Sometimes the best eating opportunities are too much for a table for two. That’s why you need to assemble the wolf pack and prepare to tackle these 10 dinners that require a team to take down. Many involve finishing off a whole animal (primal!), and all are perfect for hibernation season.
Momofuku is still Windexing the nose prints off their windows from the opening hysteria. People were that excited for ramen. But there’s something from the David Chang empire that’s even better than his bacon-brothed bliss: fried chicken. The dinners, which serve four to eight people, include two whole fried chickens -- one Southern style and the other Korean style. Moo shu pancakes will aid you in getting the fried bird to your boca, and of course it comes with an arsenal of sauces from hoisin to jalapeño garlic. Did we mention the Korean chicken is triple fried? The cost is $135 for your entire party before drinks, tax, and tip.
Let Scott Drewno lead your party of four through the entire food pyramid with passion during The Source’s new hot pot experience. There’s only one dedicated hot pot table in the restaurant, so it’ll take some planning ahead, like using a phone for its initial purpose. But it’s worth it, because you’ll dip Wagyu beef short ribs, meatballs, pork belly, gulf shrimp skewers, and so much more into a bone broth that’s been bubbling for 20 hours. As you cook each course, you’re deepening the flavor of the broth for the next, all culminating in a noodle course when the stock is the strongest. For God's sake, protect your Vineyard Vines and wear the bib. The meal costs $65 per person, with optional beverage pairings for a little more.
Think hard about which of your friends can seriously put away some food. Hint: it’s not Rob who hits Chopt every day for lunch. You’re going to need six to eight people total to make a dent in Birch & Barley’s Beast Feast that involves three whole animals hailing from land or sea, plus a bevy of sides, a badass charcuterie platter, and an enormous dessert. As an added bonus, beer director Greg Engert will pair each course with a rare, large-format beer perfectly suited for the custom creatures you selected when making your reservation (at least 72 hours in a advance). The meal costs $95 per person, including food and drink.
Ordering at a Jewish deli is almost always overwhelming because menus can be longer than the Torah. Let DGS Delicatessen make the difficult decisions for you by going with a group and taking on the family-style “Taste of the Delicatessen.” For $27 per person, they’ll fill you to the brim with pickles, matzo ball soup, braised brisket, sides, and donuts. Because donuts. Pro tip: the sides you’re drafting are potato latkes and Brussels sprouts.
What started as an experiment has become an obsession at Restaurant Eve. We’re talking about Chef Cathal Armstrong’s Asian tasting menu that pulls inspiration from the Philippines, Thailand, and Korea thanks to both his Filipino wife and his world travels. The $65 per person feast is fun, fulfilling, and features elements of both home-style and fine dining cuisines. Savor Armstrong's take on street BBQ and save room because little bowls of bliss keep coming and the whole thing is capped off with a cool dessert like a spin on halo-halo.
Ready to get really intimate with a pig? Don’t worry we’ll spare you the “Call me Dave,” jokes. All you have to do is bring a group of four to six people to The Partisan, ask for the pig feast, and wait for pork products to start to arrive. The climax? A whole roasted pig head you’ll play Hungry Hungry Hippos with. There’s also pork sausage, smoked bone marrow, and pig ear salad. The $120 feast does not require advanced notice, just tell your server you’re game.
A few outside-the-norm sounds can be heard in this Ballston dining room thanks to the staff’s commitment to sticking to a Segovian tradition of breaking the crispy skin of a cochinillo pig using a plate before sending that plate crashing to the floor with a bang. Just don’t scream "Opa!" because you’ll embarrass yourself in a Spanish restaurant. The whole pig runs $272 and comes with the most fanfare, but you can also order a half ($136) or a quarter ($68). The quarter serves two to three people, so calculate that when throwing out invites to take down the whole hog. Each portion comes with piping hot Navarra potatoes to soak up the drippings.
You’re bound to attract eyes in the DBGB dining room when you and your friends take your seats for the Rib to Tail dinner that feeds four to eight people. The $125 per person feast is one of the hardest to finish in the city. You’ll start with light bites like pickled and fresh vegetables before a decadent first course of snail and oxtail gnocchi arrives. Then it’s time for the main event of the evening -- roasted côte de bœuf and grilled short ribs -- served with gut busting sides like crispy duck fat patatas bravas with charred leeks and garlic aioli. You’ll finish with a light and fluffy ricotta cheesecake. The dinner is available in the main dining room, but requires 72 hours notice.
You’ve heard of chicken pot pie, maybe you even subsisted on defrosted ones when you were a picky eater. Now that you’ve graduated to big time eats, try the roasted duck version of the homey dish. Teddy & The Bully Bar’s take weighs five pounds and includes an entire duck, plus turnips, butternut squash, and pearl onions all inside a flaky crust. The pie feeds four, costs $32, and is available every night upon request. Don’t forget to snap a pic of the duck design on the dough.
