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Corduroy - way missed the mark

  • l
  • leah Dec 30, 2006 01:25 AM

By all accounts, Corduroy should have been a memorable experience, am I right? Well, it was memorable - but not positive.
Please tell me if it was just an "off" day or are all of you hounds who write glowing reviews really in love with the place and willing to put up with crappy service and very long waits.
If so, what are you in love with?
OK, on to our experience:
Wed. Dec 27th
12:15 reservations for two- (one table occupied the dining room upon our arrival).
12:40 our food order taken (we had been served our glass of wine by now)
1:00 appetizers arrive (not kidding!)
(spring rolls were delicious and the goat cheese app very nice)
1:30 entree's served. Nothing to write home about (monk fish + roasted chicken breast with tiny ravioli which reminded me of a glorified chicken noodle soup / nothing close to what the menu or the server described.
All the while, approximately 6 other tables filled up in the dining room. Everyone waited for their food just as long.
2:00 no time for dessert, as we had a 2 hr parking meter running out of time.
Decor: personally, I could go either way describing it. I wanted to love the place, so when I sat down, I thought "comfortable" (somewhat worn out and boring) but wouldnt have bothered me had the food and/or service been what I was expecting.
A very sad Christmas flower wimped out of a vase which was center stage in the room. I think this is where "hotel" environment plays into the picture. Who was around during the Holiday week that cared about the atmosphere?
The kitchen was ridiculously slow.
The place was totally understaffed in the front and the back
(but then again, with less than 8 tables in the course of two hours....maybe they thought they could do it?)
$120 later - total disappointment.

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  1. I, too, have never understood the fascination with Corduroy that some have on this board. The ambiance screams medium class hotel, the service is slow, and the food is simply nothing special. I suppose we will get outraged posts telling us how very wrong we are but where Corduroy is concerned, I simply don't get it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Dakota Guy

      Unfortunately all restaurants have off-days....my experience with Corduroy (about 10 meals there over the past few years) has been uniformly positive. The food has always been excellent, the service somewhat variable, the decor unremarkable but comfortable and the price/quality ratio very, very high.

      I especially like to go there during Restaurant Week when they have the full menu available at very reasonable prices.

      1. re: Dakota Guy

        Outraged? Eh, not that important to get all bunched up about an opinion, but that's just my opinion.

        I think it started out as a nice joint with understated decor where you could easily get a table and decent food for the price. I've had some service issues a couple of times but the food was pretty good for the most part. My gripe with the place now is with the prices. As a poster noted below, $32 for a few scallops is pretty darned high compared to what they used to charge. Not really the value it once was, but I would still consider stopping by the bar for one of the desserts.

        1. re: MarkF

          I agree completely. That and the food is just ok. Plus what's with the overpriced mozzarella stick on the menu? You don't ever need to fry good cheese, just let it be good cheese.

      2. My dinner at Corduroy was responsible for me signing off this board for a year... I just couldn't understand why so many chowhounds were so crazy about it. My food was horribly oversalted/flavored (and I love salt and flavor)- really nothing was that good. I was prepared for the terrible atmosphere but I thought the food would be decent.

        1. We were going to pick this for our next Guys Night Out but the picker checked it out the other day and had this to report. Guess we definitely won't be going there now. I sent him the link to this thread the night after he went there! Too late for him. This is what he had to say about it:

          "Ha! Well, I'll have you know, I went there last night, and I recieve this mail before I get a chance to tell you about it.
          Not so great indeed. The windows are dirty in the hotel, which might mean nothing, but in retrospect could have been a harbinger. The restaurant itslef smells funny, like fermented cider, mildew, something like that.
          The service is slow, no question. And having been a waiter for many years, I don't indict waiters for this easily. The arrival of the food is slow also, but it is my experience that these are quite possibly seperate problems. No matter. It just takes a long time to eat there.
          The menu is very limited, which is not uncommon for a high end joint, but only one fish, and it was a whole one.
          The food was good, but I just don't like the style of 4 scallops for $32 and $7 for itsy bitsy dessert.
          We must go elsewhere sir!"

