100 Very Best Restaurants 2014: Rogue 24 (CLOSED)

Rogue 24. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

The expanses of exposed brick in this gorgeously industrial space are about the only conventional restaurant trappings you’ll see at RJ Cooper’s modernist mecca. Rocks, bricks, and tweezers take the place of tableware, the kitchen is smack in the middle of the dining room, and dinners come in 4-, 16-, and 24-course set menus. If those last two options sound challenging, know that a single meringue or Kusshi oyster with lime “caviar” may count as a course and that Cooper’s cooking values brow-raising surprise over belly-patting satisfaction. Not every dish succeeds—we could have done without the twig-like dehydrated carrots—but nearly everything is thought-provoking. Cooper himself is a boisterous, unpredictable figure—he’ll chastise a diner for not finishing an herb leaf one minute, then rush a blanket over to the shoulders of a chilly woman the next.

Open: Tuesday through Saturday for dinner.

Don’t Miss: The menus change frequently, but recent hits have included black bass with Meyer lemon and fennel; crispy pig tails with blood orange; Brie/sweet-onion fondue with Madras curry; kuri-squash soup with maple and chili; and the Usual Suspects cocktail, with cachaça, tonic, and pineapple.

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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.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.