Thanksgiving is a time for being appreciative of all the good that have come your way in the past year.
It’s also a time when practically every business under the sun is closed and practically everyone gathers with close friends or family at one of their homes for a harvest feast with all the stuffing.
But if you feel like bucking tradition and letting a professional cook your meal and host the gathering this year, a smattering of area restaurants will be open for just that purpose, including the following attractive options.
If you really want to get away but not really get away, you only have to cross the Potomac for an appealing dose of history and charm that only Old Town Alexandria can offer. One of the finer dining options in town is The Majestic (911 King St., Alexandria, www.themajesticva.com) a contemporary bistro housed in an Old Town landmark, a 90-year-old art deco storefront set off by several large neon marquees.
On Thursday, Nov. 23, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., the Majestic will offer a four-course pre-fixe dinner for $79 per person, with many twists on classics of the holiday, including a choice of appetizer between Duck Confit & Butternut Squash Soup or Seared Scallops, entree options of Prime Rib, Grilled Salmon, Pan Roasted Duck Breast & Confit Leg, and Risotto in addition to Roasted Turkey with potato puree, cranberry-orange chutney, and pan gravy.
Sides include Green Bean Casserole, Brioche Stuffing, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Potato Puree, and Carrots, Peas, and Pearl Onions topped with a turkey glaze. Pecan pie, Pumpkin Cheesecake, and the restaurant’s signature Majestic Coconut Cake round out the dessert options.
Thanksgiving will also be served for lunch and dinner at all six area locations of Clyde’s (www.clydes.com) — including the 20-year-old restaurant in Gallery Place and the original “saloon” that launched the franchise 60 years ago in Georgetown — as well as at two sister downtown properties, the iconic D.C. watering hole Old Ebbitt Grill (675 15th St. NW, www.ebbitt.com) and the sprawling, two-floor food and music destination The Hamilton (600 14th St. NW, www.thehamiltondc.com).
Diners can opt for a feast centered around either turkey or ham, with the Traditional Turkey Dinner offering everything a traditionalist would hope for: sliced white and dark meat with turkey gravy, sausage-sage stuffing, mashed potatoes, to glazed sweet potatoes, green beans, and cranberry sauce, and finished with a slice of pie, whether apple or pecan pie served a la mode, or pumpkin pie served with fresh whipped cream ($42.99).
The alternative Glazed Spiral Sliced Ham Dinner finds the pork accompanied by potato gratin, green beans, and a mustard-cream sauce, plus the same choice of pie ($28.99). Slices of all three pies will also be available a la carte ($7.99 to $8.99).
Also available a la carte are any of the items from the restaurants’ exhaustive everyday menu, from the fresh cold Raw Bar delicacies to the bountiful Greens & Grains salads and bowls, and from the dozen Burgers & Sandwiches options to the signature Entrées of crab cakes, fried chicken, BBQ ribs, and assorted cuts of steak.
With its resplendent decor celebrating art deco and old-school glamour, Navy Yard’s Gatsby (1205 Half St. SE, www.gatsbyrestaurant.com) makes for a great choice for a Thanksgiving outing — especially since it’s part of the local gay-owned restaurant chain KNEAD Hospitality + Design.
The special Thanksgiving day menu, with all options available a la carte and served between noon and 8 p.m. includes an appetizer of Butternut Squash Soup, with toppings of apple slices, creme fraiche, and slivered almonds ($10), a Thanksgiving Feast of herb-roasted turkey breast, cornbread-apple stuffing, braised greens, and mashed potatoes and gravy ($34), and for dessert, Apple Pie made with Granny Smith apples and brown butter streusel, and served with vanilla ice cream ($10).
Wash it all down with the special black tea-infused T-Day cocktail Greta’s Toddy, a mix of Gentleman Jack whiskey, green chartreuse, and Palais des Thés Big Ben blend, served warm with lemon and honey ($14).
For pure indulgence, you could dine at Estuary, one of the key attractions in the sleek modern luxury hotel Conrad in the City Center area. The restaurant offers two “elevated” rounds of Thanksgiving dining, both of which will be serenaded by live music. Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., guests can splurge on an “Elevated Thanksgiving Brunch” with a Turkey Carving Station as well as another one for ribeye, a station with desserts, including pastries and fruit, plus a bar where guests can “make-your-own customizable mimosa and bloody mary.”
Additional stations will serve, among other options, smoked salmon and “free-range” scrambled eggs. It’s priced at $109 per person, or $139 with alcohol.
Starting at 4 p.m. and until 9 p.m., guests will enjoy a prix fixe three-course, family-style meal with the main attraction of either Buttermilk-Brined Turkey, Confit Legs, or Dry Aged Ribeye.
The feast will start with a choice of either Squash Soup or Wilted Greens Salad, and side options for the table include Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes, String Bean Casserole, Mac and Cheese, Stuffing, Sweet Potato Wedges, and Brussels Sprout. All that, plus complimentary sparkling wine or cider for each guest upon arrival. The meal runs $130 per person, or $190 inclusive of an “elevated wine pairing.”
Located in the iconic Old Post Office Pavilion, the Waldorf Astoria Washington DC will serve its own take on an “elevated” buffet, with service between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the hotel’s famed Peacock Alley (1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, www.hilton.com) space. For $155 per person, the buffet will offer luxurious riffs on Thanksgiving staples presented at stations for soup, salad, sushi and seafood, and cheese and charcuterie, not to mention carving stations for turkey as well as prime rib. Side options include classics from sweet potato puree to cornbread stuffing to roasted fall vegetables, and dessert will be a Classic Pumpkin Pie or Chocolate Pecan Pie.
