6 Essential Eats Before Summer Ends

By Olga Boikess  |  August 6, 2013

In August, seasonal bounty is at its best, and talented chefs are turning these farm-fresh ingredients into delicious creations. But the clock is ticking toward the end of summer, and these dishes won’t stay on menus for that much longer.

What’s more, the calendar is filling up with must-do summer foodie happenings, most notably Beer Week, August 11-18, with its seemingly endless round of tap takeovers and beer dinners, culminating in a preview of the sold-out Bluejacket BBQ. There won’t be time to recover before DC’s Summer Restaurant Week tempts with bargain eating August 19-25, not to mention that the summer pool party season (think: Recap Sundays at the Penthouse Pool Club and the see-and-be-seen swim-and-sip sessions at the Capitol Skyline Hotel) ends anytime between Labor Day and mid-September. So get out your planners and get scheduling. 

Finally, to help you make the most of mid-summer eating, here’s a rundown on seasonal dishes that will disappear before you know it.

  • Credit: Moshe Zussman

    Central: Salad Caprese and More

    Wizard chef Michel Richard’s version of the quintessential summer dish gets added richness from his use of burrata and his preparation of cherry tomatoes as confit. Other dishes that won’t be on his Penn Quarter French American’s menu much longer are an ahi tuna and watermelon salad, and an eggplant gazpacho.

    1001 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.; 202-626-0015

  • Firefly: Gazpacho and Halibut With Carrots, Peas and Pistou

    Better buzz by this Dupont Circle New American restaurant soon because its daily changing gazpachos, based on the likes of summer squash or melon, will soon be off the menu. Also slated to disappear is its must-try pan-roasted halibut with carrot purée accented with pistou, fingerling potatoes and snap peas.

    1310 New Hampshire Ave. N.W.; 202-861-1310

  • Mandu: Cold Noodles

    Chilled buckwheat noodles are warm-weather Asian fare. At these DC Korean restaurants, one of the most popular summer dishes is mool naengmyeon, which consists of noodles served in an ice cold beef broth with sliced brisket, spiced radish, Asian pear, cucumbers and a hard boiled egg (pictured). Or there's bibim naengmyeon, which is similar but omits the broth (instead, there’s a fruit-infused chile paste to mix in).

    1805 18th St. N.W.; 202-588-1540
    453 K St. W.; 202-289-6899

  • Mintwood Place: Peach Croustade and Greek-Style Chopped Salad

    Chef Cedric Maupillier brings Provence to his Adams Morgan French-American bistro with a warm croustade featuring local peaches poached in vanilla syrup. Tender, flaky pastry is filled with the fruit and almond frangipane, and served with a nougat ice cream flavored with dried melon and apricot, and dolloped with fresh raspberry coulis. Also disappearing soon is his Greek-style chopped salad that offers fresh layers of summer flavors and textures (green and wax beans, bell pepper, tomatoes, arugula, cucumber, onion capers, anchovies).

    1813 Columbia Rd. N.W.; 202-234-6732

  • Pearl Dive Oyster Palace: Crab Cakes with Creamed Corn

    Taking advantage of the Chesapeake bounty of crabs, corn and tomatoes, this 14th Street New American offers crab cakes with creamed corn, corn spoon-bread, braised greens and confit cherry tomatoes. It leaves the menu when the vegetables lose their sweetness and crab prices rise.

    1612 14th St. N.W.; 202-319-1612

  • Smashburger: PB&J Shake

    At its Fairfax foray into the DC area, this burger chain transforms a childhood favorite sandwich into a creamy frozen treat. This blend of brands (Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream and Nutter Butter cookies) plus strawberry syrup will only be whipped up through September. 

    10160 Fairfax Blvd., Fairfax, VA; 703-291-1264