December 10, 2015
Special to DC Metro Theater Arts
We have been awfully damn nice this year, and we feel we ought to treat ourselves to some comforting foods and a bit of fine dining. I’m sure you’d agree. After all, as your self-appointed elves spreading good cheer – and entertainment! – we need to remind ourselves that it is the season of joy. The following festive spots with their fabulous menus, provide us with charming respites for friends and family to make merry. We hope you’ll join us before you make your appointed rounds.
Warmest holiday greetings from your friends at Whisk and Quill.
P.S. We could use some bubbly and Mrs. Claus’s Bourbon Balls recipe. Hay is around back.
Blue Duck Tavern at the Park Hyatt
For those that prefer serving Christmas dinner at home, Blue Duck Tavern has a terrific plan for dining at home for the holidays. It features a traditional Christmas ham, along with freshly baked breads, four traditional sides and two seasonal pies. This classic American feast is for six to eight guests, and is priced at $350 (tax not included).
For getting the party started a charcuterie and cheese board is priced at $95 (tax not included). This special offering includes a selection of domestic farmstead cheeses and charcuterie items, along with homemade mustard, seasonal preserves, spiced nuts, and crispy Lavash crackers. Plated by Park Hyatt Washington’s Cheese Specialist, Sophie Slesinger, it comes on a handcrafted wooden platter. Christmas dinner will be available for pick-up at the Pastry Pantry on December 24th from 1pm to 5 pm, or on December 25th from 11am. to 2pm. Orders must be placed by December 17th at 5pm. To place an order, call 202 419.6775 or visit https://www.giftrocker.com/BlueDuckTavernChristmas and specify the date and time of pick-up.
Blue Duck also provides a perfect spot for tea. Why? Because in addition to scrumptious savories and jams from Executive Chef Franck Loquet and Chef de Cuisine Brad Deboy – and Pastry Chef David Collier’s to-die-for sweets – the restaurant has their very own tea specialist, Christian Eck, who doubles as the restaurant’s sommelier. Certified through the Court of Master Sommeliers, Eck knows not only wines but high quality teas and stands at the ready to share his vast knowledge.
Last week we enjoyed a lavish savory selection of Lobster BLT on brioche, Oysters on the half shell with celery relish, Chicken Salad wrapped in a cabbage leaf and devilled eggs. On the sweet side were a rainbow of tender macarons; Chocolate Caramel Tart topped with sea salt; Berry Tart; decadently rich Financier Cake; Cranberry Raisin scones with clotted cream, strawberry jam and lemon curd; and fabulous Nutella Eclairs.
For our tasting, Eck cheerfully poured from glass teapots with warming trivets as we sampled Gyohuro, a Japanese green tea and one of the most exclusive teas on the market, followed by a cave-aged, vintage Pu-Erh tea harvested from the ancient trees of Yunan, China. Naturally fermented this 16-year old tea is renowned for its health benefits. And lastly we tried the lightest tea, Mallorcan Melon, a delicate tisane grown in a micro-climate of cold days and warm nights.
“The Tea Table”, as it is called, it is served Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 2:30pm to 4:30pm. At 1201 24th St., NW, Washington, DC 20037.
Last month’s dinner at 701, in its recently renovated digs, convinced me that newly installed Executive Chef Ben Lambert is up to the challenge of dazzling diners with a mouth-watering three-course feast for Christmas Day revelers. Guests can order from the á la carte menu, as per usual, but who wouldn’t want to try these seasonal specialties? Choose from such starters as Chestnut Soup with duck confit and foie gras powder; Beets with green apple, pecans and pomegranate vinaigrette; Crab Beignets with frisée and a carrot romesco sauce; and Beef Carpaccio with broccoli, fried baguette, and cured egg yolk vinaigrette. Main courses prove equally as inspired – Suckling Pig with potato polenta, plum jam and piperade; Monkfish with salsify, oyster emulsion and lemon thyme; Cauliflower Shawarma with hummus, tomato jam and lavosh, or the unusually named, Green Circle Chicken with parsnip purée, Brussels sprouts and chermoula.
This over-the-top dinner concludes with a choice of Crème Brûlée with pumpkin ganache and gingerbread ice cream; Butterscotch Pudding with apple confit, biscotti and pomegranates; PB&J, slice of peanut butter cheese cake with concord grape ice cream, or Chocolate Crémeux with passion fruit ganache, cocoa meringue and vanilla ice cream. Live jazz throughout the evening. At 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004. For reservations call 202 393.0701 or visit www.701restaurant.com.
