Holiday Dining Options A’plenty including the Feast of Seven Fishes.
The Holiday season is a special time for gathering with family and friends, and this year a number of Washington area restaurants are unveiling their holiday dining options, from the traditional Christmas goose to a Feast of Seven Fishes.
As lore goes, the Feast of the Seven Fishes – commonly referred to as La Vigilia – began centuries ago in southern Italy and today has grown into a custom celebrated by Italians throughout the world, including right here in the nation’s capital. Multiple theories exist, but the significance of offering seven fishes remains veiled in mystery (if you didn’t know Italians are superstitious). Some believe seven fishes refer to the seven days of creation, while others cite the Seven Hills of Rome, seven sacraments in the Catholic Church or the seven deadly sins. Whatever the true origins, many DC area restaurants will offer a delicious meal taking the tradition as an opportunity to create a merry holiday menu inspired entirely by the sea.
One of my all time favorites, Vermilion in historic Old Town with award-winning chef Tony Chittum are bringing back the Feast of the Seven Fishes – a gastronomic homage to a culinary tradition steeped in Italian history. Beginning Monday, December 20, through Thursday, December 30 for $75 per person ($35 to add wine pairings) they’re offering their own interpretation of the Feast – a harmonious, restorative tasting menu that brings together an expansive selection of fish, many pulled from local waters. For reservations and more information, please call 703-684-9669. 1120 King St. Alexandria www.vermilionrestaurant.com
Potenza: Located just steps from the White House at 1430 H Street, NW (corner of 15th and H Streets, NW), Potenza will also be dishing up the Feast of Seven Fishes, a traditional Southern Italian meal from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, December 24th. Prepared by Stir Food Group’s Executive Chef Bryan Moscatello, this holiday feast highlights seven of chef’s favorite seafood dishes, familiar to him from his childhood in a traditional New Jersey Italian family. Priced at $199 for a party of four and $99 for each additional couple, items not to be missed include Artichoke Tart with House-made Stracciatella and Tomato Coulis; Seared Large Shrimps with Orange Sauce and Balsamico di Modena; Salmon Mignonette over Mediterranean Cous Cous; Stuffed Lobster with Crab Arreganata; Poached Sea Bass with Mussels, Clams and Zucchini; Seared Diver Scallops with Rocket Machete Potato and Balsamic Glazed Tuna with Warm Lentil Salad. The dinner finishes with a decadent Chocolate Glazed Pandoro with Hazelnut Sauce and Gelato. For more information and to make reservations, please call (202) 638-4444 or visit www.potenzadc.com
Dubbed one of the Best New Restaurants in America by Esquire magazine in November 2010, Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca, located at 1100 New York Ave, NW (corner of 12th and H Streets, NW), will offer a traditional Feast of Seven Fishes available from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Prepared by Executive Chef Nicholas Stefanelli, the meal will consist of fish and pasta, following the Roman Catholic tradition to refrain from the consumption of meat or milk on holy days. The numerology represents the seven sacraments and seven days of creation. Priced at $75 per person, menu highlights include Salt Cod with Potatoes, Onions, Garlic, Chilies on Grilled Bread; Shrimp, Calamari, Smelts, Oysters, Cauliflower and Lemon; Black Spaghetti with Catalina Island Sea Urchin and Aglio Olio E Peperoncino, as well as Grilled Eel with Onion Compote and Red Wine Vinaigrette. For the perfect ending, guests will enjoy Sponge Cake Filled with Lemon Cream. A limited a la carte menu is also available throughout the evening. For reservations please call (202) 216-9550 or visit www.bibianadc.com.
Casa Nonna will celebrate the Feast of The Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. Derived from Executive Chef Amy Brandwein’s travels throughout Italy, she has crafted a menu fit for a king. Choices consist of; Insalata Di Polipo (Grilled Baby Octopus Salad), Fregula Sarde Al Frutti Di Mare (Semolina Pearl Pasta, Calamari, Shrimp and Swordfish in a Spicy Tomato Sauce), Braciole Di Pesce Spada (Stuffed Swordfish Sicilian Style, Lemon Herb Sauce), and Budino Di Pannetone (Pannetone Bread Pudding, Caramel Sauce, Vanilla Gelato) for $42 per person. Casa Nonna is located at 1250 Connecticut Ave, N.W. 202-629-2505, www.casanonna.com
Paolo’s Ristorante in Georgetown will offer their special Feast of the Seven Fishes menu all starting December 20 and running through Christmas Eve. Paolo’s will serve a menu of authentic yet unique Italian dishes from the sea ranging from the traditional Baccala (salted cod) to the original Fennel Pollen Dusted Scallops. 1303 Wisconsin Avenue, NW. For additional information please visit www.paolosristorante.com or call (202) 333-7353.
Special Holiday Offerings:
701: The landmark 701 Restaurant, located at 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, will be offering a $55 per person three-course menu in addition to an a la carte menu from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Prepared by Executive Chef Ed Witt, entree standouts include Pan-Roasted Pheasant Breast & Stuffed Leg with Persimmon Sauce and Brussel Sprouts; Black Bass with Crispy Crab Gnocchi, Blood Orange Braised Fennel as well as Ricotta & Apple Ravioli with Shaved Black Truffles. For the perfect ending, guests can choose from Egg Nog CrÃ¨me Brulee, Cinnamon Tuile or Buche de Noel with Mushroom Meringue and Coffee Cream prepared by newly appointed Pastry Chef Melanie Parker. Valet parking is available for $8. For reservations or additional information please call (202) 393-0701 or visit www.701restaurant.com.
