Metro Weekly

A few D.C. restaurants worth splurging on over Thanksgiving

Eating out this Thanksgiving couldn't be simpler -- or more filling -- with our handy guide

Chai Spiced Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving is intended to be a feast, though not usually a fancy one. But for any foodie with an urge to splurge, the Michelin-starred Blue Duck Tavern in the West End offers an all-American, three-course, prix-fixe indulgence that’s as pricey ($125 per person, pre-tax and tip) as it is hard to beat. For starters, you won’t find a fancier Beet Salad than the one here with lemon-pickle turnip, candied pistachio, fennel, Avruga caviar, croutons, and honey-thyme vinaigrette over a bed of mixed greens. And that’s just par for the lavish first course from Executive Chef Troy Knapp’s menu, also including a Chilled Seafood platter and a Local Cheese & House Charcuterie spread. Amish Farm Turkey with cranberry gravy and bread dumpling is the most traditional among the main course options, vying with Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes and Slow Roasted Prime Beef Ribeye. Side dishes include Beetroot Gnocchi, Crispy Brussels Sprouts in a maple-bourbon-ginger reduction, Potato Puree, and Glazed Carrots & Kohlrabi. Pastry Chef Erin Reed has refined variations on pumpkin and apple pies, among other seasonal selections, for the finish. In the Park Hyatt Washington, 1201 24th St. NW. Call 202-419-6755 or visit blueducktavern.com.

Central Michel Richard has long been an unfussy special-occasion destination, and that’s as true now as ever, with a relatively affordable and altogether delectable three-course Thanksgiving meal ($58 per person). David Deshaies carries on the legacy of the bistro’s namesake, who passed away last year, and his French-American menu offers staples such as Warm Spinach Salad, French Onion Soup, plus wild card options including a Pumpkin Soup with fried egg, prosciutto, and scallion. Hanger Steak or Duck Leg Confit are two classics competing for Second Course with Thanksgiving Turkey paired with gravy, mushroom stuffing, cranberry sauce, and potato gratin. Pumpkin Pie with vanilla mascarpone and cranberry confit is one sweet standout, although you can’t go without breaking off a piece of Michel’s Chocolate Bar. 1001 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Call 202-626-0015 or visit centralmichelrichard.com.

For a more exotic splurge, try Rasika, particularly if you’ve never been to this revered temple of fine Indian cuisine. Every Thanksgiving, Executive Chef Vikram Sunderam offers a special turkey dish at lunch and dinner in addition to the regular menu full of shareable small to medium plates. This year’s is Turkey Tikka Masala ($20) — broiled turkey breast in a sauce of onion, tomato, ginger, green chili, and fenugreek and served with Brussels sprout pulao (pilaf), smoked butternut squash and cranberry dal, or a mash with lentil seeds, green chilies, and onion. 633 D St. NW. Call 202-637-1222 or visit rasikarestaurant.com.

Philadelphia’s craft beer-focused City Tap House opened its second D.C. location last month just south of Dupont Circle. In addition to its regular menu, the brewpub has partnered with Maine’s Allagash Brewery for a special $30 “Friendsgiving” plate of items enhanced with its branded brews: Turkey brined in Hoppy Table Beer with brown-ale gravy and mashed potatoes, Black chestnut and pear stuffing, White orange and cranberry sauce, and roasted carrots with a Tripel reduction. Complete the meal with a slice of Curieux caramel sauce-topped pumpkin pie, and wash it all down with specially priced Allagash drafts. 1250 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-878-8235 or visit dupont.citytap.com.

Taqueria del Barrio — Photo: Jai Williams

It’s not quite turducken, but the Mexican Turkey Roulade at Taqueria del Barrio in Petworth is as close to the triple-fowl family staple as you’re likely to get at a hip restaurant. The rolled stack of seasoned turkey, pork loin, and chorizo is offered as an entree with a house-made cheese poblano tamale and cranberry orange salsa ($13.99) all Thanksgiving weekend starting on Black Friday. If you can’t wait, you can have chef/owner Anna Bran-Leis premake a roulade for your Thanksgiving dinner (priced at $16 per pound and feeding two), with pickup from the restaurant on Wednesday, Nov. 22. 821 Upshur St. NW. Call 202-723-0200 or visit taqueriadelbarrio.com.

At Thanksgiving, even the most health-conscious among us tend to let down our guard and actually eat dessert. For a truly holiday-worthy indulgence, check out the artisanal fare that Tiffany MacIsaac has made her stock in trade with Buttercream Bakeshop in Shaw. Thanksgiving options include a Chai Spiced Pumpkin Pie with brown sugar whipped cream and toasted pepitas ($35), a Nutella Fudge Icebox Pie with toasted hazelnuts and Frangelico whipped cream in an Oreo cookie crust ($35), a Biscoff Cookie Cake of cinnamon batter studded with shortbread cookie chunks and layered with cookie butter buttercream icing ($65), and an Almond Upside Down Cranberry Cake ($22). While individual pastries and pie/cake slices are available at the store, full pies and cakes must be ordered 72 hours in advance. 1250 9th St. NW. Call 202-735-0102 or visit buttercreamdc.com.

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.