Metro Weekly

Best Bets: 7 Restaurants For a Perfect Thanksgiving

From sit-down meals, to buffets and to-go options, here are some of D.C.'s best bests if you're not cooking at home.

Kingbird

This Thanksgiving, go for a true splurge, with foie gras… ice cream. Such a frozen fatty and creamy concoction is a match made in fowl dairy heaven (said no one ever).

Fortunately, you won’t find “foie gras ice cream” on any menu around town. But “Foie Gras Torchon with Pumpkin Honeycomb Ice Cream,” on the other hand — you can have exactly that as part of this year’s “Decadent” Thanksgiving Prix-Fixe Menu at Kingbird in The Watergate Hotel (2650 Virginia Ave. NW). In fact, the concoction, listed as “savory,” is just the wildest of several “unexpected pairings” factoring into this year’s menu devised by Kingbird Executive Chef Tony DiGregorio in collaboration with Ice Cream Jubilee founder Victoria Lai. Another? Celeriac Risotto with Apple Cider Sorbet. And for (a true) dessert, how about Chai Spiced Panna Cotta with Huckleberry Pie Ice Cream?

Those three ice cream pairings “will grace courses throughout your meal,” the restaurant explains. In other words, they’ll serve as palette-cleansing and conversation-starting amuse-bouche accents and extras like Cranberry Sorbet with Burnt Orange Foam, enhancing a three-course meal headlined by Organic Turkey with trimmings, purees, and housemade stuffing, Heritage Ham, or Local Rockfish. Also new this year is the availability of add-on options such as Oysters on the Half Shell, King Crab Legs, Fresh Winter Black and White Truffles, and Caviar.

Thanksgiving hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 to 8 p.m. Price is $125 per person ($65 per child), not including tax or gratuity. Visit www.thewatergatehotel.com.

Kingbird: Cranberry Sorbet
Kingbird: Cranberry Sorbet

More than merely decadent, perhaps the most luxurious Thanksgiving option around can be found at the new Waldorf Astoria Washington D.C. Having replaced the former Trump International Hotel in the Old Post Office Pavilion last June, the Hilton hotel property is now fully open for locals and visitors to come stay or visit — but it’ll sure set you back if you intend to do more than wander around the public spaces or board a glass elevator to see the views from the belltower and its 270-foot observation deck.

The hotel’s lobby-level Peacock Alley bar and restaurant (1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) will host a novel Thanksgiving Brunch buffet. The most lavish smorgasbord imaginable will feature a Raw Bar for various chilled shellfish as well as a Seafood Delights section featuring sushi & nigiri; a soup and bread section; a Grand Cheese & Charcuterie Display; and stations for salads, such as Roasted Pumpkin, Cranberry & Goat, and Cheese Waldorf; sides and vegetables, including Sweet Potato Puree and Garlic Sauteed Green Beans; entrees, including a Garlic Roasted Whole Turkey and Pepper-Crusted Prime Rib served from a Carving Station; desserts, from Classic Pumpkin Pie to Pumpkin Crème Brulee, Fruit Tarts to Warm Apple Dulce de Leche Cobbler; and brunch beverages, everything from a Mimosa Bar to assorted teas and coffee to a “Holiday Cocktail Surprise.”

Thanksgiving hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Price is $250 per person (or $100 for children up to 10 years of age, free for those under 5). Visit www.hilton.com.

Teddy and The Bully Bar: Thanksgiving
Teddy & The Bully Bar

For more reasonably priced fare, Teddy & The Bully Bar (1200 19th St. NW) springs to mind, particularly if you value supporting a local business “that takes seriously giving back to our city’s less fortunate,” to quote Alan G. Popovsky, the co-founder of the restaurant and its restaurant group PRG Hospitality.

