Presidents Day Means Monday Brunch
Presidents Day is Monday and many people in the DMV will have the day off. To celebrate, many restaurants in the DMV will serve brunch on Feb. 16.
Ambar, 523 Eighth St. SE, will offer a prix-fixe brunch of unlimited small plates from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. for $35 per person. Brunch menu includes a bottomless supply of featured cocktails such as the traditional mimosa; Bloody Mary and the Ambar mimosa with Champagne, peach puree and blood orange.
City Tap House, 901 Ninth St. NW, will offer brunch from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Prices range from $6-$26. There’s also a bottomless brunch bar, which includes endless Bloody Marys, mimosas and beer-mosas for $18 per person.
Commissary, 1443 P St. NW, will serve its regular a la carte weekend brunch from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Brunch entrees range from $5.50-$14.
Copperwood Tavern, 4021 Campbell Ave., Shirlington, will serve brunch from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Prices range from $4 to $18.
El Centro D.F., 1819 14th St. NW and 1218 Wisconsin Ave. NW, will serve an all-you-can-eat Mexican brunch from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. for $35 per person or $5-$15 a la carte. Bottomless brunch drinks, such as the Michelada, Bloody Maria and seasonal Aqua Fresca cocktails are also available.
Grillfish, 1200 New Hampshire Ave. NW, will offer its oyster a la carte brunch from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. with $1 oysters on the half shell and other entrée priced from $11.25-$17.25. There’s also a build you own Bloody Mary bar for $10.
Logan Tavern, 1423 P St. NW., will serve brunch from 11 a.m.4 p.m. The a la carte items range from $10.25-$19.50. There is also a Bloody Mary menu to choose your vodka, tequila or gin, juice, vegetables and other flavors for $9.50 each.
Masa 14, 1825 14th St. NW, will offer a Latin-Asian brunch from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. for $39. It includes an unlimited selection of traditional mimosas, Masa mimosa, lychee bellini, bacon Bloody Mary and lemon lager. Brunch can also be ordered a la carte with prices ranging from $4-$13.
The Pig, 1320 14th St. NW, will serve its regular weekend a la carte brunch from 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Entrée prices range from $13-$15.
Toro Toro, 1300 I St. NW, will serve brunch from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Priced at $39 per person, brunch includes a choice of Pan-Latin small plates and Toro Toro’s “Rodizio Experience,” buffet. There is also a Bloody Mary Bar where guests can create their own cocktail by selecting from a list of spirits, house-made mixers and a large collection of rare hot sauces and garnishes. Also available are a bottomless supply of featured cocktails such as the traditional mimosa; Toro mimosa with Champagne and fresh passion fruit puree; mango mimosa with Champagne and fresh mango puree, or the blood orange mimosa with Champagne and fresh blood orange puree.
Zengo, 781 Seventh St. NW, will offer bottomless brunch from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. for $39 per person and $10 per child under 10. Zengo’s brunch menu is complemented by a bottomless supply of featured cocktails such as the Bloody Mary, Bloody Maria and sake sangria, as well as four types of mimosas. Signature cocktails are available from the full menu for an additional $5 per cocktail.
City Tap House celebrates Lundi Gras
Guests who dine at City Tap House, 901 Ninth St. NW, on Monday will receive festive Mardi Gras beads along with food and drink specials throughout the day in honor of Lundi Gras, also known as Shrove Monday or Fat Monday, which kicks off the beginning of Mardi Gras.
Guests can enjoy New Orleans-inspired dishes including chicken and Andouille sausage gumbo with Carolina gold rice; Louisiana crawfish cake Benedict with creamed spinach, poached eggs, hollandaise sauce and red bliss potato hash; barbecued shrimp, Louisiana prawns with goat cheese and smoked paprika Stone Mill grits; Louisiana red fish Pontchartrain with crawfish, crispy oysters, lump crab meat and creamy parmesan Carolina gold rice; and bananas fosters with flambéed with brown sugar and rum, served over Dolcezza vanilla bean gelato. Prices range from $8 to $28.
The bar will be pouring Abita Brewing Cos.’ Naughty Quaker Oatmeal Stout Cask and Extra Hopped Wrought Iron IPA from their cask beer engines, and hurricane drink specials will be available throughout the day. Prices for draft and cask beers range from $6-$10 each, and hurricanes will be priced at $7.
