“Please can I have some more matzah,” said no one ever. Even when it’s that whole-grain organic spelt stuff, having matzah eight days in a row can get, shall we say, stale. Passover eating doesn’t have to be so. This city is full of exciting Pesach eats, from the traditional to the avant-garde. L’chaim!
We start at DGS Delicatessen in Dupont Circle, where chef and owner Nick Wiseman is helping guests “celebrate the Exodus from winter.” The budding season is indeed alive and well on this vibrantly creative menu, which begins with a ricotta and spring pea kreplach. Instead of gefilte, it’s pan-roasted striped bass, followed by local lamb (we won’t dab its blood on your door, promise). End sweetly with an apple-rhubarb crumble. Naturally, there’s an optional wine pairing for the four courses.
It’s a smidge more traditional at Dino’s Grotto in Shaw, where the Passover Feast menu is also served all week long. Haroset is much more than apples here, where an international trio of this Seder plate mainstay begins the meal. Latke-like leek fritters are next, followed by another traditional trio: chopped liver, gefilte fish and soup. For your entree, it’s braised veal, citrus fish or chicken legs. Chef and owner Dean Gold invites in both Elijah and Italian flavors with the “almost torte” for dessert.
Though relatively new, Teddy & the Bully Bar is still full of tradition: its sister restaurant (the now-closed Felix in Adams Morgan) began serving Passover delights way back in 1996. Co-owner Alan Popvsky spoke warmly of continuing this important offering: “It fits perfectly,” he says, “because Roosevelt was one of the first presidents to work against anti-Semitism and had the first Jewish cabinet member.” With this in mind, Teddy’s menu, served on April 3 and 4, boasts four courses of unique items like chicken liver-stuffed deviled eggs and Shiraz-braised brisket. Surely the Rough Riders would approve.
We’re singing praises for the festive Seder on April 3 at Equinox, co-sponsored by JFE. For the fourth time, Todd and Ellen Gray’s restaurant is hosting a first-night Seder. Chef Todd has fashioned an evening that will, he tells us, “feature a sophisticated, community-oriented event with a modern menu of selections from The New Jewish Table along with Israeli wine pairings.” To top it off, and just like Miriam and her tambourine, guitarist Dave Mosick will perform live acoustic jazz. “Passover has a lot of singing and general merriment so we thought it would be fitting to have some live music to keep thing spirited,” shared Ellen Gray.
After super successful High Holiday and Purim events, JFE is returning to Logan Tavern to celebrate Passover with two vibrant Seder meals, on March 3 and 4. This two-seating, three-course dinner features red wine-braised brisket, grilled salmon or matzah-meal-fried eggplant, as well as optional wine pairings. A Seder plate is included; the dinner is BYOH (bring your own haggadah). A portion of proceeds benefits JFE.
On the more traditional side is Mon Ami Gabi in Bethesda. On each table is a Seder plate, and everyone gets matzah ball soup, gefilte fish and two types of chopped liver: chicken and Suzy Friedman’s ridiculously delicious, famous vegetarian option. There are also latkes and flourless chocolate cake, but hurry: the menu’s only served April 3 and 4.
Passover gets hot at Rosa Mexicano, where the prix-fixe menu begins with Jalisco-style pozole soup with chipotle-marrow matzah balls. Mains include options like matzah-breaded chicken breast and banana leaf-wrapped brisket with tzimmes. The chef tells us, “We’re always excited to find new ways to put a Latin twist on Passover classics.” ¡Qué rico!
Speaking of hot: Soupergirl warms us up with spectacular seasonal spoonfuls. This spring, there’s ginger-spiced carrot soup, especially delicious before or after a heavy meal. Ginger, owner Sara Polon says, is helpful with digestion (and perhaps better than another piece of jelly roll).
Finally, we’ll stay on the sweet side at Sprinkles in Georgetown, which once again is serving its famous flourless chocolate cupcakes—almost indistinguishable from the stuff with chametz. Whether you’re looking for appetizers, savory dishes, dessert or a decadent prix-fixe meal, you’ll find ever-increasing Passover options all around the DMV.
Of course, plenty of places offer catering as well. Order from spots like local Whole Foods Market stores, Balducci’s between March 20 and April 12 or Parkway Deli by March 31 for everything that appears on a Seder plate. For the strictly kosher set, Moti’s Market and Shalom Kosher provide call-ahead take-home meals.
Top photo: Mon Ami Gabi’s Seder plate.