Named after the first President Roosevelt, Teddy will again donate 10% of their total Thanksgiving sales to Martha’s Table. Chiefly focused on serving American comfort food, the restaurant, located a few blocks south of Dupont Circle, offers a Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Menu over four courses, with an Endless Carving Station for main course selections of Naturally Raised, Apple Brined Roasted Turkey, Slow Roasted Prime Rib, and Cedar Plank-Roasted Wild Salmon. Dinner starts with an A La Carte Course with selections including Lobster Bisque, Short Rib Beignets, Wild Mushroom Escarole Salad, and Cider Glazed Beet Salad. A third course offers Endless Sides such as Teddy Mac & Cheese, Roasted Winter Vegetables, Gorman Farm Creamed Spinach, and Pomme Purée, while dessert is a choice of Pumpkin Pie Crisp with bourbon ice cream, Eggnog Crème Brulee with spiced seasonal berries, Apple Crostata with calvados gelato and salted caramel, and Flourless Chocolate Cake with pomegranate sorbet and cocoa nib crumble.

The restaurant is also offering a Thanksgiving At Home Menu with many of the same items available — although none offered in endless portions, and with the non-turkey mains as well as the mac and cheese available only as add-ons priced between $14 and $22 each. A to-go package starts at $60 for one, $120 for two, $220 for four, up to $480 for 10. Orders must be placed by 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 22, with pickup on Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Price is $72 per person ($28 for children 12 and under). Visit www.teddyandthebullybar.com.

The Henri: Fall Dishes, Thanksgiving
The Henri: Fall Dishes, Thanksgiving

Another strong choice for a high-caliber culinary experience to be enjoyed in the comforts of home comes courtesy of Chef Frederik De Pue’s The Henri (1301 Pennsylvania Ave. NW), the large, chic modern bistro that opened across from the Warner Theatre earlier this year.

The Henri’s Thanksgiving To-Go offering comes fully cooked and ready to serve for small and large gatherings, with orders of turkey starting at $150 for two guests, $290 for four, or $560 for a whole 12 lb. bird feeding eight. It also come with fresh thyme gravy; autumn salad with red butter lettuce, endive, and honeynut squash; cornbread with sausage stuffing, roasted Brussel sprouts with chestnuts and bacon; cranberry sauce; and creamy mashed potatoes with Italian parsley. In lieu of turkey, diners can opt for Smoked Salmon with egg mimosa, brioche toast, and sour cream for $75. Additional sides and desserts are available a la carte, with pumpkin pie, granny smith apple tatin, and pecan bourbon pie serving eight and priced at $32 each.

Orders must be placed by Wednesday, Nov. 16, with afternoon pickup on Wednesday, Nov. 23. Visit www.thehenri.com.

Journey across the river into Virginia for an affordable yet elaborate French twist on this quintessential American feast. That’s the province of Old Town Alexandria’s Bastille Brasserie & Bar (606 N. Fayette St.), run by the husband-and-wife duo of chefs Christophe and Michelle Poteaux, who will serve a Happy Thanksgiving Three-Course Prix-Fixe Menu all afternoon on Thanksgiving Day.

Whether enjoyed as lunch or an early dinner, the feast is sure to be remarkable, at least on account of the range of dishes available for each and every course. For starters, you could choose Pumpkin Bisque for your First Course, or opt for a salad, either a classic Caesar with lemon-anchovy dressing or a rooty mix of Roasted Beets and Butternut Squash with arugula, whipped goat cheese, and shallot dressing. But if soup and salad are too blasé for your tastes, you could spring for Grilled Oysters or House-Cured Foie Gras. Or go even wilder by ordering Beignets de Crevettes — rock shrimp fritters.

The five entrée choices start with Dinde Rôtie, or roasted turkey with (refined) fixings, including braised kale & bacon and cranberry chutney. Other options include Angus Beef Pot Roast, Slow Roasted Local Pork Loin, and Risotto de Saison with roasted squash, “pumpkin spice” cream, and parmesan crisp. Or you could seize the day and net the Fruit de Mer “Chowder” with monkfish, scallop, lobster, bacon, carrots, fennel, and potatoes.

