Editors' pick

Rogue 24

Nouveau American
$$$$ ($35 and up)

Editorial Review

2012 Fall Dining Guide

2012 Fall Dining Guide
By Tom Sietsema
Washington Post Magazine
Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012

If you have yet to reserve at this much buzzed about alley restaurant created by chef R.J. Cooper, one of the dishes you can look forward to is Japanese red snapper served with puffed black rice. Ginger, cilantro and chilies shoot through the construction, dainty enough to require tweezers to eat it. Another novelty on both the 16-course Progression menu and the 24-course Journey scroll finds whipped aged Parmesan, fried baby artichokes and itty-bitty flowers in a tilted glass bowl: a pudding like no other. Working from a kitchen in the center of the dining room, Cooper and colleagues also rethink steak tartare; minced raw lamb and tzatziki foam nestled in a ruffle of lettuce is an elegant, one-bite taco by way of Greece. Dinner might involve more airs, powders and technology than you like, but Cooper's flights of fancy are never, ever dull. And the chef listens to his regulars. A new four-seat Spirits Bar lets diners watch cheftender Bryan Tetorakis strut his stuff, and a new four-course menu means they can give clients or dates the flavor of the place without spending 3 1/2 hours with them. More finesse, fewer flaws. Rogue 24 rocks.

The Shaw Guide

Rogue 24 is tucked away in Blagden Alley, and the nighttime walk down the uneven bricks of the National Register of Historic Places-listed passage makes you feel like you are really going somewhere. The destination is a meal that may last upwards of three hours, a point underscored by the name of the $135, 24-course menu called "The Journey." There's also a 16-course, $115 menu called "The Progression," and a four-course menu that's somewhat easier on the wallet ($75) but only available Tuesday-Thursday.

But take note: The prices include dinner and a show, with the entertainment provided by chef R.J. Cooper in the central, open kitchen where he and his team assemble the courses with scientific precision. Maybe a seared foie gras with honeycomb and ice lettuce, or an escargot gnocchi, or some other delicate combination of flavors that inevitably involves tweezers.

-- Maura Judkis