Tan may not be there to dress you and Jonathan might not be able to shave your beard, but Antony just might approve of these five fabulously different nontraditional-traditional takes on Thanksgiving. Whether with your family or your other family, Thanksgiving really is time to celebrate and say cheers with the people that are important to us. Along with the wine pairing.
The recently refashioned Watergate Hotel restaurant Kingbird (2650 Virginia Ave., N.W.) gets to the true meaning of stuffing. Apparently something of a leader in glass-container cooking, chef Sébastien Giannini is serving a dish featuring a turkey in a bottle: the “Break-In Turkey.”
His technique involves cooking a turkey roulade in a whiskey bottle. The turkey is stuffed to the brim with black truffle mousseline and “aromatized” with Japanese Suntory Whisky, and cooked on a grill. To finish, it’s placed in the bottle, sealed and steamed for 36 minutes.
When presented at the table, the bottle’s bottom slides out. The turkey is then hand-sliced at the table (the dish was featured on foodnetwork.com). The offer is on Nov. 25-28 after 5 p.m., for up to four people and includes three sharing starters, sides and dessert. The restaurant is also serving a brunch 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. on Thanksgiving day. In creating the dish, Giannini says, “Kingbird has gained a reputation for finding unexpected flavors from favorite ingredients and cooking turkeys in a glass bottle certainly raises that expectation. I’ve been intrigued by this technique for years and like to challenge myself by changing the rules.”
Farm-to- (elegant) table Blue Duck Tavern at the Park Hyatt Washington (1201 24th St., N.W.) knows its local audience. Blue Duck is offering a Brunch Into Dinner service stretching from noon-8 p.m. The three-course meal starts with a cornucopia of seafood, salad, cheese and charcuterie, followed by family-style entrees and seasonal desserts. The festivities don’t end at 8, however, for those needing to get out: guests can relax in the Blue Duck Lounge, which has a la carte dinner from 6-10:30 p.m., and smaller bites and drinks all the way until close. Blue Duck Tavern is also offering to-go menus.
Drawing from the depths of the Mediterranean, Israeli restaurant SABABA (3309 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) brings millenia of inspiration to a centuries-old holiday. Turkey finds its way into kofta (a ground-meat skewer) over rye stuffing, and heady tahini livens up green bean casserole. Of course, dessert is anything but basic: the restaurant will serve a pumpkin spice Mahalabia, or pudding topped with candied pecans.
Thanksgiving may have been turkey based, but plants are also worthy of thanks (and let us celebrate the holiday for a few more centuries).Equinox (818 Connecticut Ave., N.W.) has three-course prix-fixe dinner that features several plant-based options. Before dinner, the feast begins with an annual oyster roast (oyster mushrooms are also roasted); this is an annual tradition from Chef Todd and Ellen Gray’s family.
The dinner can start with kabocha squash soup or caramelized hearts of palm, among other plant-based items, as well as mains like housemade spinach bucatini touched up by cashew-based cheese. 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. Vegan-only Sticky Fingersand Fare Well(will both offer to-go plant-based Thanksgiving spreads as well.
The Wharf’s colorful Kith/Kin at the InterContinental (801 Wharf St., S.W.) allows diners to go Afro-Caribbean this season thanks to celebrated Executive Chef Kwame Onwuachi and the Executive Pastry Chef Paola Velez. Set up for takeout, Onwuachi takes turkey on an adventure, preparing them in the Jamaican-Caribbean style: slow roasted, jerk marinated and smoked. Post-bird, there’s a lineup of four pies: tamarind pecan, brown butter apple, buttermilk and dulce de leche pear.
This holiday, feel free to think about even more giving. Food & Friends, an organization that provides nutritious meals for those living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses, will serve more than 3,500 meals during Thanksgiving. You can volunteer for food Nov. 25-27 to prep and pack the food, or on Thanksgiving Day itself to offer food delivery or participate in the “Thanksgiving Pilgrims” program to assist with day-of logistics.