Corduroy since Mr. Brown was there, we haven't been to Dino since the summer, and we've never been to Beck at all! And now there is another must-do place! Aaaaaaah!

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My only problem is, how am I supposed to keep up with all this! We haven't been to Corduroy since Mr. Brown was there, we haven't been to Dino since the summer, and we've never been to Beck at all! And now there is another must-do place! Aaaaaaah!
We had an absolutely lovely time at Ray's last night.

Yea, we all really sympathize with your plight :(

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My only problem is, how am I supposed to keep up with all this! We haven't been to Corduroy since Mr. Brown was there, we haven't been to Dino since the summer, and we've never been to Beck at all! And now there is another must-do place! Aaaaaaah!
Someone, whose name you know, does two-a-days, and sometimes three-a-days.

It's all a matter of priorities.

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I applaud the emphasis on European wines. That takes courage these days, with the dollar as weak as it is, but it's also a bold statement on the part of the management.

Selling American, or any wines with English-language labels is the path of least-resistance. I worry that too many establishments don't want to take the time to train staff (or even bring in people who are perfectly willing to do it for them, often gratis) because they want the wines to sell themselves, they don't want to have to "sell" these wines, and they prefer to have labels that their customers can understand.

To a certain point, I can sympathize with that, but then the purist in me takes over. Why deny your customers some of the most interesting wines in the world? I'm not advocating buying super-expensive wine, but there are legions of bottles which are of good quality and still very reasonably priced.

I can't wait to see what Cork has to offer, I'm quite excited by this happy development.

Having seen this numerous times before in establishments that I was fortunate to be a part of, the issue isn't trainning, typically its the guests who have already established a wine choice or region in their head. many times trainning leads to frustration on the part of staff when they try to sell 'outside the box' and thus leads to caving in down the road.

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On going staff training will be a high priority as the mandate from the owners is education. Not only will the front of house taste and learn the wines on our list, the kitchen staff and support staff will be encouraged to do the same. We hope to create an atmosphere of learning that will apeal to neophytes and wine geeks as well. Of course some patrons may just teach the staff on certain things(yes, I'm talking about you Jake!). :(

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Finally got a sneak peek at the full wine list, WOW. I counted 77 varietals!!!!

Tom,

Any more detailed info on an opening date you'd be willing to share? Eagerly anticipating this given proximity to home ...

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Happy to have the opportunity to update here.

Opening Night = Tuesday, January 29th.

The website is due to be up sometime this week.

The space there is terrific, larger than it would appear. An excellent wine cave (literally!).

The official address is: 1720 14th St. NW. If you are driving UP 14th St. it is on the left, just past R St. and the Verizon phone office. Riggs St. does appear to be just opposite the restaurant.

Now, here's the GREAT news, for those of you in the restaurant industry: Sunday nights will be industry night! Come and socialize with your fellow bartenders, servers, chefs, et. al.

This is going to be a wonderful place and a genuine boon for that neighborhood. Wish I lived or worked even closer to it.

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Is this the space that used to be that coffe shop Sparky's? That place is bigger than it looks.

Yes, it is the site of where Sparky's used to be.

Since the official opening night is the 29th, there's probably some activity inside with final preparations, so it might look busy.

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Yes, it is the site of where Sparky's used to be.

Since the official opening night is the 29th, there's probably some activity inside with final preparations, so it might look busy.

Right you are Joe! Final prep and our shake down period(mock service) are underway now. Everything is coming together swimmingly and we look forward to seeing everyone next week!

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I´m pretty excited about this place and can´t wait to get over there so I will be there the 29th

I stopped by yesterday (because I saw people sitting at tables) , hoping they would have a soft opening. Instead, they were having a (closed) trial dinner It looked very inviting.

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Well, Cork is a terrible, horrible place that nobody should ever go to. Why? Because I live around the corner and I'll never be able to get a seat there if it's crowded :)

We had a great time last night sitting at the bar (thank you, Tom, although I never made an introduction). I'll let the wine geeks speak to the strengths of the list, but I found it varied and quite interesting (all Old World producers). Even better: the price points are a lot gentler than what I had expected; I didn't see a glass over $14, and the bottle prices were reasonable. Most of the stuff that interested me was in the $8-11 range. Saw a number of folks trying the flights (4 yesterday were: sparklers (various); chenin blanc; cab franc; and I forget)

It was pretty packed the moment I got there around 6:30. By the time my wife and a friend arrived around 7:30 there was barely room to move around in the front. I can see this being a problem on busy nights since the long axis of the bar runs along a narrow space and servers were having issues negotiating the crowds. The back rooms are pretty wide open; we liked the "loft". Are there any plans to put a table in the "cave", or will that just serve as a staging area?