Central Michel Richard
A deliciously craveable collection of all your French Christmas favorites are at this contemporary American bistro with a French influence – snowmen meringues, Bûche de Noel, winter black truffles from France and other specialties for holiday celebrations. Be sure to try one of Wine Director Brian Zipin’s wonderful winter cocktails – Winter Sangria made with Domaine Dupable Beaujolais, St Germain elderflower, brandy, grapefruit juice, fresh apples and oranges and freshly grated nutmeg; Spiced Maple Manhattan, a balance of Eagle Rare 10-year old bourbon, Lucano Amaro, Dolin Sweet vermouth, spiced maple syrup and Peychaud’s Bitters served over block ice with brandied cherries; or the suggestive Blood, Rye & Sand made with Sonoma County Rye, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, Cherry Herring and blood orange juice, with orange peel. Pére Noël would approve! The sophisticatedly casual cuisine by Richard, winner of the James Beard Foundation’s “Best New Restaurant” award, offers distinctive menus for holiday office lunch parties and family gatherings, as well as pre-fixe dining before or after the theatre. Open on Christmas Eve for lunch and dinner, closed on Christmas Day, and re-opening for dinner December 26th. At 1001 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004. For reservations and information call 202 626.0015 or visit www.CentralMichelRichard.com
At Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca Executive Chef Jake Addeo has a traditional Feast of Seven Fishes five-course tasting menu planned. Available from 5pm – 9:30pm on Christmas Eve the dinner will feature fish and pasta. Highlights include Nantucket Bay Scallops Crudo with pomegranate seeds, mint, caramelized lime and olio verde; Raviolo with Maine lobster, burrata, cherry tomatoes and tarragon butter; Spaghetti Neri, squid ink spaghetti with razor clam, guanciale, pickled chili peppers and ‘aglio e olio’, as well as Gamberoni, grilled giant prawn, roasted puntarella, preserved lemon and wild sea urchin butter. To cap it off there is Torta, a warm molasses cake, with crystalized ginger and candied pecans, served with brown butter gelato. At 1100 New York Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20005. Valet parking is available for $8. For reservations call 202 216.9550 or visit www.bibianadc.com.
L’Hommage Bistro Français
New to the bustling Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood, L’Hommage Bistro Français, offers diners a four-course tasting menu on Christmas Eve from 5pm to 10pm. This quintessentially French spot is reminiscent of the iconic Parisian brasserie, La Coupole, and is cheaper than a flight on Air France. Classic French dishes prepared by Executive Chef Josh Laban Perkins incorporate traditional cooking techniques while paying tribute to the true flavors of French cuisine. The special menu begins with a Plat de Tartine that includes torchon de foie gras served on brioche; fig-cured duck served on raisin walnut baguette and duck rillettes, served on palladin bread. It is followed by a Warm Poached Pear Salad with smoked lardon, Roquefort société, candied Basque walnuts and Dijon vinaigrette. The main course is Canard Roti et Confit, a chestnut honey roasted duck breast with confit leg, roasted chestnuts and cherries. A selection of petite pastries prepared by Pastry Chef Bouchaib ‘BiBi’ Benahmida concludes this Francophile’s dream. At 450 K Street, NW, 20001. For reservations, and information about hosting a private party, call 202 791.0916 or visit http://lhommagedc.com.
For the first time, Nick Stefanelli will bring Italian tradition to Masseria on Christmas Eve and share his innovative take on the culinary customs with Feast of the Seven Fishes at Masseria on Thursday, December 24th when he opens the doors to guests for a one-night-only Italian holiday feast. The set-menu includes dishes such as: Linguine al Farouk, a fanciful curried pasta dish with saffron, ginger, and mixed seafood (lobster, calamari, clams, and mussels); Poached Cod with tomatoes, onions, and potatoes; and Fritto Misto of fried prawns, calamari, cauliflower, oysters, and lemon. The sweet finish will offer Delizia al Limone, a limoncello sponge cake with lemon Bavarian cream. In the season of giving, Nick will send every guest home with a festive home made panettone. At 1340 4th Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002. For reservations call Masseria at 202 608.1330. www.Masseria-DC.com
Acadiana prepares a special “Christmas Eve with a Cajun Taste” dinner on December 24th. The four-course feast will feature seasonal favorites such as Fried Turkey, Rack of Lamb as well as the best coastal cuisine of New Orleans. In true Louisiana fashion, the dinner will begin with a Lagniappe of Seafood Gumbo, then guests will have an array of appetizers from which to choose such as Lobster Étouffée, Classic Turtle Soup, or Duck Jambalaya. Entree selections range from New Orleans Style Barbecue Shrimp, to the “Grillades & Grits”. Dessert choices include Spiced Pumpkin Crème Brûlée, Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Pudding or Pecan Tart. Guests also have a choice of a la carte sides. For reservations and more information call 202 408.8848 or visit www.AcadianaRestaurant.com
If you’re doing your shopping at the Westfield Montgomery Mall, you may want to take a break at the Met Bethesda where Chef de Cuisine Andrew Kerne is offering two festive specials in addition to the á la carte menu. Known for its martinis on tap, this fast casual spot plans Salt Crusted Red Snapper with herb-scented roasted baby potatoes and broccolini as well as a holiday cocktail of Limoncello Pomegranate Prosecco. Only on December 11th-12th and 18th-19th during lunch and dinner service. At 7101 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda, MD, 20817. For reservations or additional information, call 301 767.1900 or visit www.metbethesdamd.com.
