At long last, we've got an opening date for Rogue 24: Please mark your calendars for July 27, everybody. This is James Beard award-winning RJ Cooper's first restaurant, and it takes a page from his days at Vidalia with its 24-course tasting menu — plus a smaller 16-course tasting menu for those with smaller appetites. Both have optional alcoholic pairings created by the Columbia Room's Derek Brown that will up the price of the meal. The 24-course menu starts at $120 ($175 with alcohol pairings) and $100 will get you the 16 courses ($145 with the booze). As previously reported, there's also going to be a 14-seat salon with some a la carte options and cocktails.
There are only 52 seats in this self-described "theater in the round"-style restaurant, and reservations are available starting Thursday, July 14 at 10 a.m. Snag them by calling 202-408-9724. No reservations necessary for the salon. Fun fact: Rogue 24 poached its new reservationist Bonji Beard from Minibar.
The press release:
CHEF RJ COOPER OPENS ROGUE 24 URBAN FINE DINING RESTAURANT IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
Kitchen Stage Opens on July 27
WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 12, 2011 – James Beard Award–winning Chef RJ Cooper will open Rogue 24, a 52-seat urban fine dining restaurant in Washington, D.C., on July 27. The open kitchen, situated in the middle of the dining room, serves as the centerpiece of a “theater in the round” interactive dining experience. Guests will choose from the 16-course Progression menu or the 24-course Journey menu as a map to guide their culinary experience with Chef Cooper and his team of artisans.
“Rogue 24 is both a studio and stage for dedicated culinarians and sommeliers to have an immediate impact on guests with their knowledge and commitment to excellence,” said RJ Cooper, Chef/Owner, Rogue 24. “For guests seeking an intimate dining experience, we’ve turned the traditional restaurant inside out and brought the kitchen to the guests. Each table is a chef’s table, and each course is carefully constructed to build upon the flavors of the previous course, guiding the taste buds on an unexpected journey.”
Chef Cooper has assembled a team of experts in their field, whose creativity will enhance the guests’ experience. Matthew Carroll is the General Manager and Advanced Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. He was previously the wine director at 2941 in Falls Church, Va., and before that he was the sommelier at the prestigious Inn at Little Washington, also in Virginia. Chris Ford is the Le Cordon Bleu–trained Pastry Chef, formerly of Trummer’s on Main in Clifton, Va. In 2010, Chef Ford was named a StarChefs Rising Star Pastry Chef. Hilda Staples and Judy Cooper are also partners of Rogue 24.
Derek Brown, the acclaimed mixologist behind the Columbia Room, will create the avant-garde cocktail program. The menu includes cocktails paired alongside the food and unique libations offered in the salon. All beverages will be crafted at a cocktail station and finished tableside. As the beverage program is an integral part of the entire menu, creative nonalcoholic pairings will also be offered.
The intimate space does not have a classic bar, but the 14-seat salon will feature à la carte dishes and a menu of handcrafted cocktails made with small-production, artisanal liquors. The salon does not require reservations and offers guests a taste of the Rogue 24 experience.
Reservations accepted for a maximum of six guests will be available one month (to the date) in advance, beginning at 10:00 a.m. A credit card is required to hold the reservation, and cancelations must be made 72 hours in advance to avoid a full charge. Any dietary restrictions must be disclosed at the time of reservation. Reservations for July 27 will be available on July 14 by calling Bonji Beard at the restaurant, 202-408-9724. Previously, Bonji was the lead reservationist for Minibar by José Andrés.
Before opening Rogue 24, Chef RJ Cooper served as Chef de Cuisine at Vidalia, an award-winning Southern fine dining restaurant in Washington, D.C., from 2004 to 2010. During his tenure at Vidalia, Chef Cooper went “rogue” and created a 24-course tasting menu, which served as the original inspiration for his restaurant. With him at the helm of the kitchen, Vidalia received numerous accolades, including a three-star rating by Tom Sietsema, Food Critic for The Washington Post, and inclusion in the top 10 restaurants in Washingtonian magazine’s “100 Very Best Restaurants” issue. In 2006, Chef Cooper received the Rising Star Chef Award from Star Chefs, and in 2007 he won the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic.
THE BEVERAGE COLLABORATOR
2010 James Beard Award nominee Derek Brown is a self-described booze nerd; his love of bartending stems as much from books, maps, and molecules as working behind the stick. Derek holds seminars to educate drinkers throughout the country and behind the bar in the Columbia Room, his intimate laboratory and cocktail club. He was praised by GQ magazine for making the best martini in America, by Washingtonian magazine as one of the 40 most influential people in Washington, D.C., and by Rachel Maddow for the cocktails he crafted at the White House holiday parties. Derek writes for TheAtlantic.com and serves as a board member for the Museum of the American Cocktail.
The single-level, 2,600 sq. ft. alley space is as surprising as the cuisine, a place where turn-of-the-century architecture is infused with modern urban design. A single skylight and a long, partially obscured narrow window in the façade are the only exterior light sources, making the minimally lit dining room more like a theater than a restaurant. The sleek, modern kitchen is positioned in the very center of the space, completely exposed and flanked by four seats on the north and on the south sides, offering eight single diners a direct view of the working stage. Induction burners, instead of gas, will be used for cooking and are centrally positioned in the sculpture-like minimalist equipment and preparation area, which is accented by stainless steel and matte black granite surfaces.
Architects Brian Miller and Lauren Winter, principals of Edit, used the existing exposed brick and concrete structure of the former garage to inspire Rogue 24’s clean and simple design. A wood-and-steel front door leads into a glass vestibule for the first view into the salon, and to the kitchen and main dining area beyond, separated by wood and glass “walls.” A highly polished, copper-colored cement floor and simple fabric-covered seating with black ash wood tables allow the food and beverages to be the focus of diners’ attention.
For sample menus, photos, and event news, visit www.Rogue24.com and follow Rogue 24 on Facebook and Twitter.
Location: 922 N St. NW (Rear), Washington, DC 20001, located to the rear of N St. in Blagden Alley
Web Site: www.Rogue24.com E-mail: GoRogue@Rogue24.com
Facebook: Rogue 24 Twitter: @Rogue24DC
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday: 6:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Staff: Chef/Owner: RJ Cooper General Manager/Sommelier: Matthew Carroll
Pastry Chef: Chris Ford Beverage Collaborator: Derek Brown
Menu Pricing: The 24-course Journey menu is offered for $120 without beverage pairing, $175 with alcoholic beverage pairing. The 16-course Progression menu is offered for $100 without beverage pairing, $145 with alcoholic beverage pairing. All prices are exclusive of tax and gratuity.
The 14-seat salon does not require reservations. À la carte dishes and a menu of handcrafted cocktails will be offered to give guests a taste of the Rogue 24 experience.
Reservations: Reservations accepted for a maximum of six guests will be available one month (to the date) in advance. A credit card is required to hold the reservation, and cancelations must be made 72 hours in advance to avoid a full charge. Any dietary restrictions must be disclosed at the time of reservation. Bonji Beard manages all reservations via phone at 202-408-9724.