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By Elsie Yang

If there’s a bright spot to 2020, it’s that it’s drawing to an end, and bringing with it the holiday season. We’ve yet to recover from our Zoom Thanksgivings, but fret not — we’re already ready to eat our feelings (hey, it’s all I have left); although holiday celebrations may not be quite as crowded this year, they can be just as delicious with some help from your favorite local restaurants, who are pulling out all the stops to bring the holiday parties to your home (in a safe and health-conscious manner, of course). 

From latkes to gingerbread, we’ve rounded up a few holiday specials to check out from D.C.-area restaurants this season. (We’ll be updating regularly!)

Featured thumbnail via Gravitas

Nina May

Nina May  will offer a special Feast of the Seven Fishes Menu on Christmas Eve, inspired by the traditional Italian American Christmas Eve celebration.   Christmas Eve is a vigil or fasting day, and the abundance of seafood reflects the observance of abstinence from meat until the feast of Christmas Day itself.    

Each dinner serves two people and is $120.  The menu will be available for both dine in and to go. 

**This will be the only menu offered on Christmas Eve.  A vegetarian version will be available as well.  

MENU:

Maryland Heirloom Cornbread with Smoked Trout Butter 

Grilled Sardine Salad – Tuscan kale, toasted pine nuts, golden raisins

Little Neck Clams with XO Sauce – salsa verde, shaved radishes, braised leeks

Paprika Marinated Longfin Squid – Ohio potatoes, smoked oyster mayo, fines herbs

Poor Man’s Lobster – butter poached monkfish, Brussels sprouts, ham broth

Pan Seared New Bedford Sea Scallops – maitake mushrooms, spiced pumpkin, pumpkin seed mole

Sunburst Rainbow Trout – pickled butternut squash, celery root mousseline, toasted hazelnut butter

Feast by Nina May

Feast, the locally sourced meal kit delivery service from the Nina May team, is getting into the holiday spirit, offering specialized boxes for both Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Christmas:

The Christmas Feast Box, filled with good food and holiday cheer, includes dinner for Christmas Eve, special treats for Santa, and breakfast for Christmas morning.  Serving two and priced at $140, Christmas Eve dinner features Creamy Parsnip and Apple Velouté with roasted sunchokes, toasted chestnuts, parsley gremolata, Crown Roast of Lamb with Garden Rosemary, pomme purée, charred onions and mustard jus and for dessert, Eggnog Panna Cotta with Ginger Snap Crumb, nutmeg cream and cranberry orange compote.  Seasonal Cookies and Farm Milk, made especially to be left out for Santa, and a Hot Chocolate and Marshmallow Kit or Mulled Wine Kit are included as well.  Feast makes breakfast Christmas morning a breeze with a House-Made Everything Spiced Bagel with Lox, served with chive cream cheese, red onion and salted capers, Winter Squash, Kale and Goat Cheese Egg Strata with herb crème fraiche, maldon salt and chervil and Coriander and Fennel Cured Bacon.  A choice of Bloody Mary or Iced Coffee is also included.

All Christmas orders will be delivered on Wednesday, December 23rd and all orders must be received by noon on Monday, December 21st. 

All orders can be made through the Feast website:  www.feast-dc.com

New Year’s Eve:

Feast’s New Year’s Eve box includes everything you need to kick off 2021, including a bottle of sparkling wine to toast the night.  The menu features Chef McClimans versions of classic celebratory and indulgent dishes, including a Proper Caviar Board with buckwheat blinis, crème fraiche and vegetable fixings, Warm Lobster and Leek Salad with celery root, tart apple and banyuls vinaigrette,  Beef Wellington with Black Truffle Jus  with puff pastry, mushroom duxelle and prosciutto and to finish, Chocolate Lava Cake with mascarpone whipped cream, coco nib tuiles and cranberry compote.  The box serves two and is priced at $175. 

All New Year’s Eve orders will be delivered on Wednesday, December 30th and all orders must be received by noon on Monday, December 28th. 

All orders can be made through the Feast website:  www.feast-dc.com

BLEND 111

Vienna’s Blend 111 will celebrate Nochebuena (Christmas Eve), with two options, an a la carte to go menu and a 5 course tasting menu for dining in.

