For as much as Thanksgiving represents of Americans coming together over a shared history, Thanksgiving also signifies our recognition that it is a country of immigrants who bring together diverse traditions and identities.
And so here in D.C., we’ll offer five restaurants with a different take on the Thanksgiving meal, folding in flavors, ingredients, spices and philosophies from around the world.
Celebrated, high-end Indian restaurant The Bombay Club (815 Connecticut Ave., N.W.), blends piquant Indian flavors with traditional turkey. Executive Chef Nilesh Singhvi is set to prepare specials for the occasion like butternut squash samosas and turkey cranberry tikka served with Brussels sprouts poriyal and sweet potato bhaji. For dessert, The Bombay Club is serving a pumpkin crème brûlée. The Thanksgiving menu is offered 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-9:30 p.m. Dinner will be accompanied by live piano music (no word if there will be Bollywood songs on the repertoire).
Cleveland Park’s vibrant and newly opened SABABA (3309 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) will blend Israeli and Middle Eastern style and flair with well-known Thanksgiving dishes. You’ll be able to dip some chips into roasted pumpkin hummus touched up with pecans and pumpkin oil, and munch on charred heirloom carrots with baharat and herb tahina. Something that comes from the Jewish-mother-American soul: lamb matzo ball soup made from lamb broth and featuring roasted lamb.
Downtown’s innovative and plant-forward Equinox (818 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) offers a fine-dining prix-fixe dinner that also happens to have entirely vegan options at each course. Before noshing, however, the feast begins with an annual oyster roast; and yes, there are oyster mushrooms to be roasted as well. It’s a tradition from Chef Todd and Ellen Gray’s family and is complimentary for diners. The meal itself tends to the traditional side, but include exotic ingredients like date honey and bulger served with quail and shaved cashew cheese grated over homemade pasta. Dinner (with or without meat) is $75. Note that vegan-only Sticky Fingers and Fare Well will both offer to-go plant-based Thanksgiving spreads as well.
For those who recall, France was instrumental in supporting the American fight for freedom to topple British colonialism. DBGB Kitchen and Bar (931 H St., N.W.), will serve a French-forward feast from the mind of Chef Daniel Boulud. DBGB’s Thanksgiving dinner will showcase holiday classics and specials, like the roasted squash soup topped with pain d’epice, pumpkin seeds, and chives. The holiday menu will also feature signature dishes such as venison orecchiette with chestnut, acorn squash and ricotta salata, as well as seared foie gras served with plum, ginger, almond and brioche.
Warm up with something south of the border at Mi Vida Restaurante (98 District Sq., S.W.) for more Mexican-leaning inspiration. Opened on the Wharf earlier this year, Mi Vida is inaugurating its Thanksgiving menu with notes of both home cooking and modern takes on classics. Mi Vida will feature a dinner menu including signature dishes like pescado a la talla, fish over red and green adobo peppers with tomatillo salsa, black beans and radish, and a creamy mushroom soup with spicy croutons. The meal wouldn’t be complete without a pavo relleno, a nod to Thanksgiving’s traditional turkey, with kale and ricotta-stuffed bacon-wrapped turkey breast, chipotle cranberry sauce, corn bread and brussels sprouts. For dessert, there’s pay de camote, a sweet potato pie smothered in pineapple-caramel sauce.
Before or after seconds, supporting our friends and family in need is also part of Thanksgiving (and American) tradition. Food & Friends, an organization that cares for those living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses through preparing and delivering meals and groceries, along with nutrition counseling, provides 3,500 meals during Thanksgiving. Before the actual day, from Nov. 19-21, volunteering is possible in food prep for kitchen shifts; volunteers can also deliver turkey boxes for clients who live far from the District. On the actual day (Nov. 22), volunteers can participate in food prep, meal delivery and a “Thanksgiving Pilgrims” program that assist with day-of logistics.