The Washington, DC, food scene is as exciting as ever. What better way to toast your town and its incredible restaurants than on the New Year? On Rosh, no need to rush around the kitchen. Instead, connect with family, friends, neighbors and community members to dig in around the city to help ring in 5778.
Perennial favorite DGS Delicatessen is setting the table for a celebratory three-course dinner. It starts with a modern twist on buckwheat kasha, with black truffle and a coddled egg, features lamb shank with chickpea tagine and finishes with a ricotta-apple-walnut blintz. We recommend the wine pairings to truly celebrate. “We always have fun during the holidays at DGS. It’s always exciting for us to take old recipes and holiday traditions and make them our own,” says owner Nick Wiseman. Catering for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is available, too.
Going vegan this year is Equinox. “We’re hosting this vegan dinner because we like to encourage a (mostly) plant-based diet,” explains owner Ellen Kassoff. “We think that the holidays get lost in this menu planning. People are so married to traditions of meat-laden meals, and we ‘d like to start some new food traditions in this modern age.”
The meal starts with a spritzer to have “something that makes Manischewitz better, since we all grew up with it on our tables,” she says. Guests also get an apple beignet upon arrival. Next is a smoked-onion matzah ball soup, followed by a Mediterranean-inspired chickpea and eggplant cassoulet with ancient grains. The meal ends with an apple quince cake and “honey” caramel gelato.
Also back with the hot vegan stuff is Soupergirl. This healthful, vegetarian spot will be serving a 100-percent plant-based matzah balls: no chicken or egg involved. It’s fabulous and pareve.
Dino’s Grotto is going global this year. Owner and chef Dean Gold says the menu is “a walk on the silk road, when exotic spices were imported to Italy. Venice and Tuscany were the spice capitals of Europe.” Served September 20 and 21, it starts with antipasti: Sicilian salad of fennel, orange and pomegranate; grilled winter squash; and leek and spinach frittata. First course includes duck schmaltz matzah ball soup and Israeli couscous, while the secondi course is braised short ribs, citrus salmon and saffron roast chicken. For dessert, there are chocolate- and pistachio-stuffed dates, oranges in Moscato and roasted Asian pear.
Your French bistro Mon Ami Gabi and breezy Summer House Santa Monica sister spots are both serving specialty Rosh Hashanah meals this year. Each features multi-course dinners complete with traditional dishes, from homemade gefilte fish, chopped liver (Summer House even has a vegetarian take), matzah ball soup, braised beef entrees and a warm flourless chocolate cake.
Teddy & the Bully Bar is also going the traditional route with its prix-fixe dinner September 20 and 21. Appetizers are tzimmes and house-made gefilte fish, entrees include brisket and salmon over borscht risotto and dessert features honey cake and a plum tart.
As the world turns, so does our challah. And nothing is as sweet as a beautifully braided round challah, light and fluffy on the inside with a shimmering golden-brown exterior. Celebrated DC pastry chef Alex Levin is opening a two-day pop-up bakeshop September 19 and 20 at Alta Strada for all your baked-goods needs. The centerpiece will be honey challah (with or sans raisins), as well as other sweets like apple butter honey cake, apple pie, sea salt dark chocolate toffee and rugelach. Delivery is also available.
Getting in the spirit, Alta Strada and sister restaurants The Riggsby and Casolare will have a delish Rosh-inspired dish on the menu: a composed appetizer of honey-raisin challah, honeycrisp apples and local honey. It’ll be available September 20 to 28.
Finally, as Rosh Hashahah is the new year, it’s most certainly a time for celebration. “What better way to celebrate the end of summer and a new year than with ripe juicy peaches in this fun cocktail,” say master mixologists Scott Harris and Denise Petty of Catoctin Creek. They suggest a just-sweet-enough Crusty Peach, with brandy, Aperol (the aperitif of the year), citrus and honey.
DGS Delicatessen, Equinox, Dino’s Grotto, Mon Ami Gabi, Summer House Santa Monica, Teddy & the Bully Bar, Alta Strada, The Riggsby and Casolare are not kosher. Soupergirl and Catoctin Creek are kosher.
Top photo: DGS Delicatessen’s apple blintzes