March 26, 2013
Just in time for cherry blossoms and a closely watched week at the Supreme Court, Epicurious' new dining guide, Where to Eat Now in Washington, D.C., covers the capital with five can't-miss restaurants, a new crop of trendy neighborhoods, and one unforgettable day trip. As our writer, Washington Post dining critic Tom Sietsema, can attest, there's never a dull moment in DC dining--and drinking. In fact, Sietsema's top pick for a bar with exceptional food and drink is the lounge at Rogue 24, the lair of James Beard Award winning chef R. J. Cooper (above right) and his resident "chef-tender" Bryan Tetorakis (left). Watching Cooper and his crew create their avant-garde cuisine in the theatrical open kitchen is a key piece of the Rogue 24 experience, and recently Cooper added a similar stage dedicated to the cocktail craft of Tetorakis. In addition to visiting the lounge, those with a passion for potables can now reserve at the four-stool Spirits Bar where Tetorakis holds court, serving à la carte or a $55 trio of cocktails paired with small plates. Read on for the Spirits Bar backstory from Cooper. What possessed you to create perhaps the capital's most intimate watering hole, tucked away deep in Rogue 24's dining room? We all work in stations in front of our guests at Rogue 24. Bryan has a station in the back, and guests always were watching him and his commis. When I had a wild hair one day, I decided to go buy the stools, and it took off.? Spirits Bar is another extension of showing the passion of the craft we love. Tell us more about that show-and-tell aspect. It's a direct interaction with a chef-tender who is highly skilled in both preparations and creations of cocktails and food. Bryan's ability to work with spirits to connect with the food we have at R24 is brilliant. How have guests responded so far? We have had great feedback from Spirits Bar--in fact it is making its way into a monthly cocktail class where Bryan can show his knowledge and passion about spirits. What's on the menu this weekend? As far as the food, R24 is going through its seasonal change. One thing for sure you will have at Spirits Bar is Spanish sand eels/oyster emulsion/seaweed. As far as cocktails, Bryan's doing the enanito verde/Fidencio mezcal/celery soda/kümmel/absinthe/lime, for $12. Thirsty? If you go, let us know what you discovered at Rogue 24 or the other top spots in Epicurious' D.C. dining guide.
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