The Nochebuena Dinner To Go celebrates Latin America favorites and it is a completely customizable menu.  Highlights include Mojo Jumbo Shrimp, Gulf shrimp with olive oil, pepper and garlic, Pastelón, a a vegetarian puerto rican plantain “Lasagna” with mushrooms and Roasted Pernil, slow roasted ethically raised pork with escabeche and aioli  Sides include Toasted Coconut Rice and Mom’s Potato Salad and for dessert, a Venezuelan Chocolate Marquesa.  

**All items will come fully cooked, but will need to be reheated. Simple instructions will be provided.

 Pickup on December 24th 11:30am – 1:30pm.  Limited availability.  Carryout only.**

For those choosing to dine in or on the back patio, a 5 course menu will be offered for $140 per person, with an optional beverage pairing of $60.  The Nochebuena Christmas Eve Dinner includes Hawaiian Kampachi Tartare, Anson Mills Corn Tamal, Arroz Caldoso, as well as a choice of Guava Glazed Short rib and Bacalao Encocado and for dessert, Ponque de plátano with chocolate cremeux.

Reservations begin at 4 pm and can be made through Resy

Bistro Cacao

Capitol Hill mainstay Bistro Cacao (and truly, my favorite French restaurant this side of the Atlantic) will be offering two options to celebrate Christmas this season.  The Three Course To-Go Family Meal features favorites like Bisque de Homard (Lobster Bisque), Ballontine de Poulet (chicken roulade, pommes puree, broccolini, persimmon and chicken jus) and Beouf Bourguignon, and for dessert, a Trio of Creme Brulee and the classic Buche de Noel, chocolate chiffon sponge cake, espresso cream and black cocoa ganache.  The To Go Family Meal is priced at $45 for 2 people or $85 for 2 people.  It is available Monday, December 21st – Sunday Dec 27th, between 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM.  It is not available on December 25th.

For those wishing to dine at the restaurant, a three course Dine in Menu is available on Thursday, December 24th from 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM.  

SEOULSPICE

This Korean delight has added two takeaway feasts available for carryout and delivery this holiday season.  These stress-free “to go” options showcase traditional Korean comfort fare and are priced at $25 per couple or $40 for a family of four.  The Korean Family Feast allows guests to choose their base of Sushi-Grade White Rice or Purple Rice, a multi-grain blend of forbidden black rice and sushi-grade white rice, before selecting a platter of protein, four vegetables (Korean banchan), and toppings. Standout protein options include Bulgogi, thin-sliced ribeye marinated in a sweet & savory marinade; Chicken, juicy, grilled, locally raised and marinated in a soy-garlic-ginger marinade; Spicy Pork, thin-sliced pork marinated in a sweet-spicy-chili marinade, and Tofu, local, non-GMO tofu, braised and caramelized in a soy-garlic-ginger marinade.  

Vegetables not to be missed include: Kimchi, a family recipe passed down four generations and made from a combination of Korean cabbage pickled in chilis, ginger, and garlic; Carrots, julienned and tossed in a sesame marinade; Cucumbers, freshly diced and lightly dressed in a sesame marinade;Kale Slaw, shredded kale and lightly dressed in a sesame marinade; Corn, kernels marinated in a sesame marinade, as well as Korean Radish, julienned, lightly pickled.  

Finally, families can select any of four toppings: Cilantro, Scallions, Roasted Sesame Seeds, and Crispy Garlic.  All orders include an assortment of four scratch-made sauces: Korean Hot Sauce, spicy and earthy, traditional Gochujang paste with the sweet umami of miso; Creamy Sriracha, chili-garlic aioli made from everyone’s favorite chili sauce; Cilantro-Lime Ranch, creamy ranch bursting with the brightness of fresh cilantro and lime as well asGinger-Carrot, crisp and vibrant, beaming with fresh ginger and carrots.  

Additional menu items are also available for purchase such as Japchae Noodles, delicious gluten-free noodles made from sweet potato starch, tossed with carrots and kale in a delicious sesame-ginger-soy marinade; or a personal favorite, The Egg, with its perfectly set white, liquid-gold yolk, marinated in a sweet-soy base.