The food: we only sampled a few small dishes, but almost all were winners. A plate of chicken Mirabella had nice balance (I normally don't like the combination of flavors in that dish). Simple, sauteed wild mushrooms were fantastic. Roasted sunchokes with garlic slivers were quite good, but maybe could have benefited from a larger dice; some of the smaller pieces were a bit dried out. House smoked trout salad with shaved fennel was really nice (greens were a tad overdressed, but the trout was stellar). And the fries. Oh my, the fries! Some of the best I've had: thick cut, perfectly crisped on the outside, great texture on the inside. Wonderful (roasted?) tomato ketchup on the side.

The cheese plate was so-so, and we saw a couple plates going out with different configurations; it looks like they are still working on the plating. Ours came out as a number of small pieces, some of which were frankly dried out. I would rather have whole hunks to slice myself. Good bread to accompany, though, and a drizzle of red wine reduction to sop up.

Overall this place is a real neighborhood gem. I just don't expect to be able to get in the door for the next few weeks! :mellow:

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didn't see the cocktail list (we were content with wine) but did get a chance to try a couple of desserts, and can wholeheartedly recommend the goat cheese cake. as can lackadaisi, who stole about half of my dessert while i wasn't looking.......

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I got to Cork last night around 8:45, and it was as packed as I'd expected. I'd planned to get there at 7:30, hoping that I'd beat the crowds, I'm rather relieved to hear that it wouldn't have made any difference :mellow:

I tried the Carmelized Sunchokes, in walnut oil and lemon salt. I've never had such an app before, and they were darned tasty. A wonderful alternative to traditional bar fare.

Next I had the Pan-crusted Brioche sandwich of prosciutto, fontina and Path Valley egg. This was a delicious sandwich, of moderate size (i.e. just enough sandwich to bed down my appetite, not a huge

meal unto itself).

These small plates have always been a great idea to me, as they encourage the diner to try several things and share. If you're just a little bit hungry, they're perfect portions. If you're more hungry, just order more plates.

TedE, I'm so glad to hear that the frites are a winner. I almost ordered them, and I'll be sure to do that next time. To me, frites are a nice little barometer for how a kitchen is performing - simple, but easy to take for granted.

My friend and I started our wine-imbibing with the Zilliken "Butterfly" Riesling 2006, a deliciously-dry offering from (arguably) the best grower in the Saar region of Germany's Mosel area, and the Château de la Greffière, Mâcon La-Roche-Vineuse "Vieilles Vignes" 2006, one of my all-time favorite white Burgundies: crisp yet balanced, what chardonnay wine in that price range ought to be.

We couldn't resist asking Tom to make us a couple of cocktails and he obliged in fine style. Our first was something that he called "Honey and Spice", which had a base of plum wine and pepper vodka, and darn-me-but-I-can't-remember-the-rest (little help, Tom?) and it was really delicious. He served them up in what looked to me like margarita glasses.

Next, we had a cocktail for which Tom had no name - prosecco, green chartreuse, tequila and velvet falernum, served in a flute. It SMELLED fantastic, and was seriously tasty. I may have to re-stock our green chartreuse, this drink could catch on.

My friend completed the evening with grappa (can't remember which one, but there are only 4 types on the list, I think) and I had Murray-McDavid Caol Ila 14-year single malt. Nice and warming.

I was very gratified to see so many fellow Rockwellians in attendance, including (briefly) Rocks himself. I hope you all had as much fun last night there as I did.

Can't wait to go back, but I'm concerned that, as soon as the Post and Washingtonian write up Cork, there will be lines down the block. As it is, word of mouth has virtually guaranteed a packed house every night for the next couple of months, but when word really gets out it will be an 11 on a 1-10 scale of crowded. Perhaps Sunday nights will be best for me.

Congratulations to all the folks at Cork, they deserve it, and for those of us who get emotionally invested in our dining spots, this is one that you can really get behind and feel great about.

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I dare say that Cork's fries are the best fries in the city. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the fries' lemon zest flavoring (a mix of garlic, parsley and lemon, i'm told.) Just heavenly. The Chicken Liver Bruscetta - with a caramelized shallot side sweetly cut the marrow-ish flavor of the chicken livers. The distinct creamy bacon flavor in the Celeriac salad hit the spot, too. I can't wait to go back and try more.

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In the hour or so I spent there this evening, I was the only person who drank a cocktail. Too bad, with mixmaster Tom Brown at the helm, adding sangarees (wine-based cocktails) to his usual litany.

Also spotted--Rachel (ex-Firefly from the good old days) behind the bar, and Jeremiah from the Tabard Inn and a certain food critic, at the bar.

Oh by the way, the list is incredible, selection and pricing. I might've picked some different geeky Italian wines than the ones they picked, but I'll still be happy happy to drink the ones that are on there. And the French stuff is spot-on.

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Wow, this has been such an incredible opening week- so much support from friends and so many new friends! Thanks so much! Our cocktail list is out soon, who knew getting the right paper for the menus would be such a bitch? Be sure to check out the wine flights if you stop by, there are some really fun things going on! :mellow:

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Since I live in the neighborhood, I have been anticipating Cork's opening for some time now. I was so excited when it opened, I made plans to go both Friday and Saturday nights this past weekend. They seem to be inconsistent with their reservation policy (or so I hear), but I called to make a reservation for 6 people at 6PM on Friday. We show up, and it is already crowded. When I checked in with the man working the front, he had no record of a reservation, and was actually very rude about it, almost implying that the whole sitaution was annoying for him. I had never received such an off-putting "welcome" before. They were able to seat us, and we loved it. The service was great, the food and wine fantastic.