AGAINN, located at 1099 New York Avenue, NW, will feature traditional British Isle fare, available from 5:30 p.m. to close on Christmas Eve. Prepared by Executive Chef Wesley Morton, the menu begins with Seafood Terrine served with Scallop Mousse, Loch Duart Salmon, Cod, Shrimp, Dill aioli, and Mache followed by Christmas Goose served with Brussels Sprouts, Bacon Lardons, Goose Fat Potatoes and Bread Sauce and for dessert, a Christmas Pudding with Currants, Raisins, Winter Spices and Topped with Brandy Anglaise makes the perfect ending. The Christmas Eve menu is priced at $65 per person (tax, tip and gratuity not included), or $90 per person with wine pairings. For reservations or additional information please call (202) 639-9830 or visit www.againn.com.
Cork Wine Bar will be open from 5 pm – 11 pm on Christmas Eve. A family owned neighborhood restaurant serving freshly prepared food, cheese, and charcuterie, as well as a large selection of unique wines, Cork invites guests to fill their glasses with wines from around the world and enjoy a hearty meal of Pan-Roast Organic Chicken Breast with Prunes and Olives or the Lemon and Black Pepper Dusted Calamari and Rock Shrimp, in addition to other flavorful options perfect for the holiday season. Cork Wine Bar is located at 1720 14th Street NW. Please call 202-265-2675 for reservations.
Kushi Izakaya & Sushi will be open from 5 pm – 1 am on Christmas Eve. Diners can tis the season with a twist with Kushi’s diverse and flavorful menu of charcoal grilled robata and kushiyaki cuisine and fresh sushi prepared by Japanese experts. Family and friends can then stay late and welcome Christmas Day with signature cocktails like the Saketini or Lychee Martini. Kushi Izakaya & Sushi is located at 465 K Street NW. Please call 202-682-3123 for reservations.
Restaurant 3 in Clarendon will be open from 5 pm – 8:30 pm for dinner on Christmas Eve. Family and friends can gather together at this feel-good neighborhood eatery to enjoy delicious Southern cuisine. Savory dishes include Roasted Pork Loin wrapped in bacon and cornbread stuffing or the Harvest Risotto with acorn and butternut squash, sage, and thyme, among other comfort menu options. Diners can complement their meal with a drink from an impressive beer and cocktail list. Restaurant 3 is located at 2950 Clarendon Boulevard. Please call 703-524-4440 for reservations.
Neyla welcomes family and friends on Christmas Eve from 5 pm – 11:30 pm. In addition to their Mediterranean-inspired dinner menu, guests can celebrate with Neyla’s festive Lebanese Holiday Dinner served with herbed roasted turkey, chic pea gravy, eggplant puree, cranberry chutney, and delicious truffle whipped mashed potatoes. Neyla is located at 3206 N Street NW in Georgetown. Please call 202-333-635 for reservations.
OPEN Christmas Eve & Christmas Day
The Third Edition, a historic staple in the heart of Georgetown, will be open on Christmas Eve form 5 pm – 3 am and on Christmas Day from 7 pm – close. They will offer selections from their seasonal and American comfort food menu including their hearty Third Edition Burger and Grilled Chicken Sandwich. The Third Edition is located at 1218 Wisconsin Avenue NW. Please call 202-333-3700 for reservations.
Old Glory Barbeque in Georgetown will be open on Christmas Eve from 11 am – 3 am and on Christmas Day from 2 pm – 3 am. In hopes that Seinfeld himself may stop by, they will feature their Festivus-inspired homemade meatloaf with mashed potatoes, country gravy and green beans, in addition to their authentic all-American barbeque style menu. Old Glory Barbeque is located at 3139 M Street in Georgetown. Please call 202-337-3406 for reservations.
Cafe Saint-Ex, a Mid-City neighborhood restaurant inspired by modern American cuisine with unique and creative beverages, will be open for bar service only on Christmas night at 9 pm. For the perfect ending to the perfect day, Cafe Saint-Ex invites guests to cheers the night with a festive hot holiday cocktail, including the ChoCo Vine, their delicious take on spiked hot chocolate. Cafe Saint-Ex is located at 1847 14th Street NW. Please call 202-265-7839 for reservations.
Another option for holiday dining is Legal Sea Foods with its four Washington, D.C. area locations open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Each Legal Sea Foods location will be serving their delicious seafood a la carte menu as well as a holiday special entree. In addition, Legal Sea Foods is redefining the gift of giving by rewarding those that purchase $200 in gift cards (through the end of the year) with a complimentary lobster dinner featuring 1-1.25 lb steamed lobster with two sides. The lobster dinner voucher will be good for use from January 1st through March 31, 2011. The hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are the following respectively: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 704 7th Street NW, Washington, D.C. (202) 347–0007; 11:00 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 2301 Jefferson Davis Hwy in Crystal City, Arlington, VA (703) 415-1200; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Tysons Galleria in McLean, VA (703) 827-8900 and 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Westfield Shopping Mall in Bethesda, MD (301) 469-5900.
And a Very Merry New Year! xo ~ Lisa