Blue Duck Tavern

If you’re feeling fancy, feel out the scene at the Park Hyatt Washington, D.C.’s in-house restaurant. Blue Duck Tavern will offer its seasonal a la carte dinner menu with festive holiday specials to tempt the palate from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, December 24. Guests opting for the Christmas, four-course holiday meal will enjoy Blue Duck Tavern’s inviting ambiance.  Guests will begin their meal with a choice of seasonal appetizers with menu highlights to include Roasted Chestnut Soup with Winter truffle, lardon and squash panna cotta; Wood Oven-Roasted Bone Marrow with horseradish butter and garlic-parsley crust; Baby Kale & Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with apples, toasted walnuts and tumbleweed apple cider dressing, as well as Oysters on the Half Shell with house-made pomegranate vinegar and shallots.  Next, guests will have a choice of plated entrées and sides to share showcasing regional produce.  Highlights include Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes with farm house salad and sauce gribiche; Heritage Porchetta with apple mostarda, parsnip and smoked carrot; Duck Breast with sweet potato, roasted sunchoke, pear and duck jus; Slow-Roasted Prime Rib with horseradish cream and Fresno chimichurri; Seared Halibut with salsify, forager mushrooms and meurette; Vegetable Pot Pie with heirloom fall vegetables and Winter truffles; Creamy Stone Ground Grits with smoked gouda; Crispy Brussels Sprouts with bacon and mustard, as well as Butter Whipped Potatoes with roasted garlic.  For a sweet ending, guests will enjoy a Warm Christmas Toffee Pudding with Appleton butter sauce, candied citrus and roasted chestnut ice cream by Pastry Chef Colleen Murphy.   

Baker’s Daughter Hanukkah-At-Home Dinner

Celebrate the Festival of Lights with Baker’s Daughter’s Hanukkah dinner offerings. Choose from a la carte items like matzo ball soup, latkes and brisket or opt for the entire package serving 4-6. Available for pick-up now through December 18. Order here.

Gravitas Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve Dinners

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, Gravitas is offering a five-course menu of chestnut velouté, honey-lacquered duck breast, and other holiday dishes.  

  • Offered on December 24 from 5-9pm
  • $115 per person ($35 for children twelve and under), exclusive of tax and gratuity
  • Reservations here

New Year’s Eve

To kick off 2021, Chef Matt Baker is offering a luxurious five-course menu with optional wine pairings, as well as a take-home package that includes a bottle of champagne and a selection of sweet and savory treats to break out at midnight.

  • New Year’s Eve Dinner: Five-course menu for $250 per person including a Cristal toast; optional wine pairings for $125
  • Take-Home Toasting Kit: Includes a bottle of Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs 2011, and bites like truffle popcorn, chocolate truffles, and mignardises for $110
  • Reservations here

Stellina’s Feast of the Seven Fishes

Available for pick-up at Stellina on December 23 and 24, Chef Matteo Venini’s Feast of the Seven Fishes menu features five courses for $95 per person, plus optional wine pairings. Dishes follow below. Order online by December 21.

  • Insalata Cavolfiore e Cozze – cauliflower and mussel salad, roasted baby peppers, golden raisins, bottarga
  • Vaso Cottura – seafood stew with shrimp, scallops, octopus, calamari
  • Lasagne di Mare – squid ink lasagna, cod, sun-dried tomato, wild mushroom
  • Rana Pescatrice – sous vide monkfish stuffed with chestnut, honeynut squash, sage, pickled red onion, garlic, mashed potatoes
  • Caprese Cake – classic flourless chocolate cake from Naples, hazelnut cream

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

Nothing says Hanukkah quite like fried dough, right? Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken is offering special holiday-themed flavors and mini gift boxes for the month of December at both the Downtown DC and Falls Church locations, as well as on the food truck and via third party delivery partners. No matter what holiday you’re celebrating, you’ll likely find something to satisfy your sweet tooth. The lineup includes a Christmas Cookie doughnut,  Hannukah Cookie doughnut, Chocolate Candy Cane doughnut, Red Velvet doughnut and Black Cherry Jelly doughnuts. In addition, Christmas and Hannukah mini doughnut boxes are available for pre-order. The Hanukkah mini doughnut box is $26 and available now through 12/20, and is filled with 4 Jelly Doughnuts, 2 Creme Brulee Doughnuts, 3 Hanukkah Cookie Doughnuts, and 3 Vanilla w/ Sprinkles Doughnuts. 

