Book a Table for Turkey Time
Thanksgiving is coming. With it, you may have family coming to town, dinner to plan, Martha Stewart centerpieces to arrange and liters of alcohol to stock. Or you could just leave it up to the pros and book a table on the town. From budget-friendly to fine dining, there are plenty of Thanksgiving choices this year to suit you if you're dining alone or with your whole clan. As for the food, chestnut-lovers will rejoice in the popularity of the little nut in all sorts of stuffing options and there's plenty of pumpkin on the menus. There are also French and Indian adaptations, vegan fare and a few good choices in close proximity to the White House.
If you've eaten out for Thanksgiving in the past, share your experiences.
The cozy Morrison-Clark Inn seems a fitting choice for the day with a four-course fixed menu ($75 per person; $25, children under 12). Dinner is served from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. The menu includes wild mushroom consommÃ© with potato gnocchi, herb-roasted free range turkey with stuffing and sage gravy, grilled wild rockfish, chocolate bread pudding and a pumpkin ginger cheesecake. (202-898-1200)
If your Thanksgiving involves a walk around the Mall or past the White House, conclude with dinner at the Willard Room. The five-course meal will be offered from noon until 9 p.m. Menu items include sauteed wild striped bass, pan-seared organic salmon, free-range turkey with chorizo sage dressing and gravy, lamb loin and a tasting of autumnal chocolate. ($95 per person; $50, children ages 5-12). If your Thanksgiving eating is done prior to football, take advantage of the Willard's brunch. Served at 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m., the buffet-style brunch features approximately a dozen stations, with omelets, carving stations, dessert and a turkey station with traditional trimmings. There will also be a kids' buffet with child-approved all-American choices like pigs in a blanket and mac and cheese. (202-637-7305)
Nearby, the Washingtonian classic Oval Room offers a three-course prix fixe menu from noon until 8 p.m. ($45 per person). Choices from the elegant restaurant include butternut squash soup, chestnut ravioli, pork tenderloin with heirloom pumpkin confit, crispy skate with salsify, organic turkey with chestnut stuffing and sweet potato puree and cranberry sauce. Desserts include creme fraiche cheesecake and mulled cider soup. (202-463-8700)
. (Susan Biddle)
In a setting overlooking the Capitol, Charlie Palmer Steak celebrates with a three-course Thanksgiving feast served from 2 until 8 p.m. ($68 per person). The menu includes a curried cheese pumpkin soup with lobster dumplings, roasted turkey, braised leg meat with gravy and stuffing, and venison with sweet potato gnocchi. (202-547-8100)
Students who choose to stay around George Washington University can get traditional dinner at Tonic at Quigley's Pharmacy. The restaurant will serve a family-style prix fixe dinner ($22 per person; $11 for children) from noon until 8 p.m. Tables can choose between maple ham or roasted turkey with cranberry relish and gravy. In addition, customers will have a choice of three sides, which include stuffing, sweet potato mash, macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes. There are also vegetarian options. (202-296-0211)
For anybody hanging around Georgetown, Mr. Smith's incorporates a Thanksgiving meal of roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce and a dinner roll ($14.95) into the usual menu. The restaurant hosts regular hours from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. that day. Nearby, the Daily Grill has a special holiday menu in addition to its usual menu. Three starters and five entrees will be offered from noon until 10 p.m. The highlight is the traditional turkey dinner for $24.95 with vegetables, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes. Early birds can grab breakfast beginning at 8 a.m. (202-337-4900)
For an all-American celebration, Blue Duck Tavern has a menu of farm-fresh offerings throughout the day. From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., the restaurant will serve a three-course prix fixe brunch accented with an assortment of buffet-style hors d'oeuvres available in the kitchen ($80; $40, children ages 6 through 12). Dinner will be served from 6 until 10 p.m. ($80) with a three-course menu offering a starter, entree, sides and dessert. Choices include roasted turkey from Eberly Farm with giblet gravy, suckling pig with bourbon peaches, Maine lobster pot pie, chanterelle cornbread stuffing, pickled beets and apple pie with handmade vanilla ice cream.
Alexandria's Bastille puts a French spin on Thanksgiving with a prix fixe three-course dinner from 5 until 9 p.m. ($45). The menu includes roasted pheasant with chestnut stuffing and sweet potatoes, baby spinach with foie gras, prime rib and desserts like apple crumble and maple pecan streusel. (703-519-3776)
701 serves up dinner and some entertainment with a prix fixe meal from chef Alex Powell and live jazz. Served from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m., the three-course menu features roasted pear and beet salad with peppered caramel sauce, butternut squash ravioli, roasted turkey with chestnut-stuffed legs, trumpet mushrooms and cranberry relish, grilled lobster tail and desserts like figs with honey ice cream ($40 per person). (202-393-0701)
Thanksgiving doesn't need to be just about the turkey. Vegetate hosts a seasonal five-course menu for the vegetarian and vegan sets ($50 per person). The menu includes cream of celery root, leeks and chestnuts, a baked gouda-stuffed pepper, wild rice stuffing, baked sweet potatoes, blue cheese pancakes, pumpkin and feta cheesecake, and cocoa bread pudding. The restaurant will seat patrons at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. (202-232-4585)
If Thanksgiving in your family means bland turkey with forgettable sides, treat the gang to a meal at Rasika. The Indian hot spot offers its usual a la carte menu bolstered with a few Indian-inspired Thanksgiving specials. The highlight is the Dum Ka turkey, a breast marinated in onions, cashews, yogurt, garlic and ginger with cranberry cashew sauce and served with pumpkin mash and cumin-scented Brussels sprouts. I would happily go for palaak chaat over my family's traditional side dishes any day. (202-637-1222)
Clarendon newcomer Restaurant Three offers three courses in a prix fixe menu from 1:30 until 5 p.m. ($30 per person). The menu options include an autumn harvest soup, Caesar salad, traditional turkey with mashed potatoes and stuffing, bourbon molasses salmon with jasmine rice, vegetarian croquettes and roast pork with collard greens. Dessert includes homemade apple and pumpkin pies. Sides are an additional $5 each and include mashed potatoes, stuffing, collard greens and seasonal vegetables. (703-524-4440)
If you want to throw Thanksgiving to the birds, Legal Sea Foods offers a stuffed lobster rather than stuffed turkey. Filled with shrimp, scallops and cracker stuffing, the 1 1/4-1 1/2 pound lobsters start at $40. Traditionalists will appreciate the roast turkey with sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, squash and gravy for $23.95. Holiday operating hours vary at each location. Dinner will be served in Chinatown from 2 until 9 p.m. (202-347-0007), from noon until 8 p.m. at Crystal City (703-415-1200) and Bethesda (301-469-5900) and from 2 until 8 p.m. at Tysons (703-827-8900).
McCormick & Schmick's Seafood also gets into the Thanksgiving spirit with a special menu of turkey, giblet gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, Waldorf salad and apple butternut squash casserole ($19.95) served from noon until 10 p.m.. Dessert of pecan or pumpkin pie is an additional $3.95. The regular menu is available for those who turn their nose up at turkey.
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