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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 8, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 23
The Cabinet's curiosities satisfy taste and tone
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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The Cabinet's curiosities satisfy taste and tone

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

CAFÉ NORDO'S CABINET OF CURIOSITIES
WASHINGTON HALL
Through June 23


A noble older building on Capitol Hill beckons you and, once inside, the outer world seems to disappear. You climb stairs to a dimly lit landing and are assigned to a group using a card deck. Your group is called by a guide, who cautions you against some of the dangers you might face in entering various rooms from the inhabitants, who are not used to a lot of people anymore.

The inhabitants might be ancient plants, or a couple caught in a time vortex in a café in Paris. Indeed, you will visit the Invasive Species Lounge, the French Salon, and the Crone Parlor, where the Crone will educate you about herbal medicine and medicinal uses for food. In each location you will be fed and provided with artful information. Eventually, all the groups will converge on the Grand Ballroom for a delightful banquet.

Be warned: even on a Sunday evening, the lengthy, languid pace of the meal will extend to three-plus hours. Ours lasted for three and a half. Yet, the price of entry is reasonable for the quality of the food and the many performers. And the seductive presentation encourages you to relax and enjoy and forget about clocks.

While some of the theatricality is forced and/or unnecessary, the performers are enthusiastic and committed. When you enter, you will likely be grouped with people you have never talked to, but through mixing and remixing in various rooms, you'll have the opportunity to chat a bit and get to know each other before recombining at large U-shaped tables for the rest of the meal.

The performers - Mark Siano, Opal Peachey, Sachie Mikawa, Evan Mosher, Aimee Bruneau, Maximillian Davis, Keira McDonald, Carter Rodriquez, Devin Bannon, and Samantha Mead - double as servers, a (probably unintended) pun on the menial outside employment so many actors are forced into. They do a good job at both.

If you're not a foodie, you need not fear going too far into exotic territory, though you might try a bite of rabbit for the first time. The meal is tasty and mostly familiar, with vegetables like radish, kohlrabi, and potato, and dishes such as celeriac soup and mushroom tart. You can avoid foods you don't like and still probably feel full at the end.

The mysterious Chef Nordo never appears, though he is referred to throughout. The masters of the idea are former Circus Contraption leaders Erin Brindley and Terry Podgorski. Given the tragic loss of two of the band's musicians (Drew Keriakedes and Joe 'Vito' Albanese) in the Café Racer shooting last week, it's a credit to Brindley and Podgorski that the show went on in the days following.

Café Nordo's Cabinet of Curiosities has been extended an extra weekend through June 23rd. You can go to www.cafenordo.com or www.brownpapertickets.com/event/240189 for more information or tickets, or call 800-838-3006.

Discuss your opinions with sgncritic@gmail.com.

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