>> Want more tips on how to make these holidays the best ones yet? Check out our full Holiday Guide.
Classic French bistro dishes are on the Christmas Eve menu at this Georgetown restaurant and wine bar. The $47.50 four-course menu, prepared by chef de cuisine Simon Ndjiki-nya, includes a choice of “appeteasers,” a choice of entrées, a selection of French cheeses with country bread, and a hazelnut-chocolate bûche de Noël. Starters include chestnut soup with duck confit, and smoked-salmon terrine with caviar vinaigrette. Entrées include lamb filet with a purée of Peruvian potatoes, and Maine lobster with mango, heart of palm, and coconut milk. Seatings are between 5:30 and 9:30. Call 202-333-0111 for reservations.
Celebrity chef Michael Mina’s steakhouse at the Four Seasons Hotel has ultra-rich à la carte dishes on the menu for both Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Chef David Varley kicks things off with a choice of caviar parfait with layers of smoked salmon; chestnut soup with foie gras cromesquis and spiced marshmallows; and Asian-pear salad with pomegranate and blue cheese. Next, choose from brown-butter-braised lobster with carnaroli risotto; salt-roasted prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, horseradish cream, and braised oxtail; and roasted goose with chestnut/foie-gras stuffing. Dinner will be served between 6 and 10 on Christmas Eve and 5:30 and 10:30 on Christmas Day. Call 202-944-2026 for reservations.
Capital Restaurant Concepts
Like a culinary advent calendar, several eateries in the Capital Restaurant Concepts group are participating in 24 Days of Dining, offering nightly specials now through Christmas Eve. Among them are Georgia Brown’s, J. Paul’s, Paolo’s, and Old Glory Bar-B-Que. At each restaurant, a $24-per-person menu includes a three-course holiday meal and a glass of chef-selected wine. The menus are available from 5 to 8 each night. Visit the restaurants’ Web sites for more information as well as individual menus.
5120 MacArthur Blvd., NW; 202-237-2300
The French/Belgian menu of this Palisades eatery will get a rich jolt on Christmas Eve with several à la carte specials. Expect house-made ravioli with lobster bisque ($10.95); wild-mushroom napoleon ($8.95); and wild boar with braised red cabbage and chestnut flan ($32.95), among other dishes. For dessert, there are two varieties of bûche de Noël. From now until Christmas, the restaurant is offering take-home slices of bûche for $4.50 each, with a minimum of four slices and 48-hour notice.
Lafayette at the Hay-Adams
800 16th St., NW; 202-638-2570
Executive chef Peter Schaffrath’s Christmas Eve dinner menu features plenty to keep you sated until Christmas morning. The à la carte menu begins with soups—chestnut-cream and oxtail consommé with porcini dumplings ($12 each)—and follows with appetizers such as smoked salmon on buckwheat blini ($22) and salads such as duck confit with Chablis-poached pears ($18). Entrées include roasted pheasant with red cabbage and lingonberry jus ($35) and fettuccine with saffron-cream sauce, shrimp, and scallops ($34). The richness doesn’t let up for dessert; selections include an eggnog crème brûlée and brioche bread pudding ($12 each).
Christmas Eve dietary restrictions are at the heart of the traditional Italian-American Feast of the Seven Fishes—but Hook’s version is more about celebration than forgoing meat. The dinner starts with a trio of crudo—dorade with spinach ginger; scallop with carrot and saffron; and smoked mackerel with Pommery mustard—and is followed by plates such as smoked-mussel agnolotti and yellowfin tuna with sunchokes, pancetta, hazelnuts, and figs. The menu is available from 5 to 11 on Christmas Eve for $85 per person. Wine pairings are an additional $40, and premium wine pairings are an additional $85. If you’re intrigued by the menu but don’t want to down (and pay for) seven dishes, a four-course option is also available for $65 per person. Wine pairing for the four-course meal is $25 extra; premium pairing are $65. Call 202-625-4488 to reserve.
Penn Quarter, Bethesda, and Crystal City
Christmas lasts nearly all month at José Andrés’ tapas houses, where multiple holiday events are on the schedule. The Clementine Festival, running until December 20, pays homage to the fragrant winter citrus from Spain with special dishes and cocktails. Tapas—seared squid with artichokes and clementines ($9); asparagus with clementine juice and Manchego cheese ($8.50)—are followed by desserts such as clementine ice cream or sorbet with olive oil ($7). Cocktails put citrusy twists on classics—including the Clementina Old Fashioned, with the bourbon cranked up with clementine juice and cinnamon/apricot syrup ($12). If the fruit has won you over by the end of the evening, you can take home a box of Spanish clementines ($7).
On Christmas Eve, the place to be is Jaleo Bethesda, which will serve holiday dishes from 11:30 to 10:30. Salt-baked whole red snapper and traditional Catalan Christmas stew are on the entrée list; dessert is an assortment of Spanish almond Christmas candy.
Kaz Sushi Bistro
In the midst of a day of Christmas shopping, give your feet—and your wallet—a rest with Kaz Okochi’s holiday lunch specials. A sushi trio and miso hot pot with pork or chicken are both $12 each, available from 11:30 to 2:30 until December 31. Call 202-530-5500 for reservations.
