Young and Hungry

Up Next at Hogo: Rogue 24 Chef RJ Cooper

Chef Ed Hardy's Scandinavian menu at rum bar Hogo comes to an end after Saturday. Taking his place in the rotating kitchen beginning Tuesday is Rogue 24 chef R.J. Cooper, who will preview potential dishes from his forthcoming Mosaic District restaurant Gypsy Soul.

Cooper calls the cuisine "Southern ground interpretations of regional cooking." The dishes at his month-long Hogo pop-up with be "very straightforward food, very simple," he says. "It's very bar food-oriented."

The menu will be broken down into snacks, small eats, big eats, and sweet stuff. Among the snacks: pimento cheese with lavash (a flatbread) made with the spelt from a beer that Rogue 24 brews in-house. There's also grilled squid ink brioche with uni and seaweed jam.

"Small eats" will include blanched and seared green beans topped with a fried egg, shaved botarga, and pumpernickel bread crumbs. Cooper also plans to serve beer-battered sugar toad, a Chesapeake pufferfish whose taste is somewhere between crab and monkfish, with an emulsion of Rappahannock oysters.

"Big eats" include more Rappahannock oysters poached in Virginia sparkling wine with sautéed swiss chard, artichokes, toasted brioche, and lots of chives. You'll also find a few dishes from Cooper's Vidalia days, including chicken fried rib-eye with whipped potatoes and morel gravy as well as chicken liver mousse with grilled bread with vidalia onion marmalade. Also from Cooper's Vidalia archives: a PB&J dessert. Fried apple pie with vidalia onion-bacon ice cream will also on the menu, too.

Expect Cooper to pop in and out of Hogo. He'll still be in the kitchen at Rogue 24, where he's debuting a new menu tonight.

Check out the full preliminary menu below. (Note: some dishes may change.)

GYPSY SOUL

"Southern Ground Interpretations of Regional Cooking"

Snacks, $4

· pimento cheese/lavash

· chicken liver toast/onion marmalade

· sea urchin/ink toast/seaweed jam–$8 bucks

Small Eats, $8

· roasted green beans/fried egg/pumpernickel/shallots/botarga

· sweet pea emulsion/chesapeake crab/espelette pepper

· sugar toads/oyster emulsion/watercress

Big Eats, $12

· rapp oysters/artichokes/chard/bubbles/brioche

· veal sweetbreads/celery root emulsion/apple ravigote

· chicken fried rib eye/whipped potatoes/morel gravy (add farm egg for $2)

Sweet Stuff, $6

· PBJ/salted caramel

· fried apple pie/vidalia onion-bacon ice cream

· green mango/chillies/coriander/peanut butter/coconut

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • PB

    Given the declaration that this will be simple, stratighforward bar food, this menu reads like a bad joke. He could have at least attempted to make the menu sound unpretentious...

  • +1

    @PB--My thoughts exactly. I'm still looking for the Southern part, too.

  • Anonymous

    This guy is a bad joke, a bad pretentious joke. His menus tend to highlight what he doesn't know. Such avant garde sensations as "caesar salad", gimme a break!

  • dara

    Anonymous,

    How can he be a bad joke? His peers in DC and Nationally honored him with a James Beard Award. There is nothing pretentious about the menu PB.

    Does a menu have to read like MacDonald's or better yet White Castle for you all to understand it?

    DC haters again the snobs are you closed minded fools whom don't have the means nor the thought capabilities to understand the processes or drive that goes into this chef's craft.

  • SR

    Looks like a bunch of haters on here. This looks delish!

  • Lilian

    and what is this: sweet pea emulsion/chesapeake crab/espelette pepper ..... is this really food???

  • Novatronic

    "Southern Ground Interpretations of Regional Cooking". What the hell is that? Looking over the menu, I see four things I'd eat; 2 of the snacks, one of the big eats, and one of the desserts. That green bean dish would be good, but the Botarga is a dealbreaker. At least the prices seem reasonable.

  • PB

    I'm sure there's a good chance the food will taste good, but why the pretentious descriptions? Given his supposed mission, why not just say crab with peas and peppers and let the ingredients and preparation speak for themselves. "Emulsion," "marmalade," "jam," "bubbles," "whipped" = poser.

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  • pete

    So because of your ignorance, RJ Cooper is a poser. Get over yourself.

  • PB

    RJ Cooper says he wants to make "very straightforward food, very simple," he says. "It's very bar food-oriented." Is it off-base to expect that he would describe such food in a way that reflects this straightforwardness, accessible even to "the ignorant?" The best cooks/chefs I've come across don't feel compelled to flaunt every technique they've used in creating a dish. They let the food speak for itself.

  • BP

    RJ Cooper says he wants to make "very straightforward food, very simple," he says. "It's very bar food-oriented." Is it off-base to expect that he would describe such food in a way that reflects this straightforwardness, accessible even to "the ignorant?" The best cooks/chefs I've come across don't feel compelled to flaunt every technique they've used in creating a dish. They let the food speak for itself.

  • DrNo

    If you want your menus to read simply, that's one thing. RJ's menu reads playfully and informatively. And the way he writes his menus are basically industry standard for high end cuisine, so I really don't see why there are so many people being critical (especially without tasting anything).

    RJ has tremendous range, as anyone who's eaten at both Bibiana and Rogue 24 knows very well. And anyone who doesn't see evidence of "Southern" in chicken-fried steak and pimento cheese is blind. And stupid.

    Also, to be noted: if you want to create an artificial divide between farm-to-table cuisine and modernist cuisine, go ahead, but it's a naive position to take. Cooking is about both the ingredients and the technique, and any good chef is sensitive to both.

  • Great Ideas

    Hey everyone! Let's argue on the Internet about food we haven't tasted!

  • LL

    Really people...some of you just need to stick with TGI Fridays and Ruby Tuesdays. RJ's food is fantastic and I can't wait to try out Gypsy Soul. It's about time Northern Virginia got something decent.

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