Celebrate Mardi Gras at Central Michel Richard
Central Michele Richard, 1001 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, lets the good times roll at their 8th annual Mardi Gras party on from 5-10:30 p.m. on Feb. 17 with Cajun style specialty menu items, cocktails, music and festive décor.
The a la carte menu includes oyster gratin ($18) or frogs legs Cajun style ($16) for starters; a main course of jambalaya or crusted cod creole (both $24); and bourbon raisin bread pudding or banana foster crepes (both $9) for dessert.
French-quarter libations feature iconic cocktails such as The Hurricane with Bacardi, Myers, Galliano, passion fruit , orange and pineapple juices, and bitters; Sazerac with rye whiskey, Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters, and Absinthe; Cocktail a la Louisiane with rye whiskey, Benedictine, sweet vermouth, Peychaud’s Bitters and absinthe; Abinsthe Suisesse with Lucid absinthe, Orgeat Syrup and orange flower water; and Corpse Reviver No.2 with Plymouth gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, absinthe and lemon. All cocktails are priced at $12
The acoustic swing-jazz quartet Laissez-Foure will perform tunes with a tinge of New Orleans from 7-10 p.m. Guests will receive Mardi Gras beads and will be decked out to invoke Bourbon Street on Pennsylvania Ave.
Nage Bistro serves “Meatless Friday” specials during Lent
Nage Bistro, 1600 Rhode Island Ave. NW, will offer Meatless Friday during Lent. From Ash Wednesday, Feb. 18, through Apr. 2, executive chef Dwayne Motley prepares weekly specials highlighting fresh fish and seafood. The fish dishes will be available Fridays from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. for lunch and 5-10:30 p.m. for dinner.
The Lent menu includes miso glazed salmon with rice noodle salad; scallop po’boy with beefsteak tomatoes, romaine lettuce and sauce remoulade; whole grilled bronzino with sun chokes, Brussel sprouts and trumpet mushrooms; rawa crusted skate wing with leeks, Yukon potatoes and savoy cabbage; and black pepper cod with salsify, collards, basmati rice and spiced coconut broth. Specials are priced from $26-$30.
Zengo, Fainting Goat celebrate Chinese New Year
Zengo, chef Richard Sandoval’s Latin-Asian inspired restaurant at 781 Seventh St. NW, will celebrate Chinese New Year, the Year of the Goat. From Feb. 19 through Feb. 22, Zengo will be serving three dinner specials that represent longevity, happiness, wealth and luck for the New Year.
The new dishes include Waygu beef gyoza with pork, shrimp, serrano ham and a black vinegar sauce, which stands for luck and is priced at $15; vegetable spring rolls with shiitake mushrooms, won bok, carrots, bean sprouts and a sweet and sour sauce, which stands for wealth and priced at $9; and shrimp lo mein with mushrooms, roasted red peppers, scallions and cilantro, which represents longevity and happiness and is priced at $12. The long noodles are served so that all guests at the table will have a long life. Also, dinner guests will receive a fortune cookie with complimentary prizes such a mojito, an Angry Zengo roll or churros.
The Fainting Goat, 1330 U St. NW, will also celebrate the start of the Chinese New Year with a Chinese-inspired family-style tasting menu and drinks, traditional lion dances, kung fu movie screenings and more on Feb. 19 from 6 p.m. to close.
The nightlong celebration begins with a family-style Chinese-inspired feast featuring dishes that traditionally symbolize good luck. For $35/person, dishes will include Szechwan goat with long beans, tea-smoked duck with cashews, clams with XO sauce, crab toast, steamed bass with ginger and cabbage, spring rolls and steamed dumplings, mustard greens with pomegranates and turnip cakes. Also, there will be $4 specials on Tsingtao beer, imported from China, and good luck cocktail specials such as Cara Cara Punch with Jameson Irish whiskey, Aperol, hibiscus and Cara Cara oranges; and the Dragon’s Blessing with dragon fruit, Baijiu, St. Germain, lychee, tangerine bitters and egg white.
To bring good luck, a troupe of traditional lion dancers will perform around the restaurant, warding off evil spirits and blessing the kitchen and restaurant, while guests are invited to make offerings of red “Lucky Money” envelopes to the lion. And kung fu movies, featuring traditional Chinese martial arts, will play throughout the night on the restaurant’s TVs.
