Tom Sietsema files a 2.5 star review for Rogue 24 this week, dubbing it "one of the most interactive restaurant experiences this city has seen since Jose Andres introduced his magic show at Minibar in 2003." Yes, now that things have settled down over there — chef RJ Cooper is back in the kitchen and the hype "typically reserved for new vampire movies" is in the past — Sietsema offers his thoughts on a restaurant that is "as much food laboratory as dining room."
"How much you enjoy Rogue 24 depends a lot on your sense of adventure, your patience and your credit card balance - and whether you think dinner should be a science class, a celebration or a break from home cooking. Rogue 24 is all of the above."
Where the restaurant excels, according to Sietsema, are dishes such as the Japanese snapper or the minced lamb, a dish that "is so luscious, I could eat a bag of them." He also praises the cocktails from mixologist Bryan Tetorakis. On the other side, the critic notes there's not always a "careful handling of ingredients" — he finds grit in a squab dish and dry meat in one lamb dish. And the short, small, numerous courses? Well, that's both a plus and a minus: "If you don't care for something, fine. It's here and then gone. But the same is true of creations you might admire. They deserve more contemplation. Eating at Rogue 24 feels like getting an hour to tour the Prado." [WaPo]
Meanwhile, Todd Kliman visits Adams Morgan's Mintwood Place for this month's review, lavishing three stars upon the brainchild of owner Saied Azali and chef Cedric Maupillier, whose menu "invokes the giddy spirit of a mixmaster DJ who layers related but disparate sounds atop one another to create new sonic textures." By that Kliman means the combinations of escargot hush puppies and lamb tongue moussaka. But he also notes that Maupillier succeeds even when he plays it straight, such as with "a glorious cassoulet." Though the critic seems disappointed that the desserts were all-American...:
"That's not to say I didn't like the brownie sundae, a slightly less gooey version of what you often find. And I'll confess to letting out a moan over the apple pie, three inches tall and capped with a perfect crust. It's such a Platonic ideal of apple pie that it becomes an emblem. It'd be hard to be more patriotic if you were flying a flag over your table."
Seen American Pie much? Anyway, Kliman predicts that Mintwood Place will survive the unevenness that tends to plague restaurants after they've been open a few months, in particular is Maupillier and his sous chef Dawn Swaney are still there together. [The Washingtonian]
THE BLOGS: Adventures of a Florida Girl says that Seventh Hill Pizza is worth the visit; DMV Dining digs Bethesda's new Majestic; Bitches Who Brunch give Teaism and Boqueria each an A-, though noting both have potential to be rated even higher; DC-Wrapped Dates likes but doesn't love Boqueria; ForkingDC had some hits and misses at Bandolero at Tackle Box.
Rogue 24 [Photo: R. Lopez]