The Corson Building*

*disclaimer:  written under the influence of red wine and absinthe

Gustatory heaven.

I called a week in advance, fingers crossed, hoping that there would somehow be an opening for two.  No.  They were completely booked but would contact me if there was a cancellation or a failure to reconfirm.  Happily (ecstatically?  deliriously?  Maggie can attest to me jumping around and squealing like hemorrhoidal pig when I got the call) there was a last-minute cancellation – we were in!  I was given the run-down: arrive before 7, dinner was communal and served family style, plan on being there for at least 3 hours, probably 4.  It ended up being 4.5.  Four and a half hours of absolute bliss.

Being the anal-retentive girl that I am, we got there 40 minutes early.  Nobody was around, so Maggie and I strolled around the corner to the Georgetown Liquor Company for a pre-dinner drink.  At 6:45 we wandered back and investigated the grounds.  Three doves in a dove cote, a chicken coop replete with clucking hens, tons of fresh herbs growing in tidy beds. A mermaid fountain, outdoor grills and smokers.

People started filtering in a few minutes later and at 7 trays of sparkling rose were brought around by two astonishingly gorgeous servers (I hate to use this word, as one of them later functioned as a highly knowledgeable sommelier).  When everyone had a glass in their hands appetizers were brought out.  Air-dried salted albacore tuna on slices of yellow watermelon.

Angela: I am not a fan of “fishy” fish, so although I could recognize the balance of flavors, I wasn’t a huge fan and ended up giving the majority of my 2nd piece to Maggie.

Maggie: The pairing of the Rose with the fish & Watermelon was perfect, they complemented each other perfectly.  I did not find the fish “fishy” but more of an intensified tuna flavor.

A: Fishy.  Bleh.  *wrinkles nose*  The rose was magnificent, though.  I’m glad they gave me two glasses.

I got the sense that the servers were scoping out the diners as they mingled in the courtyard, determining the seating arrangement.  I could be wrong, but…Maggie and I were definitely seated next to the best possible matches for us – a yoga instructor and an artist/carpenter and their friends.

The first course was a salmon tartare with pickled currants (still on the stem) and thinly sliced fresh cucumber, served with a reisling from the Loire valley.

Note:  unless otherwise noted, assume that whatever is being described is utterly orgasmically good.

Second Course:  sliced fresh heirloom tomatoes topped with foraged marinated chanterelle mushrooms and buffalo mozarella, drizzled with a balsamic reduction.

M: the Chanterelles were a) unexpected, being so early &  b) delicious

Third Course:  green and yellow beans, grilled shrimp and herbed tomato jam with radicchio.  Served with a chilled chenin blanc.

Fourth Course:  roasted okra and beets.  This sounds plain, but it was friggin’ incredible.

Fifth Course:  this was the only plated course (everything preceding this was dished onto the same plate, which other reviewers have found problematic.  Neither Maggie nor I thought it was an issue).  Pan-roasted halibut cheeks with garbanzo beans, drizzled with a tomato sauce (maybe.  The folks at The Corson Building are very generous with the wine pours.  Holy bejebus.  So things started to get a bit hazy for me at this point). This course was served with a lovely shiraz.

M: the halibut cheeks were awesome! the texture was meaty and the taste buttery and rich.

Sixth Course:  whole roasted chicken with roasted peaches.  Simple, elegant flavors.  Soul-satisfying.  Somewhere between the 6th and 7th courses a plate of lavash topped with roasted whole black cumin seeds made its way around the table.

Seventh Course:  roasted lamb, wrapped in fresh horseradish  leaves and served with a yoghurt/tahini sauce and a bowl of fresh minced mint and italian parsley leaves.  Perfectly cooked, with a delicate pink center.

M: this was my favorite course, the lamb was perfect! I hesitated to add condiments, but trusted in the food gods & the chef and went for it. Results were amazing! dancing tastebuds. My co-diners offered me seconds and I took them up on it!

Dessert:  Arak liqueur served with hot green tea and chipped ice.  Rice pudding with fresh peaches and blackberries.

A: I made a spectacle of myself grimacing over the vileness of the arak.  I am NOT a fan of anise flavored things.  The rice pudding mellowed the licorice flavor, but still…I couldn’t drink mine.  Maggie was forced to consume it (well, most of it) as I found it to be spine-shiveringly gross.  No fault of Chef Dillon, just my own personal dislike.

M: All the courses were wonderful, to say that each course was better than the last would be untrue. It was more like the last course perfectly set you up for the next and made it even better.

A:  I agree.  Each course was a preamble, a preface to a slow-building climax.  Truly a transcendental dining experience, carefully thought out in terms of matching flavors, textures and richness.  Utterly brilliant.  I am definitely looking forward to eating here again.

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~ by angelarenae on August 26, 2008.

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