R.J. Cooper uses the expression “badass” as liberally as some chefs use salt. In recent months, he’s applied the phrase to his new chef de cuisine, a cocktail, and an addition to the menu at his outlier of a restaurant, situated in a dark alley and identified by a painting of a skeleton on a horse.
It therefore comes as a surprise that his tasting menus—24, 16, or 4 courses—take a comparatively cerebral approach to cooking. Going one better than the open kitchen, Cooper has staged Rogue as gastronomic theater in the round. You watch as your meal is assembled by chefs who don’t so much cook as manipulate textures and flavors into new arrangements and shapes.
This is niche dining for foodies, and even some of them may not have the patience for the preciousness. But there are wow moments: a mad scientist’s take on snack chips, edible trompe l’oeil, even dishes that might be recognizable in another setting as, well, entrées. Don’t miss:Crispy artichoke salad with Parmesan cream; fried skate with red-cabbage sauce; oxtail in the style of a Cuban vaca fritta;roast pigeon with pumpkin and chestnut. Open: Tuesday through Saturday for dinner. Very expensive.