We’re crossing our fingers that spring is really here to stay, and you know what that means: dining al fresco, lighter food and drink, and the dreaded three-way mirror visit. Luckily, there are a few local chefs introducing new menus designed to keep the pounds off so you can indulge in other foods without blowing your entire healthy eating regime. If you must partake, there are new brunch menus to try, sinfully rich chocolate desserts, and even treats that are spicy.
Black’s Bar & Kitchen
Just in time for spring, chef Dane Sewlall has reworked the à la carte brunch menu at Black's Bar & Kitchen to reflect the seasonal changes in seafood and produce. Now in addition to the full buffet brunch and raw bar you can order five new tasty new dishes like Oyster Benedict with fried oysters with over easy eggs, horseradish choron sauce on an English muffin, grilled asparagus, and arugula salad. If you can’t handle seafood in the a.m., try the housemade cheddar biscuit topped with buttermilk fried chicken, bacon jam, scrambled eggs with aged cheddar, and a side of hash browns. Get a jump on the day and go spicy with the house-made green chili sausage burrito that includes salsa verde, scrambled eggs, pepper Jack cheese, sausage, onions, and home fries.
Cafe Deluxe is sweet on the warm weather trend and on Monday, March 30 launched a selection of desserts designed to tempt even those born without the dessert-loving gene. Chocoholics will swoon over the colossal organic chocolate cake. This towering chocolate behemoth is made of four layers of dark chocolate cake filled and decorated with dark chocolate ganache and served with a tart raspberry sauce. A more rustic chocolate treat is the brownie ice cream sandwich comprising vanilla ice cream, homemade brownies, and drizzled with chocolate sauce and walnuts—and let’s not forget their truly indulgent bread pudding. They are made with a changing selection of baked fruits and are served with vanilla ice cream.
If you need to lose a few pounds of winter weight there’s a new menu to put on your radar screen. It’s from chef Jeff Tunks at DC Coast and he’s calling it the Fast & Fit lunch. It began Monday, March 30 and each day of the week chef Jeff Tunks is featuring a different healthy three-course lunch for just $20. Each day a different fish is the center of the plate and the entire meal is designed to get you back to your office in record time; chefTunks doesn’t want you to have any excuse for eating the other kind of fast food. Tuesday’s miso glazed Icelandic cod with kale salad, ginger vinaigrette, and edamame green tea cake for dessert sounds like a fab Asian-inspired lunch, but maybe Friday’s roasted Carolina rainbow trout with lentil salad, baby spinach, red wine vinaigrette, and a dessert of dark chocolate mousse speaks to you. Once thing is certain, you have plenty of tasty options for lunch during the workweek.
Tortilla Coast is one of D.C.’s most popular Tex-Mex eateries and any time they make a menu change its worthy of a word or two. This time, it’s a spring menu unveiling. On Monday, March 30, they launched a new list of postres that will get chocolate and dessert lovers’ hearts beating faster. In addition to classics like flan, churros, and tres leches cake, they are also introducing desserts made with classic Mexican ingredients that offer updated takes on old standbys—and they pack some heat. The chocolate tamal is a molten flourless chocolate cake that comes topped with ancho chili chocolate sauce and vanilla bean ice cream; the cinnamon ancho brownie is made with cinnamon and ancho chili chocolate topped with cinnamon ice cream; the banana split empanadas includes three empanadas stuffed with bananas, strawberries, and duce de leche, and are served with Mexican Cherry Coke reduction served with an ancho chili chocolate dipping sauce.
It’s that time again, you know, Zengo’s latest release in their Asian-inspired, Latin fusion “Test Kitchen” series. For April, the menu of small plates and signature cocktails runs from April 1 to June 30. This go round chef de cuisine Jason Streiff has entitled the new menu: Test Kitchen: Indonesia to Argentina. The new dishes satisfy the need for protein while honoring the Yin and Yang of Asian cuisine that marries a mosaic of textures and tastes ranging from sweet, salty, savory, bitter, spicy, and sour. Look for the stuffed crispy tofu with chorizo, shrimp, carrot, bean sprout, and a sweet soy dipping sauce; Indonesian-style lump blue crab cakes with cucumber salad, lemon, tomato, and chili crab sauce; and beef tongue escabeche with pickled bell pepper, garlic, olive oil, hard-boiled egg, and cilantro.
You won’t want to skimp on dessert, so try the lychee mousse with mango, vanilla cake, and raspberry sauce. Rob Day, national beverage director, has created the perfect potent potables to accompany your meal like the Smoked Ginger (jengibre ahumado with rye whiskey, ginger, honey syrup, apricot brandy, lemon juice, and ginger beer), or the Tucuman (gin, apricot brandy, sweet vermouth, and blood orange bitters).