I liked it so much, I made plans to come back with a friend for dinner on Saturday. We decided to use their much advertised 30-minute call ahead policy. So at 7:30 I call. Voicemail. I continue calling and continue getting voicemail. I understand its the first couple weeks of opening, but I feel as if you are going to advertise a policy, you should be prepared to use it. I walk over and put our name on the list and was told it would be an hour wait. We return an hour later and check in. At this point the bar is so crowded, there is almost no where to stand without being shoved against someone else. I check in with the same guy from Friday night, and he replys that it will be at least another hour. No apology, nothing. Again, he seemed annoyed. I said I felt that it was not right for our reservation to be pushed back AT LEAST another hour, and he replied "what do you want me to do about it, make people get up?" I honestly can not believe this is their front of the house. At first I thought it was the owner, but I can not believe an owner would treat customers like that. We left, and as we were leaving I heard another girl tell him she tried to call but she kept getting voicemail. His reply, "Cant you see we are busy?". They left as well.

I love the food, wine, and atmosphere of Cork and am thrilled to have a neighborhood place, but waiting 2 hours for a table is crazy and dealing with someone like this is not my idea of a fun night out. Has anyone else experienced this?

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A solid start to a lovely Mardi Gras last night with a few mates at the bar. Our own Tom Brown is still not getting that much chance to explore his cocktail muse, but his rum punch was a perfectly Carnvalicious start to the evening.

And R. Dumont brut rose NV, from the Aube (prime pinot noir country in the south of Champagne) is stunning for the princely sum of $47. For the whole bottle. Let it open up in the glass; like many pinot-based bubbles, it needs the air.

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Had dinner there on Tuesday evening. After a very slow start (the place was packed) the meal proceeded nicely. Calamari, Fries, Duck Confit, Flatiron Steak all were great. The citrus zest on the fries was unusual and tasty. Save room for the cookie plate for dessert.

-Ed

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I found the calamari to be cooked very nicely - it was very tender, and except for the flavor could be easily confused for the shrimp. I did, however, find the batter to have a very flour-y after taste and had a sweetness reminiscent of pancake batter. The fries are as everyone has mentioned, sensational. The lemon zest adds something special, while the house-made ketchup is reminiscent of an Indian curry.

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So am I crazy to think I can try this place tomorrow night? We want to see a band in the area and this sounds just right for a light meal and a few drinks beforehand. The website says to call ahead 30 minutes in advance, but I see someone made reservations? I don't get out in DC very often, so I'd like to not mess this up too much. TY!

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So am I crazy to think I can try this place tomorrow night? We want to see a band in the area and this sounds just right for a light meal and a few drinks beforehand. The website says to call ahead 30 minutes in advance, but I see someone made reservations? I don't get out in DC very often, so I'd like to not mess this up too much. TY!

The website says that you can reserve for "pre-theater," qhich I assume is before 6:30 or 7. I haven't been back since opening night, but based on that experience and what's been posted here, I would no way count on eating here if I were going to show up after 7 and timing was tight. Just too likely to be too frustrating, especially with a place just getting used to being open. Make your best calculations and add an hour for confusion and crowds.

On the other hand, I believe the kitchen is open until 11:30, so it might be worth stopping in after for a bite (depending on when the show is). Maybe you should just go to Ben's.

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So am I crazy to think I can try this place tomorrow night? We want to see a band in the area and this sounds just right for a light meal and a few drinks beforehand. The website says to call ahead 30 minutes in advance, but I see someone made reservations? I don't get out in DC very often, so I'd like to not mess this up too much. TY!

At 6:15 last night I called, and was told they didn't take any reservations after 6:30. I then asked what my odds were of getting a party of four seated at 6:45 (on a Wednesday) without a wait, and was told 80%. We all arrived closer to 7:00, and there was about a 15-30-minute wait for our table - not too far off the mark, because if we had arrived on time, we could have probably sat right down. That having been said, at 7:15 PM, it became VERY crowded, and at 7:30, it was bumper-to-bumper traffic. And noisy! And worth the wait! Get the french fries!

I'd also like everyone to notice the highly literate motif of 15-minute increments in the preceding paragraph, thus placing the reader in the middle of the action, experiencing the process in an almost "24-like" fashion alongside the author. Barf barf barf.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I'd also like everyone to notice the highly literate motif of 15-minute increments in the preceding paragraph, thus placing the reader in the middle of the action, experiencing the process in an almost "24-like" fashion alongside the author. Barf barf barf.

Cheers,

Rocks.

I knew it - DonRocks is actually Jack Bauer. :mellow:

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