If Lent isn’t really on your radar, why not go whole hog and dine on every part of the pig except the squeal? On Thursday, March 5 at 7 p.m., 701 Restaurant is hosting a special Whole Hog Dinner and executive chef Benjamin Lambert has prepared a special three-course menu featuring a trotter panzanella salad for a first course and classic Italian porchetta for the mains prepared with parsnips, wild mushrooms, and walnut pesto. It’s part of the launch of D.C.’s own Filibuster Bourbon. For $60 per person, excluding tax and gratuity, you can meet and greet the Filibuster representatives and sample cocktails made with Filibuster’s rye and double cask bourbon. Hmm, lots of pork and small batch, local whiskey: what’s not to like?
BLT Steak has a new, award-winning executive chef and he’s bringing a new Blackboard Menu with him. His name is Will Artley and he has cooked for renowned chefs, been on national TV, and now he’s going to head the culinary team at BLT Steak and help them fine-tune their modern American menu. Each day, he will offer special blackboard dishes designed to expand his culinary horizons. Partly inspired by his healthy lifestyle and creativity, the menu will accent more health-conscious, vegetable- and fish-based options such as grilled mushroom fricassee with sunflower root and cauliflower, or roasted monkfish with barbecued eggplant and carrot caramel. Don’t worry; BLT Steak’s love of beef is still front-and-center and chef Artley will continue to head the wagyu beef program in the region. He also plans to adjust the components and bring in even more high-end A5 wagyu and other premium cuts.
Bombay Club is one of D.C.’s most beloved Indian restaurants and they are acclaimed for the quality of their food. Owner Ashok Bajaj has just announced that Bombay Club will feature new happy hour wines and cocktails for $7 Monday through Friday, from 4:00 to 7:30 p.m. The new happy hour will also include a rotating, complementary appetizer that changes daily. Executive chef Nilesh Singhvi will prepare Indian savory samples such as lamb and garam masala kebab, spinach and sweet potato patties, and fried fish with Kashmiri chilies, which can be paired with new refreshing cocktails created just for the new happy hour. Consider trying the Nargis prepared with Bacardi rum, pineapple juice, and orange juice; or the Chameli, comprising Champagne, St. Germaine, and a twist of lemon.
Casa Luca da Fabio Trabocchi
We know how brunch-obsessed D.C. diners are, so you’ll be glad to know Casa Luca has begun serving a special brunch menu on Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The team at Casa Luca, which includes Fabio and Maria Trabocchi with Erin Clark as executive chef, is dedicated to showcasing the rustic, traditional food of the Marche region of Italy, so you can be sure the food and drinks will be delicious and include a tasty blend of Italian specialties. They have put a special twist on brunch classics by offering Neapolitan maccheroni and spaghetti carbonara, and more options include porchetta on rye, poached eggs "frutti di mare," steak and eggs, and the inimitable Luca popover: their version of a fluffy, puffed pancake baked on a cast iron skillet. Brunch is $32, not including tax and gratuity, but it does come with bottomless brunch drinks and choices from the appetizers, Italian specialties, and desserts.
Looking for the ultimate dive bar with tasty, cheap food and fab drinks that don’t cost an entire paycheck? Then The Codmother should be your next destination. The bartenders are friendly and this is the place to go if you want to eat fish on Friday for less than $10. Order the smashing fish and chips — they’re made to order. The cod is perfectly battered and fried, is never greasy and the fish is flaky and piping hot and comes with crisp French fries. Pair this with a reasonably priced beer and you’re set for a fun Friday night.
Jeff Tunks reveres the bounty of the sea and treats his seafood with respect, and he is serving whole fish for Fridays during Lent. Sourced from around the Gulf of Mexico and beyond, the fish dishes he’s serving at DC Coast are accompanied by vibrant sauces and comforting sides that reflect cultures from the ocean of origin. Sustainable and succulent, his menu selections include oven roasted black bass from Ocean City, Maryland with Tabasco beurre blanc, Old Bay potatoes, and creamed spinach; Dover sole from Galicia, Spain with brown butter caper sauce, haricots verts almandine, and Yukon gold purée; grilled branzino from Pelagia, Greece with ladolemono sauce, dill orzo, and roasted fennel; and snapper Veracruz-style from Jaco Beach, Costa Rica, served with saffron rice and escabeche vegetables. Each whole fish dish is offered at the market price ranging from $38 to $45, and will change as the season progresses.
Del Frisco’s Grille
Del Frisco’s Grille may be best known for their big, juicy steaks, but they do a mean job with fish, too. For those who are observing Lenten dietary restrictions, the restaurant is featuring beer battered haddock with fries and tartar sauce every Friday during Lent. At lunch, the haddock special is priced at $16.50, and at dinner, it’s $24.
In time for Lent, Nage Bistro has introduced its new Meatless Friday promotion. Running from Ash Wednesday, February 18 through Thursday, April 2, executive chef Dwayne Motley will be preparing weekly specials highlighting fresh fish and seafood. The fish dishes will be available every Friday from 11:30 a.m. for lunch, and 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. for dinner. Look for standouts like the whole grilled bronzino with sun chokes, Brussels sprouts, and trumpet mushrooms; rawa crusted skate wing with leeks, Yukon potatoes, and Savoy cabbage; the scallop po'boy with beefsteak tomatoes, romaine lettuce, and Rémoulade sauce; and black pepper cod with salsify, collards, basmati rice, and spiced coconut broth. Weekly specials are priced from $26 to $30.
Summer Whitford is the D.C. City Guide Editor at The Daily Meal and the DC Wine Examiner. You can follow her on Twitter @FoodandWineDiva.