Chow The Corson Building, at Last
posted by June 10 at 14:11 PMon
The Corson Buildingóthe new Georgetown restaurant/microfarm/oasis from Sitka & Spruce’s Matthew Dillonówill start taking reservations by phone this Friday (here’s the number). It was supposed to open last November; as it nearly universally goes with restaurant build-outs, it was all much more complicated and time-consuming than expected. (I should’ve known better than to get so specifically all wound up in print last September.) The first official event was a June 7 dinner with Anthony Bourdain (tickets were auctioned online to the final tune of $600 a plate; more info/photos by a rich man here). At the very well-attended open house last night, Jerry Traunfeld (formerly of the Herbfarm) said his north Broadway restaurant, Poppy, is on schedule to open after Labor Day. He was standing next to Dillon. “Don’t rub it in,” someone said. Dillon and his business partner, Wylie Bush, both were quietly jubilant.
Wylie Bush and Matt Dillon
Food for the party was provided by the Hallava Falafel truck parked out front; Arctic gusts of wind (though, shockingly, no rain) were provided by June. (Perhaps with an assist from climate change—though growing up here, I experienced summers like this about every four or five years; they were known afterwards as “the last time we didn’t have a summer.” People were pretty philosophical about it—it’s good for reading and listening to music—and exposure to such weather provides an inoculation of low-level, ongoing depression that is very helpful in modern life. But I digress.) A pug ran around in a rhinestone (or diamond?) collar; a toddler was entranced with the small planes flying very close overhead and with the stairs that lead to the balcony. The new raised beds in the yard are full of herbs and lettuces and veg that (of course) are doing better than most, despite the recent, endless total eclipse of the sun. The plum trees look good, as do the chickens. (The latter were initially raised by John Sutton of art trio SuttonBeresCuller; a while back, one of the birds was reportedly almost killed by the dog belonging to erstwhile Stranger writer Matthew Richter. Rescued from the very jaws of the great beyond, the near-death chicken remains in Sutton’s South Park coop, where it does not flap its wings like the others, but is eating and otherwise doing fine.) Also, there are doves; a friend of a friend was getting rid of them, and Dillon felt he ought to give them a home. (Will tiny hard-boiled dove eggs appear on top of salads made from the freshest possible greens? Maybe.)
Out front, the fountain of Venus has been repaired (though half of her concrete conch shell, held aloft and spouting water, is still missing). A big barbeque around the side looks very promising. Inside, the plaster has been repaired, but not overly so, with some brick still showing through cracks; the fireplace with its lion ornamentation is working. It’s rustic and nearly nauseatingly charming—the light through the rows of glassware in the windowed pantry, the fox-and-pheasant-and-boar bathroom wallpaper, the heavy door to the meat curing room. The kitchen, added onto the back, is big and airy and has a pleasing view of people playing soccer in the field across the train tracks. The kitchen is maybe a little bit bigger than the front of the house—a chef’s golden ratio, same as at the (much smaller overall) Sitka & Spruce.
Dillon will be spending much of his time at the Corson (who could blame him, he said). Sitka will mostly be left in the capable hands of sous-chef Cormac Mahoney, who was looking very dapper in a suit and tie at the Corson housewarming. Sitka’s default motto, on a small chalkboard at the bar, is “Food worth standing up for.” The Corson—which will have canning parties and cookouts and events (possibly yours—talk to Dillon), as well as the 30-seat, a-few-nights-a-week restaurant—promises to be worth the wait.