When you put pizza on a matzah, you can have matzah any time. Except, of course, when you don’t want to see another piece ever again. Step slowly away from that jellied, jarred gefilte fish, and head out for Passover-friendly eats around the DMV. From elegant to casual to take-out, there are more tasty options than there are holes in that matzah.
At French bistro Mon Ami Gabi, the menu is inspired by one of the restaurant’s founding partners and is intended to “show respect to our very loyal Jewish customers,” says another founder, Willie Neal. Served April 14 and 15, the eight-course dinner begins with staples: a Seder plate (featuring artisan matzah crackers), matzah ball soup and homemade gefilte fish. Chopped liver is next, alongside Suzy Friedman’s famous vegetarian chopped liver. Slow-braised brisket and latkes round out the main dishes, while flourless chocolate cake means you have to leave room at the end.
Todd and Ellen Gray’s Equinox pulls off an outstanding tradition-with-a-twist menu, served all Passover long. The multi-course feast begins with items like smoked whitefish salad, sweet-and-sour eggplant and matzah ball soup with local chicken and turnips. The decadent main course is a slow-cooked short rib with seasonal veggies, followed by a can’t-miss pineapple upside-down cake drizzled in caramel sauce.
Rosa Mexicano is also at home giving tradition a bit of a kick: it’s been celebrating Mexican Passover for more than a decade. Culinary Director David Suarez says, “Mexican Passover gives everyone a chance to share the Seder table. We’re always excited to find new ways to put a Latin twist on Passover classics…even haroset.”
Here, matzah balls go Jalisco-style with chipotle peppers, and chicken is matzah-breaded and served with a dollop of salsa verde. And to top it off? Mangoes stuffed with traditional buñuelos, (sugar-glazed fried dough balls made, of course, with matzah). Pair dinner with the innovative “sangria haroset,” a drink crafted from Manischewitz reduction, tequila, honey, cinnamon, lemon and pressed apple.
The menu at DGS Delicatessen, served from April 14 to 20, is totally Seder plate-inspired. There’s bone marrow in the matzah balls, recalling the shank bone. Lamb comes down from the doorposts in the form a roasted leg, and fish is served in a “bitter herb” broth. Dessert’s a haroset cake—and in keeping with tradition, there’s a wine pairing with each of the four courses.
Bring home some delights as well. Soupergirl is back with a completely revamped matzah ball soup recipe: vegan, low-sodium and soul-warming. It now contains a pinch of flaxseed for a healthful touch, as well as Soupermom’s “secret ingredient.”
Cupcake fans need not be disappointed in the holiday’s lack of regular flour. Spirit over to Sprinkles for a box of flourless chocolate cupcakes, each adorned with a brilliant blue Star of David atop the icing. The bakers at Georgetown Cupcake have blessed the month of April with a macaroon cupcake, which you can order with a dulce de leche or fudge drizzle. Dessert has not been lost, and dining out on Passover is both a sweet and savory treat.
Of course, plenty of places offer catering as well. Order from spots like Balducci’s April 1 to April 22, or Parkway Deli by April 9, for everything that appears on a Seder plate. For the strict kosher set, Moti’s Market and Shalom Kosher provide call-ahead take-home meals.
Top photo: Mexican-inspired matzah ball soup at Rosa Mexicano