Metro Weekly

These 7 area restaurants will make your Thanksgiving special

From socially distanced dine-in to carry out desserts, here are some D.C.-area eateries that take the load off your kitchen

thanksgiving, dc, special, meal, dinner, dining

Mi Vida

For many of us, Thanksgiving just won’t be the same this year. And it certainly won’t be the same holiday at area restaurants, with more pickup and carryout offerings among the special menus and packaged deals than ever.

The deadline has passed on ordering the Blue Duck Tavern‘s seasonal feast-to-go, but if you’re comfortable with socially distanced dining, you’ll find the tavern’s three-course, prix-fixe indulgence worth the splurge. Dine-in guests are further rewarded by the restaurant’s charmingly refined ambiance and roomy environs, including the large outdoor terrace of the Park Hyatt Washington, D.C., nestled in a picturesque, residential slice of the West End.

Priced at $110 per person, you could start the meal with Roasted Pumpkin Soup with spiced pepitas and delicate squash and topped with pesto, or Baby Kale & Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with apples, toasted black walnut and creamy cider dressing, or Oysters on the Half Shell.

Follow that with Cider-Brined Turkey with cornbread-chestnut stuffing, turkey gravy, and cranberry-fig relish for an elevated take on tradition, or reel in the nontraditional catch of Pan-Seared Steelhead Trout with charred kuri squash, black trumpet mushrooms, Swiss chard, bacon lardons, and tart verjus.

You could also opt for Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, Slow Braised Prime Rib, or Smoked Delicata Squash Risotto with truffles and sharp cheese. Sides include Tomas Green Beans & Mushrooms Casserole, Sweet Potato Gratin, and Butter Whipped Potato. Finish with a selection from the Pastry Pantry created by Pastry Chef Colleen Murphy. The Blue Duck Tavern is located at 1201 24th St. NW. Call 202-419-6755 or visit www.blueducktavern.com.

You still have time to procure a turkey to-go from Annabelle, the newest jewel in the Knightbridge Restaurant Group. In the same Dupont Circle space where Nora Pouillon once ran her famous Restaurant Nora, Chef Frank Ruta is now creating “fresh and flavorful, locally inspired cuisine that tells the story of the growers and producers.”

The restaurant is offering a special Thanksgiving carryout package featuring a 10- to 12-pound Oven Roasted Organically Raised Turkey accompanied by cornbread stuffing, giblet gravy, and cranberry sauce, plus a selection of sides including Radicchio, Shaved Fennel and Arugula Salad with pomegranate dressing, Roasted Honeynut Squash with chestnuts, Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with country ham, and Autumn Pole Beans, and a Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream. The feast feeds four to six people, costs $255 plus tax and gratuity, and must be ordered by Sunday, Nov. 22, for pickup on Thanksgiving day.

For in-house dining at Annabelle, as well as curbside pickup on Thanksgiving, the a la carte menu includes appetizers such as Oven Roasted Brassica Salad with ciabatta tuile, Asian pear, and Balsamic dressing, Soup of Organic Farro & Kabocha Squash, or a Half Dozen Oysters with cranberry mignonette, with seasonal entrées, including Traditional Roasted Organic Turkey with fixin’s plus glazed root vegetables; Roasted Roseda Farms Beef Tenderloin stuffed with olives and dates, king trumpet mushrooms, crushed fingerling potatoes, and red wine sauce; Yukon Gold Potato Gnocchi with hen of the woods mushrooms and smoked buffalo mozzarella; and Grilled Line-Caught Atlantic Swordfish with cream cannellini beans and braised baby fennel.

Roasted Thumbelina Carrots with sage, pumpkin seeds, and crunchy quinoa, Baked Sweet Potato with Reggiano cheese, and Braised Fall Greens are among the available sides. And if all’s well that ends well, then it will be all swell at Annabelle, where the sweet treats range from Pecan Tart with bourbon caramel sauce and bittersweet chocolate-orange sorbet, to Pumpkin Chiffon with cranberry coulis and toasted marshmallow ice cream, to Baked Pears with red wine reduction and fennel-ginger ice cream. Annabelle is located at 2132 Florida Ave. NW. Call 202-916-5675 or visit www.annabelledc.com.

Mi Vida, the large, upscale Mexican restaurant on the Wharf, is offering three special, Mexican-flavored twists on the tradition that are only available on the holiday. Guided by Culinary Director Antonio Santibañez, this restaurant in the fast-growing, gay-owned KNEAD Hospitality + Design group will toast the holiday by whipping up Sopa de Calabaza, or butternut squash soup with crispy squash and chives, Pavo Relleno, kale- and ricotta-stuffed, bacon-wrapped turkey breast served with chipotle-cranberry sauce, cornbread, and roasted Brussels sprouts, and Pay de Camote, sweet potato pie with pineapple-caramel sauce in addition to its regular menu. Mi Vida is at 98 District Sq. SW. Call 202-516-4656 or visit www.mividamexico.com.

