The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) Winter Restaurant Week is fast approaching, with more than 100 distinguished local eateries offering bargain bites from January 22 through 28. Snag a prix-fixe brunch or lunch for $22, or grab dinner for $35, at participating restaurants all over the capital area, serving everything from sushi to barbecue. The choices are ample, but here are just a few of the week’s scrumptious highlights.
For the brunch bunch, Winter Restaurant Week brings plenty of scrumptious possibilities. In Capitol Hill, tuck into options like corned beef hash, shrimp and grits, or lemon blueberry pancakes at Art and Soul, and don’t forget to save room for the dessert choices, which include sticky toffee pudding with chocolate porter ice cream or pecan sticky bun bread pudding served with maple-bourbon crѐme anglaise. Or, head for the Capitol Riverfront and feast on the Northern Italian fare at Osteria Morini, with a brunch selection including wood grilled salmon with salsa verde or ricotta gnocchi served with caramelized onions and brussels sprouts. Then, stick around for desserts like pomegranate mousse embellished with chocolate crema and vanilla gelato.
Across the river in Old Town, Alexandria, farm-to-table Vermilion’s three-course brunch menu, featuring starters like frybread prepared with dry-aged beef fat, and second courses like the braised lamb sandwich served on spiced pita bread with caramelized yogurt, or the tagliatelle offered with smoked mushrooms, squash, brussels sprouts and a poached egg. Best of all, for breakfast purists, there are apple cider donuts for dessert.
Midday diners also have plenty of ways to treat their taste buds. For starters, there’s The Grill Room in Georgetown, offering a lunch menu with starters like roasted beet tartare or the braised beef cheek pierogi and main courses like ricotta gnocchi with venison ragu. Plus, there’s Bananas Foster bread pudding for dessert.
At District Commons in Foggy Bottom, Restaurant Week diners can pick from apps like seafood chowder and pumpkin beer cheese soup, and then have the option of anything off the lunch menu, with choices like North Carolina mountain trout served with citrus burnt butter, BBQ braised short ribs, or the jumbo lump crab cake sandwich. Not to be outdone, the dessert list includes black velvet cake and Boston cream pie drizzled with salted caramel sauce.
Or, switch gears and sample the city’s international offerings at restaurants like Rasika West End, featuring a lunch lineup with appetizers like palak chaat and sea bass peri-peri, main plates including tandoori salmon and railway lamb curry, followed by palate-refreshing desserts, like masala chai ice cream and pomegranate lychee sorbet. Or, take the taste buds to Europe, more specifically, to Belgium, at Belga Café in Barracks Row. During Winter Restaurant Week, patrons can pick from starters like oven-grilled mussels on the half shell or the brioche waffle stuffed with grilled pork belly, followed by entrees including lemon roasted chicken and Flemish beef stew. There are appropriately indulgent dessert options too, including vanilla crѐme brulée, a chocolate mousse trio, or the homemade ice cream sundae.
The list of dinner options for Restaurant Week is studded with plenty of the city’s brightest gastronomic stars, and the choices are bountiful. At Farmers & Distillers diners have the choice of almost any menu entrée ($24 or less), with offerings as diverse as hand-pulled Chinese noodles with beef and pork meatballs, roasted spatchcock chicken, and mussels in white wine. If the donut flight dessert is a little too much, guests leave with a $9 gift card, to use for indulging that sweet tooth on a future visit. Or, take the palette to Louisiana at Acadiana. The Restaurant Week selection includes appetizers like Boudin balls and smoked chicken and andouille sausage gumbo, along with main plates including pan crisped roasted duck and wild blue catfish served with cornmeal noodles, smoked mushrooms, and Creole tomato sauce.
There’s also plenty of global cuisine on tap. Sample Ethiopian fare at inventive Etete in Shaw, offering starters like the crispy green lentil roll or the injera taco stuffed with berbere chicken and ayib farmers cheese, followed up by entrées including lamb stew and kitfo, lean season beef spiced with mitmita and served with collard greens. At Balkan-inspired Ambar in Capitol Hill, the $35 price tag includes an unlimited selection of small plates (with a two-hour time limit per table), including bites like tuna tartare, grilled calamari with gremolata, and leek croquettes. Plus, for an additional $14, Restaurant Week diners can enjoy unlimited drinks, from a selection including mango lemonade, pomegranate Collins, and the Sarajevo Old Fashioned.
Or, explore the city’s twists on American cuisine. In Adams Morgan, Mintwood Place is offering a dinner line-up with options like Arctic char served with golden quinoa and tarragon buerre blanc, beef bourguignon, and parmesan leek risotto with sage brown butter. Plus, the list of after dinner sweets includes Speculoos key lime pie. In Penn Quarter, Lincoln, specializing in seasonal plates, is rolling out a Restaurant Week spread with mains like braised short rib shepherd’s pie, vegetarian bolognaise prepared with turnip noodles, and French onion NY strip served with caramelized onion puree and potato fondant. Best of all, there’s sticky toffee pudding cake and brown butter fudge cake on the dessert list.