Coming off the heels of holiday feasting and gift-giving mayhem, January is often a month of reflection. Serious, contemplative types examine their lives and resolve to do better in the coming year. Foodies, on the other hand, tend to resolve to dine out more often, eat better, and make other sorts of gustatory resolutions. If you fall into the latter category, this week’s menu report has a variety of options to consider adding to your food resolutions list for 2015.
Be a little Balkan and brunch at Ambar, the nation’s capital’s first Balkan restaurant. Free flowing cocktails, all-you-can-eat selection of mezze, and cheerful ambience make this a fun spot to spend your day off. Explore the unique menu and try things like traditional Eggs Benedict with a twist; Ambar's version is served with ajvar, prosciutto, and kajmak sauce. Alternatively, sample the Balkan salad with tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, onions, and aged cheese; or the house made, freshly ground Balkan burger. It’s made with beef and pork, cucumber yogurt, roasted pepper spread, aged cheese, and cabbage slaw, and served with homemade potatoes. Ambar is also home to Washington’s first rakia bar with over 30 varieties of rakia, a fruit brandy that’s popular all around the Balkans.
City Tap House
City Tap House is the quintessential beer-centric American pub, and they have created a new Game Day Menu in honor of the All-American sport football. Saturdays and Sundays, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., gridiron fans can sample tailgate favorites like Philly cheese steak, kentuckyaki wings with buttermilk dipping sauce, Bavarian pretzels with smoked Gouda cheese sauce, bacon and fennel sausage with pickled jalapeño sausage pizza, and duck confit nachos. For $10, true beer fans can "rent" a 20-ounce beer stein for the game and enjoy refills of select beers for just $5 each.
D.C.’s food and restaurant scene is exploding like a pressure cooker with a loose valve, and at the center of this boom is EatsPlace, a culinary incubator with a heart that’s located in Petworth. At the helm is the founder, Katy Chang, and when she’s not in the kitchen concocting organic bitters or ginger spiced hot sauces, she is helping other people realize their restaurant dreams. This month, she will be on the other side of the incubator helm when she stages her own popup, Baba’s Dumplings, which features a menu of hand kneaded noodles and dumplings, as well as soups and desserts for hungry meat eaters and vegetarians. The miso broth in the vegan noodle soup is packed with savory umami flavors from the seasonal veggies, dash of 88CS hot sauce, and the deceptively porcine richness of the seitan char sui. For the perfect ending, a creamy ice cream sandwich is in order comprising vanilla ice cream, rice cereal, and handmade marshmallows.
Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab
January may be the month people resolve to diet and lose weight, but it is also a month to indulge your sweet tooth and have it benefit a good cause, thanks to Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab. Throughout January, Joe’s Pie It Forward program will donate $1 to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation every time the restaurant sells a slice of Mascarpone Cheesecake Pie. Rich, creamy, and decadent, this new pie is made with a pistachio-biscotti crust and topped with fluffy whipped mascarpone and served with an intense coulis of fresh raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries. It’s as original as the first Joe’s in Miami Beach is and just as good for the environment as it is to eat.
Smith & Wollensky
Just in time for the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s (RAMW) Winter Restaurant Week 2015, Smith & Wollensky DC is introducing corporate executive chef Matt King's new, house made beef bacon-inspired menu—and they are offering the special menus and prices for the entire month. Until January 31, guests can enjoy the three-course prix fixe lunch menu for $20.15 and the three-course, prix fixe dinner menu for $35.15. Each prix fixe menu features several choices of mouthwatering starters, entrées, and desserts, many of which include a "kiss" of this new beefy bacon. Despite its carnivorous overtones, this is a creative menu that offers other seafood, vegetable, and salad dishes. In addition, alternatives are available for guests who prefer to order traditionally prepared steak, seafood, and vegetarian dishes.