For the high holidays, there’s nothing as sweet as sharing a meal with family and friends. Sitting around the table over soul-warming eats with people important to us is a major part of the celebration, and well beyond apples and honey.
In and around the District, there are several restaurants opening their doors this year for festive meals. These include DGS Delicatessen, Mon Ami Gabi, Equinox, Soupergirl, Dino and The Parkway Deli. Most of these run a prix-fixe dinner so that you don’t have to be concerned about planning and cooking a feast in your own oven.
Dupont Circle’s DGS is pouring wine pairings with its four-course dinner menu, served September 4 to 7. It’s a modern and seasonal take, beginning with pumpkin kreplach and featuring seared rockfish with a leek and saffron broth, a honey-glazed duck breast with rosemary and, you guessed it, apple. Chef Barry Koslow has blended Sephardic and Mediterranean notes, like leeks, pomegranate and pistachios, with more traditional Ashkenazi dishes.
At both the Bethesda and Reston Mon Ami Gabi locations, on September 4 and 5, tradition takes center stage. Challah with honey, chopped liver, gefilte fish and matzah ball soup are all starters, as is Suzy Friedman’s inventive vegetarian chopped liver. Tzimmes and kugel play stand-up sides to everyone’s favorite braised brisket and chicken, and the meal ends with a decadent apple tarte tatin with caramel sauce.
Todd Gray’s downtown stand-out Equinox is taking a page from his and wife Ellen’s well-received cookbook, The New Jewish Table. They reinterpret Jewish favorites with modern twists over a six-course dinner with wine pairings, available September 3 through 8. The seasonal curried butternut squash soup comes with a touch of heat, followed by a salt-baked snapper entrée and the requisite apple sighting in the form of a flaky rich strudel.
Give your fork a rest with the holiday menu from Soupergirl. This local company uses seasonal, local ingredients in its all-vegetarian foods. “Summer produce will still be bursting at the market,” says founder and chef Sara Polon, so the offerings will focus on bright, zesty gazpachos and super-fresh green salads.
At Dino in Cleveland Park, old-world Ashkenazi foods meld seamlessly with Italian influences. Chopped liver comes on crostini, challah is served with apple honey mostarda and risotto is made creamier with giblets. The Rosh Hashanah dinner will be available September 4 and 5. Dino is also serving a pre-fast meal starting at 5 pm on September 13 for diners preparing to go 25 hours without food, with options like fennel and orange salad, chicken soup and braised veal.
“However, what’s really fun is breaking the fast,” says owner Dean Gold. “I created a Lower East Side dairy meal drawn from the deli, but with a Tuscan and Sephardic twist like my cousins used to make. Break-fast for me has always been about family, and we’ll have a meal built around lighter foods served family-style.” The break-fast menu will be available starting at 5 pm (“It must be after sundown somewhere, and we will never tell!”) on September 14.
The antipasti includes a ratatouille and fall veggies representing the new year. Crespelle with raisins and ricotta, called Tuscan blintzes, share space with house-cured sardines, inspired by pickled herring. An international feast, indeed.
Plenty of places have special to-go offerings as well, which is the experience at The Parkway Deli in Rockville. “Most people pickup up food and take it home to celebrate,” says company president Danny Gurewitz. His restaurant serves the same menu for dine-in and take-out consisting of favorite authentic deli dishes: everything from gefilte fish and chopped liver to matzah ball soup and baked chicken.
This year, don’t let worries about cooking stop you from commemorating the high holidays and all the festivities alongside family and friends when you can share an exquisite chef-created meal, whether traditional, fusion or ultra-contemporary.
Top photo: DGS Delicatessen Chef Barry Koslow’s seared rockfish with leek and saffron broth.