New to Jackson 20 this fall are potluck dinners. These one-pot dinner specials are served in an enormous Dutch oven and feature stick-to-your-ribs dishes like bone-in short ribs, pork shops, bouillabaisse, wild boar, and a rabbit dumpling dish dubbed pot-au-feu. Two linebackers might be able to finish it, but if you’re not on an NFL roster, order it to share among at least four people. A potluck dinner is available every night and costs $80.
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Laura Hayes is a DC-based food, drink & travel writer who also contributes to Washington City Paper, Food Network, Edible DC, and others. Go ahead and dare her to finish a five-pound duck pie on her own. Follow her on Twitter @BTMenu.
1. Momofuku CCDC1090 I St NW, Washington
2. The Source575 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington
3. Birch & Barley1337 14th St NW, Washington
4. DGS Delicatessen1317 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington
5. Restaurant Eve110 S Pitt St, Alexandria
6. The Partisan709 D St NW, Washington
7. SER1110 N Glebe Rd, Arlington
8. DBGB Kitchen and Bar931 H St NW, Washington
9. Teddy & The Bully Bar1200 19th St NW, Washington
10. Jackson 20480 King Street , Alexandria
You have Chef David Chang to thank for bringing this New York favorite to DC. His popular ramen joint lives at the chic CityCenter development, where you can grab a seat at the bar, noodle bar, in the main dining room, or in the private dining space. The team is dishing out classic Momofuku ramen, which includes ingredients like pork belly, pork shoulder, and poached egg, plus nontraditional bowls like the Baltimore-influenced chilled crab ramen flavored with Old Bay, yuzu, and chive. Not in the mood for ramen? The seasonal menu also features tasty pork buns, noodles, and fried chicken.
The name Wolfgang Puck attached to this Penn Quarter restaurant should tell you two things right off the bat -- this place isn't messing around with its culinary technique, and dinner here isn't going for cheap. The sleek dining area, brightened by cheerful yellow accents and floor-to-ceiling windows, is always full of people (many of whom are tourists, given the location) vying for a taste of Asian-inspired cuisine like chili oil-poached Nordic Cod or soy-marinated lamb chops. On the other side of the restaurant, the bar and lounge are a little bit calmer and offer a slew of classic and specialty cocktails along with, of course, an impressive wine list.
Birch & Barley is the restaurant located below infamous beer bar ChurchKey in Logan Circle. It serves a simple and elegant menu of seasonal American food, but its claim to fame is the 500-plus beer list that rivals anything in the area (except of course, its upstairs sibling). The upscale restaurant serves a multi-course tasting menu with an optional beer pairing, but you can also order à la carte. Brunch rocks too, especially the freshly-fried donut holes.
DGS Delicatessen takes the idea from your old Jewish grandmother's kitchen and elevates it with a modern and creative spin that gives this authentic deli-bar new flavor and energy with a homestyle base. Styled after the turn-of-the-century grocery stores, DGS Delicatessen house cures and smokes their all meats and fish as well as crafts their own duck fat matzo balls.
This place is great for large parties or events you might have. With banquette style seating, an elegant setting, and new American cuisine that appeals to everyone this is the place to book your private events. It's also good for a fancy date night.
With 30+ charcuterie options, medium plates like sausages and corned beef belly, and feasts like a whole roasted pig's head, The Partisan will cater to your meat cravings, no matter your appetite.
The first thing this Spanish restaurant wants you know is that it's not a tapas bar. While there are small plates like croquetas and breath-destroying gambas al ajillo, the focus is on actual entrees. Alums of Taberna del Alabardero cook up paella, a catch of the day, braised pork cheeks, and other main dishes. None compare to the cochinillo, or roast suckling pig, which can feed two-three people. The skin crackles like a thunderstorm and Navarra potatoes soak up the jus for you. You’re drinking Sherry cocktails or Mahou on draft. SER serves lunch and dinner seven days a week.
This restaurant serves traditional French cuisine with a modern twist like their sherry glazed duck or the house-made sausage dishes. For dessert make sure to get the baked Alaska. It's dessert that they set on fire.
Teddy & The Bully Bar is the second prez-themed bar from the Lincoln folks, w/ this Roughrider going all “robust masculinity”: animal heads, rifle lights, and a menu showcasing wild game.
Fuel up for a romantic King St stroll by first hitting J20's sidewalk seating for a 64oz pitcher of Port City Optimal Wit or Porter, and/or a 32oz pitcher of cane rum, peach schnapps, bourbon, assorted fruit, and a Cabernet float. If you're looking to coat your stomach as well, you'll never go wrong with their chile-lime cracklins or three-day ribs.