100 Best Restaurants 2009: Corduroy

No. 19: Corduroy

Cuisine: In an age of look-at-me chefs, Tom Power is as much a throwback as his Johnny Unitas–style hair. He eschews experimentation and showing off in favor of simple, true flavors—from exceptional soups to hand-rolled pastas to unfussy preparations of fish, seafood, and game.

Mood: Removed from its charmless space in a Sheraton hotel to a townhouse, the restaurant now exudes quiet sophistication, with warm lighting and subtle Asian accents. Power dislikes music, thinking it a distraction from the food. To those fed up with the brassy, noisy new restaurants that now dominate downtown, his policy will come as a relief. But sometimes the room is more hushed than peaceful.

Best for: Diners alienated by forced juxtapositions and bewildered by ingredients they’ve never heard of; anyone seeking a leisurely, elegant meal.

Best dishes: Rouge Vif d’Temps–pumpkin soup, a silken, lightly sweet broth over a small mound of minced bacon; snapper bisque; salad of duck egg and duck-leg confit; roast chicken with shallots and arugula; pan-roasted duck with fig sauce; pepper-edged, seared bigeye tuna with sushi rice; tarte Tatin of local apples; pistachio bread pudding.

Insider tips: The new bar menu offers some of the area’s best cooking at a fraction of the cost of the upstairs dining room.

Service: •••

Open Monday and Saturday for dinner, Tuesday through Friday for lunch and dinner.

See all of 2009's 100 Best Restaurants.  

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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.