No place in town says Georgetown tony chic than the historic Federal period townhouse at 1789. Decked out with wreaths, antique toys and garlands for the Christmas holidays, it is the penultimate spot for an old-fashioned holiday experience with contemporary cuisine. Executive Chef Samuel Kim has a special menu planned in addition to a seasonal á la carte menu for Christmas Eve. Swoon-worthy dishes include Foie Gras Torchon with orange marmalade, brioche, Medjool dates, pickled celery and hazelnuts; Coddled Egg with lobster, oyster mushrooms, fennel and uni foam; Bucatini with Nantucket Bay scallops, Meyer lemons, fried capers and parsley; Rack of Lamb with eggplant caviar, Picholine olives, chickpea panisse, roasted tomatoes and parsley oil; Roast Prime Rib with pearl onion confit, glazed haricot verts, salt-baked new potatoes, horseradish cream and au jus; as well as Maine Lobster with root vegetable hash, rainbow Swiss chard and truffle butter sauce. The Washington Men’s Camerata will be caroling in the restaurant nightly between 7pm and 9 pm from December 13th through Christmas Eve. At 1226 36th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007. For reservations, call 202 965.1789 or visit www.1789Restaurant.com.
On Christmas Day and Christmas Eve, Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC will be open for dinner only offering its full menu, à la carte, with the addition of a few specials by Executive Chef Joe Palma to include appetizers such as the Lobster Bisque with Warm Lobster Celeriac Salad and lobster roe emulsion (tack on an extra charge for Perigord truffles); and the Heirloom Rye Gnocchi with Braised Lamb Leg in red wine. Special entrée selections include Seared Dorade ‘Veta la Palma’ with bouillabaisse, chorizo powder and braised fennel; or the 22-ounce Porterhouse Steak with maître d’ butter and whipped Gruyère potato; available both nights. The team of sommeliers, lead by Head Sommelier Julian Mayor, will provide wine recommendations from its astonishingly diverse selection of 500 wines. At 2800 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20007. For reservations and information call Bourbon Steak at 202 944.2026 or visit www.BourbonSteakDC.com
David Guas penultimate Louisiana-style restaurant has your holiday all wrapped up to go. With Creole Cringle Cakes (orders must be placed 48-hours prior to pick-up). This year he stocks his larder, also known as the “Candy Corner” with Southern sweets, treats and holiday candies. These yummy stocking stuffers are tied up in ribbon and available for purchase daily starting Wednesday, December 10th. Try the Candied Creole Pecans; a Trinity of Pralines in traditional, chocolate, chicory coffee; Heavenly Hash Fudge with pecans and marshmallows; or decadent Peppermint Bark made with 70% bittersweet Valrhona chocolate. A holiday catering menu should thrill any host or hostess looking for party bites, sides and pies. At Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery in Arlington, Virginia 1515 North Courthouse Road, Arlington, VA 22201. www.BayouBakeryDC.com
On Christmas Eve, Marcel’s, Chef Robert Wiedmaier’s haute French Belgian flagship restaurant in Washington, DC, will be open serving its regular tasting menu and featuring signature dishes from Boudin Blanc with celeryroot puree, chanterelle mushrooms, foie gras poultry jus and truffle; and Seared Rare Ahi Tuna with pickled ginger, tobiko and ponzu gel. At 2401 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20037. For reservations call 202 296.1166 or visit www.MarcelsDC.com