100 Best Restaurants 2010: Corduroy

No. 20: Corduroy

Cuisine: Simplicity is chef Tom Power’s mantra, and his well-balanced plates allow the high quality of the ingredients to shine through. You won’t find oddball combinations, just intensely flavored soups; beautifully cooked seafood, meats, and game; and sauces that enhance rather than steal the show.

Mood: Splashy abstracts on the walls, acres of polished blond wood, and furnishings and textiles in earthy shades make the dining area sophisticated and welcoming, though the space really comes alive when it’s full. Corduroy’s upstairs bar is something of a secret hideaway with its own menu, more affordably priced than the main dining room.

Best for: An intimate dinner with a close friend; a light meal at the bar after an event at the convention center across the street.

Best dishes: Kabocha-squash soup with a gauze-like cheese crisp; sublime red-snapper bisque; duck-egg-and-leg salad; lamb loin with garlic crépinette (a house-made lamb sausage) and creamed spinach; Muscovy duck with fig sauce; chocolate tart with caramelized bananas; house-made ice creams.

Insider tips: Request a table at the front of the restaurant; in the back, clatter from the open kitchen can be distracting. Corduroy’s location in a historically designated rowhouse means it’s not handicapped-accessible.

Service: •••

Open Monday through Saturday for dinner. Moderate to very expensive.

See all of 2010's 100 Best Restaurants

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.