The goat, or “Yang,” is the eighth sign of the Chinese zodiac calendar, which consists of 12 animal signs. It is the said to be the most serene and calm of all the animal signs. In Eastern philosophy, those born in the Year of the Goat are believed to be gentle, creative, and thoughtful. Other character traits include strong sense of kindheartedness and justice.
Rakia tasting challenge begins at Ambar on Monday
Prizes are waiting from those who sample all 33 flavors of Rakia, the classic Balkan beverage, during Ambar’s Rakia Tasting Challenge over the next six months.
The restaurant’s rakia menu includes classic versions of the beverage, produced by distilling fermented plums or apricots, as well as unique varietals made from cherry, pear and even honey. Over the course of six months, guests will have the opportunity to complete a rakia tasting card. Those who drink 1.5 ounces of all 33 Rakia flavors will be eligible to win a grand prize of a special 750 ML rakia bottle.
Fans won’t want to miss the opportunity to sample popular flavors such as Sokolova plum rakia made from hand-picked plums indigenous to Serbia, triple-distilled in copper stills and aged in neutral barrels for five years, or the Bozic apricot rakia, which recreates the unique aroma of the Mediterranean.
After 10 and 20 Rakia tastings, guests receive a complimentary 1.5-ounce pour of rakia, which does not count towards the 33 total. Once 33 rakia tastings are complete, participants receive a personalized 750 ML rakia bottle of their choice, which will be stored in a private locker with a name tag to be enjoyed at the restaurant.
Also, diners will receive a $50 gift card by participating in the restaurant’s social media contest by submitting at least five photos via Facebook and Instagram documenting five separate rakia-related experiences at Ambar in addition to meeting the criteria for the Rakia Tasting Challenge.
Ambar is located at 523 Eighth St. SE.
Blue Duck Tavern debuts new winter menu
Executive chef Ryan LaRoche of Blue Duck Tavern, 1201 24th St. NW, introduced a new winter farm-fresh menu.
Dishes making their debut this month on Blue Duck Tavern’s winter menu include potato-crusted hake with crispy fingerling potatoes, kohlrabi remoulade and malt vinegar at lunch. Items on both the lunch and dinner menu include smoked beet salad with Ewe’s blue cheese, candied walnuts, beet relish and sherry vinaigrette; cured Carolina mountain trout with blood orange, jalapeno and trout roe; beer-braised Bouchot mussels with smoked Andouille sausage, saffron and potato; jumbo lump crab cakes with horseradish broth and Brussels sprouts slaw; toasted bulgur wheat with goat milk yogurt, house granola and pomegranate; wood oven-roasted farm vegetables with toasted bulgur wheat and red wine vinaigrette; Brussels sprouts with pickled cranberries and mustard BBQ; and braised collard greens with smoked bacon. Other newcomers found only on the dinner menu are seared foie gras with candied apple, smoked honey butter and corn bread; chicken-fried pharaoh quail with sweet pepper relish; braised rabbit tagliatelle, smoked carrots, kale and rabbit liver mousse; and crispy pork head cheese with red pepper hollandaise.
Winter desserts found on both the lunch and dinner menu from executive pastry chef Naomi Gallego include Earl Grey custard with speculoos cookie, mandarin sorbet with Meyer lemon curd; mocha custard cake with whipped mascarpone cheese; warm pear and almond galette with maple whipped ganache and candied almonds; and spiced red wine cherry cobbler and biscuit topping and vanilla bean ice cream. Guests can also enjoy Blue Duck Tavern’s “market dessert” that rotates every few days, as well as crowd favorites such as the signature apple pie and sugar cookies, along with a seasonal selection of ice cream and sorbet.
Stefano Figerio takes over Fiola’s kitchen
Chef Stefano Frigerio, a veteran of Washington’s Italian fine dining scene, is the new executive chef at Fiola, 601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.
Born in Lake Como, Italy, Frigerio first cooked with chef/owner Fabio Trabocchi in London in 1997 when the two were young cooks and helped open two Italian restaurants together. They joined forces again in 2002 at the Maestro at the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner.
After the restaurant closed, Frigerio went to Cinghiale in Baltimore, but left after a few months. He then surfaced at Mio, which served Mediterranean cuisine at the time, and founded the Copper Pot Food Co., selling homemade pastas, sauces and preserves at local farmer’s markets and shops. Most recently he’s worked as a corporate executive chef at Arnold & Porter law firm while helping raise his children.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.