For dessert, choices include Caramel Apple “Tatin” Cheesecake and Pumpkin Toffee Cake — but also Molten Chocolate Cake served with raspberry ice cream, freeze-dried raspberries, and cocoa nib tuile. Or you could just say cheese and order Fromages Composé served with housemade fruit nut bread.

Thanksgiving hours are noon to 6 p.m. Price is $85 per person. Visit www.bastillerestaurant.com.

Il Piatto: Eggplant Parmesan -- Photo: Rey Lopez -
Il Piatto: Eggplant Parmesan — Photo: Rey Lopez

If you prefer “an authentic Italian twist on Thanksgiving, there’s Il Piatto (900 Black Lives Matter Plaza NW), an attractive and affordably priced Italian restaurant only a block from the White House. If you haven’t eaten there yet, Thanksgiving Day would be a fine time to do the honors, especially considering that the Thanksgiving Prix-Fixe Dinner features dishes largely drawn from the restaurant’s regular menu, developed by Executive Chef Lina Nicolai, formerly of Shaw’s Al Crostino. As such, the twist on Thanksgiving at Il Piatto, should you dine there, would appear to be simply that you’ll be enjoying classic Italian fare with only a side (or two) of Thanksgiving.

Start with an appetizer of Poached Pear with radicchio, toasted walnuts, goat cheese, and balsamic dressing; Portobello with creamy gorgonzola cheese; or Arancini, fried risotto balls stuffed with mozzarella and served with a tomato-cream sauce. A special Turkey Platter with turkey leg and all the fixings and a Pumpkin Ravioli with butter and sage sauce are two obvious Thanksgiving choices among entrée options, also including Pan-Seared Lamb Chops with basil chimichurri, Rigatoni Alla Juliana, named after the chef’s Italian mother who developed the recipe for pork cream ragu and truffle oil, and Eggplant Parmesan with San Marzano tomato sauce. Finish the meal with Limoncello Panna Cotta, Apple Crostata, Tiramisu, or Italian Cheesecake.

Thanksgiving hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Price is $59.95 per person. Visit www.ilpioattodc.com.

It may not have the location cachet of Kingbird or Peacock Alley, but you’re likely to get bang for your buck at Blue Duck Tavern (1201 24th St. NW) in the Park Hyatt Washington, D.C. Nestled in a picturesque, residential slice of the West End, the property feels more tucked away than it actually is, and the restaurant’s charmingly refined and welcoming ambiance and decor only heightens that sense.

Every year, the Blue Duck Tavern adds further enticement with its annual “Lunch Into Dinner” Thanksgiving Day Service, offering a prix-fixe, three-course meal and an extensive and elaborate menu available all day long.

This year’s menu, overseen by the Park Hyatt’s culinary and food & beverage director Jean-Claude Plihon, starts with a choice of appetizers, including Roasted Kuri Squash Soup with spiced pepita pesto, chestnuts, and crème fraiche, Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with cress and green goddess remoulade, Kale & Charred Brussels Sprout Salad with black walnuts, apples, and cider vinaigrette, Oysters on the Half Shell, and Duck Pate en Croute with pistachio, pear butter, and pickled vegetables.

Next comes a choice of entrees including Cider-Brined Turkey with focaccia-chestnut stuffing and cranberry-fig relish, Slow-Roasted Prime Rib, and Pan-Seared Halibut with lobster brandade or spread, trout roe, and sauce Américaine. Options for sides include Carolina Rice Risotto with mushrooms, truffles, and roasted squash, Green Beans & Mushrooms Casserole, and Butter Whipped Potato. Finish with choice desserts created by longtime Blue Duck Tavern Pastry Chef Colleen Murphy, including Pumpkin Cheesecake with maple-whipped ganache, Apple Cranberry Pie with brown sugar/oat streusel and seal salt honey ice cream.

Thanksgiving hours are noon to 8 p.m. Price is $145 per person (or $55 for children between six and 12 years of age, free for those under six years old). Visit www.blueducktavern.com.

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