January 2007 100 Very Best

Tom Power’s cooking is a mix of sensible combinations and technical skill.

No. 14 Corduroy

It’s on the second floor of a drab downtown DC hotel. The room has no personality. But then there’s Tom Power’s cooking. It doesn’t make a fetish of its sources and won’t provoke gasps over its baroque arrangements. If the practitioners of Modern American cooking are typically a boisterous lot, reveling in their mission to make it new, Power is just the opposite: an unshowy chef who proves himself again and again through his sensible combinations and technical skill.

Power has earned a following among food lovers who understand how rare it is to find careful cooking at reasonable prices. Soups and fish are his strengths—he has a knack for teasing out the essential flavors of a dish, rarely resorting to larding up his plates with cream and butter—and the best thing to do is to build your meal around them.

Elsewhere on the menu, look to pasta—a handmade tagliatelle is as good as any good Italian restaurant’s—a long-braised Asian-style pork belly with cabbage, and the roast chicken, a juicy, free-range bird with a golden-brown skin. They’re all dependable and often wonderful, a lot like the restaurant itself.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.