When a friend tells you to drop everything and pull up an exclusive chair at Rogue 24 in Washington, D.C. to the tune of 24 courses with pairings, you don’t question it. You just venture to Blagden Alley and follow your nose (or in this case the smoke from an outdoor barbecue) to a large wooden door and a expertly simple dining room.
Add in the part where a friend tells you celebrity chef Tim Byres (Chef/Owner of Smoke in Dallas) will execute the Rogue 24 menu and filter in some of his best barbecue flavors as part of Rogue’s “Sessions” (a chance for Rogue’s owner R.J. Cooper to step away from his kitchen and undergo open heart surgery.) Then sampling the delights of Rogue 24 is an exclusive chair you can’t refuse.
Byres did justice to Cooper’s reputation with a menu that could school any foodie with its breadth of ingredients and creative flavor combinations. Take Rogue’s take on baba ghanoush: eggplant, yogurt, benne, and sumac served deconstructed and ready for your pita utensil to sop it up.
Or perhaps dessert is more your thing? Well they had that too; a full three courses worth. Green mango, peanut butter, cilantro, and coconut helped cruise us in to the end of our dining experience without overfilling us.
To get through 24 courses, including a bite of pig whose diet just before slaughter was only chestnuts and smokey broths filling bowls of clams, you have to concentrate (and document with pictures) but you can get there. Don’t worry. I have faith in you. That’s us mid-meal below…
Our experience lasted over four hours as we heard about each dish personally from every chef in the room and watched their work in the centrally-located kitchen. Byres visited our table at least three times to check on our progress. With snails, sea urchin, oxtail, and jellied everything arriving at our table, we progressed just fine.
Want to know more? My best advice is to drop everything and go to a session if you can. Follow your nose down Blagden Alley and get some bragging material. Either that, or look at my slideshow (below) and pretend you were there.