14th Street Corridor
Domenico Apollaro, chef de cuisine at Lupo Verde, has debuted his tasty winter menu for the holidays. Known for creating authentic menus that celebrate rustic Italian cuisine, he didn’t disappoint with his winter menu this year. Selections include antipasti and small plates of seafood, and meat dishes from Emilia-Romagna, Sicily, and Sardinia, balanced by seasonal contorni. His handmade pasta dishes — strozzapreti with bottarga, prawns, and swordfish carpaccio enveloped in a mussel and clam sauce, or fresh tonnarelli tossed with Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino, and pepe — are stellar, and be sure to sample the grilled, house-made luganica sausage with smoked paprika mayo, polenta cream, and crispy shallots. Prices range from $7 to $29.
Washingtonians in search of warming winter tidbits will love ENO Wine Bar’s new “Fondue for Two” menu. ENO features locally sourced cheese, charcuterie, wine, and chocolates, so get cozy with someone special and sample a traditional Swiss fondue blend of Emmental and Gruyère cheeses melted with Kirschwasser. For just $19, you and your companion can dip diced bread, pickled pearl onions, and cornichons into molten cheese, and for just an additional $2 per person, try dipping charcuterie, cherry tomatoes, and grapes.
Head over to Sushiko and try the three-course prix fixe lunch menu offered daily for just $23.50 per person. At the helm of the kitchen is an executive chef and brother team of Piter and Handry Tjan, and their new lunch menu is a mix of traditional and innovative new dishes. The first course includes a choice of miso soup, smoked mussel soup with eggplant and enoki mushrooms, or seaweed salad; for the second course, you have a choice of salmon ceviche or shrimp tempura appetizers, and for the third course, guests may choose one of the following: chicken teriyaki with tomato salad, 10-piece sushi assortment with nigiri and maki, crunchy shrimp rolls, or cucumber avocado rolls.
Knowing that Washingtonians love a good brunch, executive chef Allan Javery is happy to oblige with his new Sunday-only brunch menu at Second State. This intimate spot, in the heart of D.C.’s business district, includes standby dishes like eggs Benedict, some surefire favorites like raw and grilled oysters, as well as Scotch eggs, blueberry ricotta pancakes, and duck confit hash with poached eggs and potatoes. Donning your Sunday best pays off, too: a complimentary glass of Veuve Clicquot, or Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye, greets women in dresses and men in jackets. Brunch items range from $5 to $26.
Richard Sandoval’s Latin flavors are hot and his latest invention is the “Test Kitchen” dinner series at Zengo DC, which is based on the cuisine of chefs from Los Cabos, Mexico. Entitled, “Taste of Cabos,” this menu includes three dishes paired with two cocktails. Try the sea bass tiradito with avocado-yuzu purée and salsa negra soy sauce, and octopus carnitas “bibimbap” cooked with mushrooms, roasted corn, togorashi, jicama, and salsa roja-gochujang sauce. Available through December 31, 2014.
The Oval Room is one of Washington’s grand dame dining spots. Posh, elegant, and the place of preference for power lunches, its recent makeover did more than just freshen up the décor; it turned high-priced lunches on their head. If you sit at the bar, for $20 (that’s right, $20) you can choose one of five main dishes, one of three desserts, and one of three drinks from the special menu. Standouts include the goat cheese ravioli with lemon butter and sorrel, the mojo pulled pork with cucumber, chipotle mayo, and cilantro, and the Oval Room affogato of caramel ice cream with spiced Vietnamese coffee. The Ostatu Blanco Rioja, 2012 and Omission Pale Ale are brilliant libations. So go. Eat. Drink. Be merry. Save money.
Summer Whitford is the D.C. City Guide Editor at The Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @FoodandWineDiva.