Washington, DC New Menu Report: 04/29/15

Washington, DC New Menu Report: 04/29/15
Red Light

Whether you prefer to dine in power spots, gastro pubs, or eat dessert first, the District has plenty of distinct dining options on offer. 

It’s an old cliché that April showers bring May flowers. For some artistically inclined chefs in Washington D.C., May flowers inspire a colorful motif for new spring menus. When it comes to dining out, we are more than power restaurants, ethnic eateries, and posh hotels. Second only to San Francisco for the title of top beer consuming city, the District of Columbia has a growing craft beer culture with wide appeal. Slowly but surely, we are seeing unimaginative or inedible bar fare replaced by more appetizing selections. From gastro pubs to power dining spots, there are some tempting new menus, liquid and solid, to consider this week beginning with flights of brewed fancy.

City Tap House
Portland, Oregon is a city known for its happening food scene, but they are also crazy about craft beer, and on Friday, May 8, from 5 to 10 p.m., City Tap House, is hosting a Deschutes Flight Night.  You will be able to sample some tasty brews from Deschutes Brewery out of Portland, Oregon paired, as a standalone flight or paired with snacks. The flight is $15 and includes Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Black Butte Porter, Fresh Squeezed IPA, and Twilight Summer Ale. The flight with food pairings are $25 and go like this:

  • Mirror Pond Pale Ale | Roasted pork shoulder corn cake with mole sauce
  • Black Butte Porter | Brioche slider of Benton’s ham and cambozola, Mornay sauce, and fig and jalapeño jam 
  • Fresh Squeezed IPA | Texas crab cake topped with a fried green tomato and citrus Rémoulade sauce
  • Twilight Summer Ale | Shrimp ceviche with avocado and plantain tostones

The folks at Daikaya, Penn Quarter’s popular izakaya, are honoring Japan’s Children’s Day on Sunday, May 3, in both the ramen shop and the izakaya upstairs. Any kid under 12 that dines with their parents will receive a complimentary cup of soft serve ice cream prepared by executive chef Katsuya Fukushima. Each day, chef Katsuya prepares a different flavor of his popular soft serve ice cream topped with homemade strawberry sauce and Lil mocha, so grab the kiddies, enjoy a bowl of ramen, and salute the little ones.

The Oval Room
Now that executive chef John Melfi is in charge at The Oval Room, diners are benefiting from his creative food and world class execution. Inspired by the color and beauty of spring blossoms, chef Melfi has created a new menu that makes each plate a canvas for his creativity. Each dish is an exquisite example of the delicate beauty found in nature and celebrates the flavors of edible flowers complimented by a range of inventive ingredient combinations. Look for dishes like citrus-cured salmon with gin-infused cucumbers, sake- cured salmon roe, and sunburst pansies; burrata with shaved artichokes, cucumbers, Meyer lemon vinaigrette, and wild onion blooms; rockfish with pea purée, heirloom carrots, cara cara orange, and mint blossoms; and for the finale, ricotta bomboloni with lemon curd, burnt caramel, and buttermilk ice cream.

Red Light
For a taste of naughty and nice there’s no place in the District like Red Light and they are debuting a new chef, new dishes, and cocktails. New chef Alina Bothen makes savory and sweet with skill. She is whipping up decadent treats galore and diners are sure to flock in droves for her delicately moist olive oil cake or tangy Matcha green tea cake, while chocoholics will adore the intensely chocolate Nutella s’mores with ice cream. While this is one place where it’s acceptable to start with dessert, Red Light is also premiering some new savory dishes too. Look for spring lamb stew made with baby vegetables; fresh artichokes prepared with chickpeas, tomato, eggplant, cauliflower, and za’atar-laced yogurt; and a cheese board along with pork and duck rillette.

For your sipping pleasure, bar manager Jonny Fellman has added a few cocktail concoctions like the El Viejo made with jalapeño tequila, orange, and chocolate mole bitters; the Pseudonym, which includes rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, ginger liqueur, and orange bitters; Peep Show prepared with gin, Pimms, lemon juice, cucumber, mint, and ginger beer; and the Mata Hari made with whiskey infused with vindaloo curry blended with apricot liqueur and lemon juice.

Shake Shack
Whether your commute is from Philly or to New York, beginning May 11 you can grab breakfast at Shake Shack at Union Station. They will offer egg sandwiches with your choice of sausage, bacon, or cheese, will serve Stumptown coffee, and while it might not be early enough for some, service will run from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Summer Whitford is the D.C. City Guide Editor at The Daily Meal and the DC Wine Examiner. You can follow her on Twitter @FoodandWineDiva.

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