A modern, seasonal twist on classic French fare is the principle guiding operations at La Bise (800 Connecticut Ave. NW, www.labisedc.com) everyday of the year. Specifically for Thanksgiving, the acclaimed, two-year-old restaurant, located a block from the White House, will offer a prix fixe menu with three seasonally inspired courses, reasonably priced at $80 per person, with the restaurant open on Thanksgiving between noon and 8 p.m.
Developed by Executive Chef Michael Fusano, the menu includes starter options of Gingered Honeynut Squash Soup with spiced pepitas and “almond cloud”; Beef Tartare served with egg mousse, locally foraged greens, onions, and French bread; Chilled Poitevin Beet Salad served with croutons and Bucheron cheese; and Hudson Valley Foie Gras with figs, Sauternes sabayon, pistachio granola, and brioche.
A Heritage Turkey Roulade with sage stuffing, cranberry gelée, charred broccoli, and traditional gravy is the star entree selection, yet those who’d prefer to flip past the bird can choose from Wild Mushroom Risotto with Comté espuma and Winter black truffles; Branzino Meuniere with lemon, capers, and beurre noisette; or Boeuf Bourguignon with red wine, olive-oil whipped potatoes, bacon lardons, and mushrooms.
Dessert time presents the usual choice between Cinnamon Apple Strudel with vanilla crème anglaise and Pumpkin Pie with crème fraîche Chantilly and candied pecans — but those feeling nontraditional can spring for Chocolate Pots de Crème with dark chocolate, butterscotch, and whipped chocolate crèmeux instead.
Over the past decade, Celebrity Chef/Owner Fabio Trabocchi’s Fiola Mare (3100 K St. NW, www.fiolamaredc.com) has become a favorite of visiting celebrities and national political leaders, counting both Presidents Obama and Biden and their wives as regular special occasion guests.
Should you want to make Thanksgiving 2023 a special occasion splurge, the sprawling, two-story venue, perched above the Georgetown waterfront with breathtaking views, is sure to be a multi-sensory feast. “A Celebration of Thanksgiving” pays tribute to the holiday over four courses, for a prix fixe meal of $150 per person.
Make your selection among six appetizers, including a smoked and pickled Beet Salad with Shinko Pear and Goat Feta Spuma; a 1/2 dozen Raw Oysters on the Half Shell; Wild Bluefin Tuna with tonnato, capers, pickled cucumber, and garlic-chile oil; or Porcini & Truffle Soup with apple, celery root, “mushroom soil,” preserved mushrooms, and Perigord black truffles.
Next comes a second course of pasta based on your choice among five options: Liquid Cacio e Pepe, served with honeynut squash, sage brown butter, pumpkin seeds, preserved lemon, Perigord black truffles, and Belper Knolle; Mancini Spaghetti Alle Vongole featuring a variety of clams, confit pomodorini, parsley garlic, and Controne chilies; Lobster Ravioli with ginger and chives; Maccheroncini di Campofilone, or Rohan duck and porcini ragú, foie gras, and toasted pistachio; and, for an additional $50, Alba White Truffle Pasta, with three grams white truffle shaved tableside and served over either hand-cut tagliatelle or acquerello risotto alla Parmigiana.
You can opt for an entree of Beaver Creek Farms Roasted Turkey, served with chestnut and turkey confit stuffing, vin santo jus, sweet potato, and cranberry mostarda, or spring for one of four nontraditional options, three surf-based plates featuring a plethora of seafood, everything from calamari to salmon, octopus to monkfish, scallops to Branzino, and one turf entree, costing an additional $35, a 24-Day Dry Aged NY Strip served with roasted hen of the woods mushrooms, veal jus, and charred onion soubise.
An Autumn Breeze pumpkin custard with port wine meringue, blood orange, and pecan tuile is the only thing close to a traditional Thanksgiving dessert, with four additional options ranging from Venetian Tiramisu served with chocolate sorbetto to Grand Chocolate Cake “Piemontese Style,” served with gianduja ganache, hazelnut streusel, and crunchy feuilletine and costing an additional $12.
It’s in the spirit of giving back and helping fellow neighbors that inspired an annual Turkey Fry at the Medium Rare location in Cleveland Park (3500 Connecticut Ave. NW, www.mediumrarerestaurant.com).
To be clear, turkey is not on the menu at the quickly expanding local steakhouse chain any day of the year, not even on Thanksgiving. Instead, this 16th annual event will produce ready-to-eat deep-fried turkeys for those members of the public who have in tow a thawed and uncooked bird carcass weighing between eight and 12 pounds.
A dozen fryers will be filled with almost 500 gallons of hot oil ready to cook up to 96 birds an hour, and an estimated 600 turkeys total.
Bucher launched the event to help all those who would prefer to avoid the hassles and potential danger of frying turkey for the holiday, as well as those who may have been donated a bird but don’t have the ability to fry it.
Since the start of the pandemic, the event has morphed into a fundraiser for the Bucher-founded nonprofit Feed the Fridge, providing free, nutritious, restaurant-prepared meals to those in need. The Turkey Fry will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but the line typically starts forming as early as 8 a.m.
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