DC Thanksgiving Dining GuideBy Rina Rapuano
November 12, 2013
While some of us would prefer to have Thanksgiving dinner at home, well within reach of the couch for a post-Bacchanalia nap, others would rather chew glass than deal with the monumental work it takes to pull together a Thanksgiving feast. Luckily, there are several restaurants willing to do all the heavy lifting, and there’s still time to make reservations if you act fast. Here is a roundup of places where you can avoid the fuss of a Thanksgiving dinner at home - and avoid your crazy Aunt Dot, who never fails to ask whether you’ve gained weight.
This downtown spot will offer a three-course menu from 11 AM-9 PM for $48 per person - $24 for children 12 and under - excluding tax and gratuity. Chef Tony Conte has chosen modern dishes that employ traditional ingredients, like oysters with Asian slaw, prime beef strip loin and pumpkin mousse. A live jazz duo of piano and bass will perform during Thanksgiving service (701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202-393-0701).
This Falls Church restaurant offers a three-course menu both for omnivores ($65) and vegetarians ($48) on Thanksgiving Day, as well as a special three-course menu for children ($25) from 11 AM-8 PM. We can vouch for the outstanding butternut squash velouté, and dishes like the ricotta herb ravioli, the turkey breast with mushroom stuffing and sweet potatoes, and the pear Williams ice cream cake sound equally intriguing (2941 Fairview Park Dr., Falls Church; 703-270-1500).
Ardeo + Bardeo
Reservations here will get you a three-course harvest menu that will include sweet potato and apple soup, braised pork cheeks “pot au feu” with black garlic polenta and roast turkey with sausage and apple dressing, and desserts like buttermilk donuts with bourbon-apple butter. The menu will be served from 11 AM-8 PM for $50 per person excluding gratuity and tax (3111 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-244-6750).
Art & Soul
A Thanksgiving Day buffet with all the trimmings is available from 11 AM-9 PM for $58 per adult and $29 per child, and includes such holiday favorites as turkey (three ways!), housemade maple ham, cornbread stuffing and pies (415 New Jersey Ave. NW; 202-393-7777).
Sample what an Italian might serve for Thanksgiving here for $48 per person, excluding tax and gratuity, for three courses served from 11 AM-8 PM. Chef Nicholas Stefanelli has put together a menu that includes roasted chestnut soup, rice fritters stuffed with pork ragù and a heritage turkey cooked two ways (1100 New York Ave. NW; 202-216-9550).
Blue Duck Tavern
Executive chef Sebastien Archambault presents a three-course “brunch-into-dinner” service from 11:30 AM-9 PM for $95 per person for adults, $42 for children six and older, and free for those younger than six. Guests will help themselves to starters placed throughout the open-air kitchen, lending the event a homey feel. Entrees will include roasted Maine scallops with celeriac mousseline and roasted suckling pig with baby vegetables (24th and M Streets NW; 202-419-6755).
Like the two Rasika restaurants also owned by Ashok Bajaj, this well-regarded Indian dining room will offer Thanksgiving-inspired dishes like Malai turkey marinated with yogurt and served with butternut squash bharta ($19.50) in addition to the à la carte menu. Dessert specials will also skew festive, such as with the pumpkin brûlée tart ($8). The menu is available from 11:30 AM-2:30 PM and from 5:30-10:30 PM (815 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-659-3727).
Founding Farmers and Farmers Fishers Bakers
The three locations in the restaurant group will serve a three-course Thanksgiving dinner from noon to 8 PM for $38 per person, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity. Dishes will include roasted chestnut cornbread stuffing, slow-roasted pit ham and pumpkin pie (Founding Farmers DC, 202-822-8783; Founding Farmers Potomac, 301-340-8783; Farmers Fishers Bakers, 202-298-8783).
A special Thanksgiving menu, which costs $55 ($21 for children), will be offered in addition to the à la carte menu, from noon till 9 PM. Choices include a first course of butternut squash soup, a main course of roast turkey and stuffing or a grilled petit filet, and a dessert of cheesecake or a red velvet sundae (515 15th St. NW; 202-661-2440).
The Lafayette at the Hay Adams
When nothing but a traditional Thanksgiving menu with traditional surroundings will do, hit this historical hotel for carving stations of roast turkey and slow-roasted Berkshire pork, as well as sage and celery stuffing, and mashed potatoes and gravy, among many other options. The special dinner will be offered from 11:30 AM-8:30 PM for $100 per adult, $50 for guests 12 and younger (800 16th St. NW; 202-638-6600).
Legal Sea Foods
The restaurant will offer its regular menu with specials of stuffed turkey breast with sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, butternut squash and cranberry sauce. The turkey dinner costs $21.95 per person excluding tax and gratuity; $7.95 for children 12 and under. Call individual restaurants for hours (704 Seventh St. NW, 202-347-0007; Bethesda, 301-469-5900; Tysons Galleria, 703-827-8900).
NoPa Kitchen + Bar
This American brasserie offers a three-course meal for $45 per person excluding tax and gratuity from 11 AM-8 PM. Diners can take the traditional route with a roast-turkey entree or go with a pan-seared pork chop or sautéed rockfish. Either way, we think the spiced pumpkin pot de crème with coffee crème fraîche sounds like a pretty tasty ending (800 F St. NW; 202-347-4667).
The Oval Room
A three-course Thanksgiving meal featuring such dishes as burrata with persimmons, free-range turkey with chestnut stuffing and a pumpkin cheesecake will be offered from noon to 8:30 PM for $55 per person, excluding gratuity and tax. Guests can add a wine pairing for an extra $35 per person (800 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-463-8700).
Rasika and Rasika West End
Executive chef Vikram Sunderam puts an Indian spin on Thanksgiving at both tony dining rooms during lunch and dinner services. The menus, offered in addition to the regular à la carte menu, will be different at each location but will include dishes like turkey cooked in a coconut-milk sauce, turkey dum biryani and cranberry raita (633 D St. NW, 202-637-1222; 1190 New Hampshire Ave. NW, 202-466-2500).
Table will be offering three Thanksgiving seatings on Thanksgiving Day at 11:30 AM, 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM. The cost is $75 for adults, $35 for children. Following welcome appetizers, guests can choose from a buffet that will include everything from turkey, stuffing and cornbread to braised beef cheeks, salmon chaud-froid and stuffed apples. Reservations are required (903 N St. NW; 202-588-5200).
If you're planning to cook at home, but you're already craving T-Day fare, check out these festive options.