By Priya Konings
For anyone who used to watch Desperate Housewives, the term “progressive dinner,” which is essentially a moving dinner party, conjures up images of murder and mayhem ensuing at each and every location that the dinner party moves to. Luckily, at the West End Wednesday Progressive Dinner Series, the only drama you will encounter will be on your dinner plate.
The dinner is hosted at the superfecta of Marcel’s, Blue Duck Tavern, Ris, and Westend Bistro, and each week guests will start at a different venue. At each location, patrons will enjoy a beautifully prepared dish paired with a glass of (damn good) wine or a cocktail. The menu will change every week. After 30 minutes a staff member from each restaurant will escort the patrons, who will be dining at the same table, to the next location. Only 12 participants are allowed each week, and tickets are already sold out for April, but here are some details on the very first dinner to motivate you to buy your tickets for May early. Tickets are $100 per person, which includes tax and gratuity, and vegetarians are accommodated, which is super exciting (well, it is if you are a vegetarian).
The first dinner took place on March 26 and began at Marcel’s, one of DC’s best but basically cost-prohibitive dining venues. The progressive dinner allows you to sample Chef Robert Wiedmaier’s insanely fabulous cooking without spending hundreds of dollars. For the hors d’oeuvres course he created a magnificent trio of small bites including a house made tortellini served in a spoonful of heaven (black truffle mushroom puree), a scoop of juicy morel mushrooms and a mini cup of caramelized onions topped with crunchy pickled veggies. The dish is almost too pretty to eat, but then you taste it and it is too good not to eat. Just be sure to take a breath and try the phenomenal pinor noir paired with the dish.
Next up was Ris, where the most lovely bowl exotic ‘shrooms, served on top of house made pappardelle ribbons, and tossed with herbs, pearl onions, and a velvety cream sauce, was served to the vegetarians while the meat-eaters had a seafood stew, complete with mussels, shrimp, scallops, and clams. Endless glasses of white wine accompanied these dishes, which is not to be overlooked.
The final two stops were Westend Bistro, where a meat main course and vegetarian medley were served, followed by Blue Duck Tavern, which featured the dessert course. Most appropriately, Blue Duck Tavern served their famous apple pie with buckets (literally) of homemade vanilla ice cream. Was anyone too full for dessert? Yes, but they packed pie to go. Was anyone still hungry? No, but multiple slices of pie and a bucket of ice cream per person was encouraged. Suffice to say, you will leave this dinner party more than satisfied. Spring is finally here and a progressive dinner is just what the doctor ordered. Bring your friends and your appetite.