A Blog Mainly About Food

If by "mainly" you mean "sometimes"

Monday, December 12, 2005

Green Plate Special

Saturday night after an amusing afternoon spent with my parents, a classmate, his wife, and my CDO (Career Development Officer, basically the person that controls the next few years of my life) I went to Corduroy to see what Chef Power had been cooking up. My date and I had already agreed that we'd sit at the bar, which was a smart decision -- the main dining area was hosting a private function. We pulled up stools and checked out the bar menu for the night, which (!!!) did not have the pork belly Rockwell types had been swooning about. Blast. But there were still plenty of awesome menu options. We decided to share the Kabocha Squash Soup and the spring rolls (natch); my date had the striped bass with a truffle-potato cream sauce and haricots verts. I went for seared ahi tuna served on sushi rice with shiso.

The soup and the spring rolls were, as expected, wonderful. Normally I'm not huge on squash soup, but I had settled on the spring rolls and deferred the choice of soup to the lady. She definitely made a good choice. The soup was rich without being overly decadent, though the texture was creamier than I thought it could possibly be. I resisted the urge to add some pepper or salt after my first taste, which was smart; subsequent spoonfuls made the subtle flavor more pronounced. The spring rolls were, as usual, awesome. I was mainly having them for the pork goodness (sans pork belly on the menu, I was compelled) but I'd forgotten just how good the spring rolls (not to mention the sauce accompaniment) actually were.

Side note: how crappy is the Sheraton Four Points? Let's put it this way: while we were having our appetizers, a pair of rather interesting gentlemen came to the bar and ordered a Coors Light and a Wild Turkey with water. Later, they each bought a Long Island Iced Tea to go and left the bar. At Corduroy. Now I don't mean to sound like too much of a snob but holy frijoles, that just screamed insulting. Corduroy shouldn't even be carrying Coors Light. Just should not.

The mains came out not to long after we had finished off the apps. The presentation of the seared tuna had me sold immediately: a beautiful square plate with a rich green border that transitioned to black at one corner, a delicious looking seared piece of tuna sitting on a bed of sushi rice that smelled like no rice I'd ever enjoyed (those familiar know my love of all things green). The meal tasted as fantastic as the presentation was beautiful, if not more so. The tuna was seared to that the inside was as close to raw as possible -- my favorite way to enjoy a great piece of fish. But (and I don't mean this as a negative, the fish was really really good!) that sushi rice. Wow. I savored every single bite and woke up Sunday morning thinking of the rice more. As a South Asian I've had my share of good rice, but never any rice this good. What was it? I tasted light hints of soy in the preparation, and the texture was divine. The light scattering of seaweed and a clear sauce I couldn't really identify made it even better. Really, there's no easy comparison here; the dish was creative without being pretentious (something that probably can't be said for my writing), presented artfully, and so delicious I can still taste it. Wow. My date's bass? I assume it was good; I had a taste, but immediately turned back to my own plate. She stated it was "pretty fabulous," and she's a fish snob, so I believe her.

One of the nicer touches of the evening came at the end, when Rissa (the GM) came up to say hello/goodbye. I'd only met her once prior, so I was very surprised she recognized me. As usual, she was sweet and great to talk to. On exiting, Ferhat (whose exact role I'm unsure of, but he's always there and dressed well) also said hello, and stated the common misconception that "off to Baghdad, eh?" (quickly corrected -- why do people keep asking me that?). It was amusing to have the date confused by the fact that random people seem to know me, though at this point she's probably not surprised by that sort of thing. It is a small town, after all.

So onwards and upwards goes my a bientôt tour of DC restaurants. I'm not sure where I'll be hitting next, but it's likely to be either Komi, Palena, or some cheap Salvadorean. And I can't wait.