The Grill

Down the block, The Grill features an open kitchen specializing in wood-fired cooking with an emphasis on steak, seafood, and vegetarian fare. The KNEAD restaurant’s additions menu for Thanksgiving includes a la carte items the Taste of Fall salad, mixed greens with grilled pears, radish, and goat cheese, topped with croutons and dressed with mustard vinaigrette; a side of grilled Brussels sprouts served with cranberries and toasted pecans; and a slice of Pumpkin Pie with cinnamon whipped cream and caramel. The restaurant is also featuring a “reimagined Thanksgiving dinner” with The Grill Thanksgiving, a plate loaded with grilled turkey breast and tarragon gravy, glazed orange and rum leg confit, brown butter mashed potatoes, apple and sage stuffing, and ginger-cranberry sauce. The Grill is at 99 Market Sq. SW. Call 202-916-5996 or visit www.thegrilldc.com.

Another option if you’re looking for a takeaway feast centered around a cooked big bird hails from Modena. Executive Chef John Melfi is offering a 10- to 12-pound free-range turkey and sides, feeding four to six, for just $195. If you’re feeding more, Modena will cook a 14- to 16-pound bird plus sides for $225. Both feasts come with cornbread stuffing, giblet gravy, cranberry chutney, a choice of seasonal salad, a choice of three sides, and a choice of dessert.

Salad options include Italian Chicories with shaved fennel, shaved carrots, and pickled herbs, with a citron vinaigrette; Marinated Heirloom Beet Salad with gorgonzola dolce, toasted walnuts, and aged balsamic; and Arugula Salad with toasted pistachio, pane fritto, and parmesan. Signature sides are Whipped Yukon Gold Potatoes with farm butter, Roasted Brussels Sprouts coated in Cacio e Pepe, or aged parmesan, black pepper, and butter, Farrow Salad with roasted fall vegetables and Meyer lemon vinaigrette, and Parmesan Polenta with mascarpone cheese and roasted tomato. Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie, or Apple Pie round out the package.

For those who want to dine-in, Modena’s Thanksgiving Day prix-fixe menu is $65 per person, starting with Foie Gras Mousse with cocoa nib granola, sage, cranberry-walnut tuile, and red wine pear butter, Black Pepper Cavatelli with crispy pancetta, dried cranberries, Winter truffle, and Alba hazelnuts, Marinated Burrata with radicchio, pistachio pesto, focaccia tuile and aged balsamic, and Citrus Cured Salmon “Raviolo” with mascarpone, breakfast radish, squid ink tuile, Meyer lemon and trout roe.

Entrées range from Red Bourbon Turkey, Grilled Yellowfin Tuna, Spice Crusted Magret Duck Breast, and Braised Lamb Shank, while dessert is a choice among a Pear & Lemon Tart, a Torta Tenerina, or 70 percent Valrhona flourless chocolate cake, chamomile thyme-honey gelato and cocoa nib tuile, and Tiramisu. Modena is located at 1100 New York Avenue(entrance on 12th and H). Call 202-216-9550 or visit www.modenadc.com.

The Israeli restaurant Sababa, in Cleveland Park, is offering a variety of seasonal specials in addition to its a la carte menu for in-house dining, carryout, and delivery over Thanksgiving. Executive Chef Ryan Moore has created a special three-course Dinner for Two package, priced at $35 per person, starting with Seasonal Hummus followed by an assortment of mains and sides meant for sharing, including Tahini Green Bean Casserole with everything bagel spice, Roasted Carrots with Turkish coffee tahina, Artichoke with potato and olive tzimmes, and Turkey Kofta with cranberry amba, plus the couple’s choice of either Pumpkin Spice Malabi with candied pecans or Sababa’s Signature Konafi Cake. Sababa is located at 3311 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-244-6750 or visit www.sababauptown.com.

Mah Ze Dahr

Finally, if you’ve got everything covered but the pie, don’t sweat making the sweet stuff — turn to Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery. The celebrated New York outfit run by Umber Ahmad, a James Beard Award Semi-Finalist as Outstanding Baker in 2019, opened its only location outside of Manhattan here last year.

Located in the Capitol Riverfront, the bakery is now taking orders for Holiday Pies & Treats, with whole pie options priced at $39 to $60 and including Pumpkin, Pecan, Apple Crumble, and Lemon Meringue, plus everything from “fudgy intense” Devil in Ganache Cake to Dark Chocolate Explosion Cookies to Pumpkin Spice Loaf. Or try Heaven in a Box, the Mah-Ze-Dahr pastry sampler.

Also available: a Heavenly Cheesecake, from the bakery that New York Magazine once raved makes the “absolutely best cheesecakes in New York,” and Vanilla Choux, cream-filled pastry puffs that food critics, among others, can’t stop raving about. Orders must be placed at least 48 hours in advance, with the official cutoff for Thanksgiving by Monday, Nov. 23, at 5 p.m. Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery is at 1201 Half St. SE. Call 202-817-3133 or visit www.mahzedahrbakery.com.

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.

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