          1. I was also suprised be my dissapointing experience. Ive read many good post ad write ups and all fell short. The problem is when you get to a point of popularity and you charge the price, the reasutant should not have a bad day..and according to others..it has had a few bad days recently..across the board, service, timing, execution of cooking, atmosphere and personality all fell drastically short of expectation.

            1. Just to back up Jim - I've never had anything other than stellar food and service at Corduroy. They put the entire menu on for RW, a rarity these days. Tom Power is an absolute wizard with soup, and the Pork Belly is orgasmic. Happy hour at the bar is one of the best bargains in town.

              5 Replies
              1. re: DanielK

                DanielK, can you please tell us more about the happy hour at the bar. What do they serve, and what are the prices?

                1. re: JoshInDC

                  I don't remember all the details, but a number of the starters are $2-$3 off, and they have some drink specials as well.

                  I know that I can go and get a bowl of soup, an order of spring rolls, and a couple of beers, and the bill before tip is under $15.

                  1. re: DanielK

                    $3 pints and discounted apps, including $6 for a half dozen oysters. Really a great deal.

                2. re: DanielK

                  put me in the win column as well. It's classic and comfortable, and I like the decor much better than all the hard-edge crappy plywood cutouts being hammered together at places like Ps-7. They have a great wine list, the best scallop dish in the city, and the desserts, especially the chocolate desserts, are excellent. I just wish chef Power would update the menu a little more so I could have more excuses to go back and try new things. not that a good steak frites at the bar ever gets old.

                  1. re: DanielK

                    We ate there during RW this year (1/07). The Pork Belly meat was delicious but there was so much fat (as I expected but which did not impact until it was on my plate). My husband had the starter with mozzarella (porcupine) which was not buffalo moz and the porcupine was shredded phyllo dough which he said was a little like shredded wheat. My starter, beet and carrot salad, was very good, as was my dessert of pistachio bread budding. Our guests had the lamb and the fillet of beef and gave them high ratings, as they gave the apple tart.

                    The service was exquisite, the surrounding plain and simple but not off-putting. They have valet parking with validation.

                    For RW they had a number of plus prices (lobster salad, for instance) but it was not out of hand.

                    I'd go back, but probably only during RW :)

                  2. My experiences have all be very good, but I admit, it has probably been 9 months since I've been there. I think as a "board community" we have to welcome these seemingly authentic comments for exactly what they are.

                    My far greater fear is that we become a board that will not allow criticism of certain restaurants, either because they are board favorites, or because someone associated with the restaurant posts here, or worst of all, because the poster hopes to ingratiate him/herself. It's all downhill after that.

                    1. My wife and I went there last night. The food was delicious, and the waiter was adequately attentive. The decor is understated, but I didn't get the feeling it was cheap.

                      What did sort of put me off is that most of the patrons were wearing jeans; The guy next to me was wearing sneakers; There was a crying kid on the other side of the room whose parents didn't seem to think to take out of the restaurant; And there was a really loud group in the bar who seemed to be having a MUCH better time than we were. All of these things, I'm not quite sure the restaurant has much control over.

                      1. The restaurant has control over the front of the house if it wishes. Many restaurants have dress codes. The host can very politely ask loud groups to take it down a notch and the same host can inquire to the parents of a crying child if there is anything he can do, e.g., warm a bottle. All it requires is the desire for a certain decorum, the will to enforce it, and the talent to do so without offending clients. Many restaurants achieve this balance.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Dakota Guy

                          True, but Corduroy is also a hotel restaurant. The hotel probably forbids them from enforcing a dress code, and they'll have to be more hospitable to young kids than other fine dining destinations.

                          Though I wasn't there the night Pappy was, I'm definitely guilty of being part of the "really loud group in the bar" from time to time...

                        2. The restaurant's website says "Dress Code: Upscale Casual (shorts are not permitted in the dining room during dinner)."

                          http://www.corduroydc.com/about_cordu...