Fare Well Holiday Meals, Cookie Tins, and Gingerbread Chalets

The holiday offerings from Fare Well feature numerous sweet and savory ways to celebrate. Available to order online for pick-up or delivery.

  • Hanukkah specials (prices vary) – latkes, braided challah, prepare-at-home tortellini, gnocchi, and sauces (marinara, almond pesto, vegetable ragu), and plant-based charcuterie and cheese boards feeding anywhere from one to many
  • Christmas dinner ($40 per person) – arancini, butternut squash & sage lasagna, greens and beans, tiramisu truffles (available for pick-up only on December 23)
  • Holiday sweets (prices vary) – cookie tins (macaroon, elephant ears, chocolate lace, amaretti, chocolate biscotti and rainbow cookies), peppermint chocolate cake (by the slice and whole), DIY almond chocolate cannoli kits, built-at-home gingerbread chalets

Sticky Fingers Holiday Sweets, Cookie Tins, and Classes

In addition to a selection of plant-based desserts, Sticky Fingers offers a lineup of holiday baking classes. Order sweets online for pick-up and delivery, and purchase classes online. Items include:

  • Chocolate peppermint cupcake – also available gluten-free ($3.50)
  • Gingerbread cupcake ($4)
  • Eggnog cupcake ($3.75)
  • Chocolate peppermint sandwich cookie ($4.25)
  • Peppermint brownie ($3.50)
  • Holiday cookie tin ($40) – mix of chocolate chip, phat mint, sugar, ginger, and raspberry thumbprint cookies
  • Holiday baking classes
    • Gingerbread people – December 15 at 4pm
    • Gingerbread ski chalet – December 19 at 4pm
    • Merry cran and gingerbread muffins – December 22 at 4pm

Lebanese Taverna Holiday Family Meals

While Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve festivities may look different this year, Lebanese Taverna is offering a selection of the Abi-Najm family’s holiday favorites for people to enjoy in their own homes. Order online for pick-up at the Tysons Galleria, Rockville, Baltimore, or Arlington market locations on December 10, 11, 24, 26, or 31. Highlights include:

  • Pure Bred American Leg of Lamb – spiced rice and toasted nuts, three-herb sauce
  • Pure Bred American Lamb Shoulder – spiced with garlic and thyme
  • Arnabeet – fried cauliflower, tahini-pomegranate sauce
  • Mujadara – lentil and rice pilaf, crispy onions
  • Buche de Noël – holiday yule log
  • Halawet Jibne – sweet cheese crepes with milk custard and rosewater syrup
  • Add on Lebanese wines, mezza platters, and more

Sababa’s Holiday Menus

Modern Israeli restaurant Sababa is celebrating Hanukkah now through December 18, and is offering a special menu for both dine-in and takeout. The pre-fixe menu for two, priced at $85, comes with no fewer than four courses; you’ll start with Salatim and Hummus, featuring hummus served alongside pita and za’atar roasted beet and tahina with pistachios and honey harissa. Course two comes in the form of potato latkes with your choice of topping: smoked salmon, sumac onion and dill labne, corned beef, spiced apple and honey marmalade, or sour cream, cheddar, and scallion. Your main dish will be a beef brisket, and dessert comes with options — jelly donuts, or date tahini caramel tarts. 

The restaurant is also offering a special Christmas Eve menu, and on Christmas Day, you can snag a variety of Chinese-inspired menu items in addition to its full set of offerings as a nod to Jewish tradition.  

Call Your Mother’s Hanukkah Catering Menu

From 10 am to 2 pm on 12/18, D.C.’s favorite Jew-ish deli Call Your Mother is offering a Hanukkah catering menu that you can claim as your own. The menu is decidedly carb-focused (what did you expect), with offerings like the Classic Latke Platter with 12 latkes, sour cream, and apple jam; the 5-star Premier Latke Platter, which tacks on chive sour cream, crispy onions, smoked salmon, and candied salmon (with the option to add caviar); and finally, raspberry-guava doughnuts. Pick-up orders are available only at the original Park View location, and the deli is offering delivery within five miles of Park View. You’ll want to order by tomorrow (December 16th) to pick up on December 18th. 

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