Last night I had an excellent meal in an alley. I was in great spirits when I left close to midnight (maybe 11:30) when the Help, in his role as chauffer, came to pick me up from Blagden Alley's new attraction Rogue 24.
Now let me explain the subtitle of this post. Rogue's small dishes, many being 1 or 2 bites were beautifully presented. I would have snapped a picture of these gorgeous bits of edible art, but I signed a reservation agreement when I made my reservation, and it asked that diners refrain from taking photos. I do wonder if anyone else had to sign or if they did, bother to read that part, because there were a couple of cameraphones that came out. Anyway, if you need to see what I'm talking about see food photos here and here. I had a single reservation and sat near a family (parents in from Florida, and a daughter lives in MVSQ), where I carried on a conversation with the mother. At one point in the multi-course she asked, 'how do we eat this?' At other points too I wondered how exactly I was to approach something that was only one bite, not wanting to undermine the experience by eating it the wrong way. Most of the time the servers would explain how to enjoy it. As with the radish dish that you swirl it around with your finger. Well take the radish and swirl it, not your finger in the mix that the baby radish sat in.
Of the multi-course dishes that I really liked, I must say the lamb neck with the garlic, eggplant and lemon was heaven. The wine paired with it was oral perfection. Just perfection. Second most memorable, was the chocolate dessert called Tennessee. That was the only thing I think my husband, if I bothered to bring him, could have really appreciated. I really appreciated it, with the various textures and the cholocately-ness. We were seated where we could closely observe the cooks at work, and one fellow explained that the Tennessee included 'Oreo' that he made. Not Oreos from the nearby Giant or Safeway, but his own recipe.
Let me also mention that it was a real pleasure to be able to see the kitchen at work, to smell the hint of mint as flowers were pulled off a bouquet of spearmint. Me and the Florida family had the best seats in the house.
I will definitely return again when the budget and time allows. There are two pre-fixed menus (the whole table/party must chose one), the Progression, which is 16 courses at $100 ($145 with the pairings) and the Journey, 24 courses at $120 ($175 with wine pairings). I strongly suggest the wine pairing. The meal, regardless of if you go with the Progression or the Journey is 3 hours. My reservation was at 8pm, I did not get out of there until well after 11, on a school night.
A note- Among the wines paired there was one beer. Let me state, I hate beer. Hate. Beer. Never aquired a taste for it, and yes, I did attend the University of Florida. Every few years or so I taste a beer to make sure that I still hate it. The sommelier asked that I give the dark beer a try. I didn't hate it. I didn't really like it either, it was tolerable.