Legal Sea Foods
Penn Quarter, Arlington, McLean, and Bethesda
If you’ve got foodies on your list this Christmas, you might want to consider Legal Seafood gift cards—you could get a free lobster dinner out of it. If you purchase $200 in gift cards between now and Christmas, you’ll get a voucher for a lobster dinner—a 1-to-1¼-pound steamed lobster plus two sides—that’s redeemable after the new year. All four area Legal Sea Foods stores will be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas; call or visit the Web site for individual location hours.
Mrs. K’s Toll House Restaurant
9201 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring; 301-589-3500
This nearly 80-year-old renovated tollhouse is dolled up even more than usual for the season—and there’s a holiday menu from 4 to 9 on Christmas Eve. The $49.95 four-course dinner includes an appetizer, garden salad, and entrée choices such as prime rib and turkey with dressing. The meal gets rounded off with bread pudding with whiskey sauce. A vegetarian entrée option—pumpkin ravioli—is also available.
Chef Bryan Moscatello’s upbringing in an Italian-American family in New Jersey is the inspiration for this laid-back restaurant’s take on the Feast of the Seven Fishes, served on Christmas Eve. The seven dishes are riffs on Moscatello’s childhood holiday favorites: stuffed calamari with spicy marinara sauce and charred lemons; white-anchovy-stuffed focaccia; pizza with clams; mussels with hot soppresatta and preserved tomatoes; and linguine with shrimp. Pandoro, a traditional Italian sweet bread, gets glazed with chocolate and hazelnut sauce and is served with gelato for dessert. The feast will be offered from 5 to 10 on Christmas Eve. A party of four is $199; an additional couple is $99. Call 202-638-4444 for reservations.
December 18 through 23, this seasonally focused American restaurant in Bethesda Row is serving a $48 three-course holiday menu. Chestnut soup with truffle and Parmesan crema is followed by a spiced rack of lamb from Pennsylvania’s Jamison Farm served with shoulder gratin, celery root, Swiss chard, and cranberry. Baked Anjou-pear clafoutis rounds out the meal. Call 301-656-5515 to reserve.
Riverside Hearth and On the Potomac at Lansdowne Resort
44050 Woodridge Pkwy., Lansdowne; 703-729-8400
Take a daylong resort vacation at Lansdowne Resort, where two dinner specials are planned. On Christmas Eve, there’s a dinner buffet in the resort’s Riverside Hearth from 5:30 to 9. Selections include carvings from prime rib and ham, entrées such as braised lamb with rigatoni and monkfish, and sides of wild rice and roasted cauliflower; there’s also a dessert buffet. The meal is $60 for adults and $15 for children ages six to 12. Children under five eat free.
On Christmas Day, a four-course dinner is being prepared at On the Potomac. Choices include lobster bisque, roasted beets, warm potato-and-smoked-lobster salad, salmon, and pork. The dinner is $75 per adult, $15 for children ages six to 12, and free for children under five. You can make it an early dinner if you’ve got a busy day planned: The menu is available from 3 to 8.
This Georgetown institution gets decked out for the holidays—from greenery and candles to carolers from the Washington Men’s Camerata performing from 7 to 9 each night between December 18 and 24. On Christmas Eve, chef Dan Giusti’s à la carte menu includes a Dungeness-crab chowder with trumpet mushrooms and crispy leeks ($14); pumpkin gnocchi with country ham and arugula ($10); and prime rib with blue cheese, Brussels sprouts, and potato gratin ($38). Pastry chef Travis Olson will craft fresh bread and Christmas desserts such as figgy pudding with Seckel-pear purée and bûche de Noël with sugared cranberries. The Christmas Eve menu is available from 4 to 10. The rest of the month, a three-course prix-fixe menu will be available for $40 per person. Valet parking is free. Call 202-965-1789 for reservations.
Remember the scene near the end of A Christmas Story, when a kitchen disaster leads to a Chinese Christmas feast for Ralphie and his family? Here’s a version that’s a little more upscale (and not at all disastrous): Wolfgang Puck’s Asian-accented restaurant in Penn Quarter’s Newseum, is turning out a banquet-style menu of Chinese cuisine on Christmas Eve. Puck protégé Scott Drewno is cooking nine family-style courses featuring dishes such as stir-fried lamb with toasted pine nuts and spicy Assam-style seafood in a clay pot. The banquet is $65 per person. Call 202-637-6100 to reserve.
Christmas is all about family—and eating well on Christmas Eve doesn’t have to mean leaving the kids at home. Chef Bertrand Chemel’s kitchen will turn out a four-course prix-fixe menu for $85 per person (a three-course children’s menu is $25 for children under 12). The indulgent adult menu includes an herb-crusted lobster roll with fennel/truffle gelée, bluefin tuna with foie gras, fonduta ravioli with black truffle, and a trio of milk-fed veal dishes, including cheek, loin, and agnolotti. The children’s menu hasn’t been finalized yet, but it’ll likely include salad or veggies; beef, chicken, and pasta options; and chocolate cake or fruit salad for dessert. Seatings are between noon and 9. Call 703-270-1500 for reservations.
Pick and choose the elements of your Christmas Eve dinner at celebrity chef Eric Ripert’s Ritz-Carlton restaurant. In addition to the regular menu, you’ll find several à la carte specials. Appetizers—ravioli with chestnuts and squash; a luxe salad with langoustine and foie gras—join entrées such as braised lamb shank. A chocolate-vanilla soufflé with rum ice cream is available for dessert. Each dish is individually priced; the entrées range from $16 to $32. Call 202-974-4900 to reserve.
>> Want more tips on how to make these holidays the best ones yet? Check out our full Holiday Guide.