The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2011

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Page 96 of 128

OUR WHO'S WHO Rogue 24 This minimally lit, kitchen-in-the-round hotspot near D.C.'s Convention Center feels more like a theater than a restau- rant. The playful artistry of Chef RJ Cooper's avant-garde cuisine extends to the inspired beverage program, overseen by renowned mixologist Derek Brown of the nearby Columbia Room. Guests at one of the 52 coveted seats—including eight directly overlooking the sleek kitchen "stage"— choose either a 16- or 24-course tasting menu, with optional liquid pairings. Silky sea urchin, perched atop seaweed and an ink lava rock and garnished with briny foam, is matched by a riff on the Vermouth Cocktail, which diners "sip" via spritzes from a small metal atomizer; thinly sliced egg is wrapped around crème fraîche and topped with Ossetra caviar and gin-soaked cucumber, and served alongside a pump dispensing the genever-based Holland House cocktail. "The lines between service, drinks and food are all blurred," explains Brown. "The food and cocktails at Rogue 24 are all based in classic preparations but employ new textures, novel ingredients or delivery systems, so the discussion is about how we can surprise and delight the guest." Sommelier Matthew Carroll provides synergistic wine and beer pairings, and guests sans reservations can pop in for a libation and light bites in the 14-seat salon. Mixologist Derek Brown, who oversees the cocktail program at culinary playground Rogue 24, "wants people to experience classic cocktails in a new way, and introduce guests to the best fl avor combinations we, as professionals, can imagine." 96 / the tasting panel / december 201 1

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