When the chill of fall comes around, Washingtonians get the best of the harvest that’s all around them, including an array of delicious pumpkins. More than just a flavor for a latte or a filling in a pie, pumpkin shows its savory side in the five best pumpkin dishes in D.C. at some of the area’s top restaurants.
415 New Jersey Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20001
Chef Wes Morton brings the best seasonal ingredients to Capital Hill at Art and Soul. This fall, he’s incorporating pumpkin into two dishes. The first is an appetizer-sized plate of dumplings called gnudi that incorporate pumpkin and ricotta into their mix. They are topped with roasted mushrooms in a mushroom-infused cream sauce and then sprinkled with ginger breadcrumbs for a warm, hearty start to your dinner. Don’t miss out on the famous hoecakes, either. These delectable cornbread pancakes are topped with caramelized pumpkin and toasted pumpkin seeds, served with cranberry and a bit of ricotta for a savory, sweet dish. Both dishes are found on the dinner menu only.
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13th St. NW
Washington, DC 20004
Chef Geoff Tracey’s menu incorporates seasonal vegetables such as pumpkin and squash into into menu. For starters, there’s the spinach salad with a roasted savory pumpkin that has just a touch of brown sugar mixed in. This is complimented by tangy cippolini onions and crunch almonds all tossed in an almond vinaigrette, served at both lunch and dinner. For seasonal squashes, Tracey uses butternut and acorn squash in a bisque that is topped with a maple-infused cream and served with pumpkin seed crackers. These seasonal squash are also incorporated into a scrumptious risotto dinner. The roasted squash adds sweet, hearty flavor to the creamy apple cider risotto, complimented by mushrooms a robust taleggio cheese and topped with pomegranate seeds. These items will be available through December.
707 6th St. NW
Washington, DC 20001
Chef Mike Isabella brings pumpkin to his seasonal menu in two dishes. The first is his amazing house-made pastas. Roasted pumpkin is incorporated into the filling of his hand shaped tortellinis, which are then topped with a brown butter and lemon thyme, providing just the right amount of savory, but not too heavy sauce a so the the delicate pumpkin can shine through. The second dish is the soup, which features a kabocha squash. Kabocha, which may also be referred to as a Japanese pumpkin, is a dark green-skinned squash with a vibrant orange center. It has a rich flavor similar to a butternut squash, but less sweet. Graffiato’s roasts and then purees the kabocha squash and then serves it with rich savory sweetbreads and the added crunch of pumpkin seeds.
2100 P St. NW
Washington, DC 20037
Known for its great selection of beers, Scion in Dupont Circle offers more than just drinks. Its twist on upscale American comfort food is clearly shown in its seasonal menu. Offered on both the lunch and dinner menu is its take on pumpkin with a goat cheese and pumpkin blended filling that is stuffed into a ravioli. Pulling on the sweetness of the pumpkin, its cream sauce incorporates chives, and it’s all topped with candied walnuts.
1940 11th St. NW
Washington, DC 20001
Vinoteca, the popular wine bar off of U Street, serves the freshest ingredients around. Its produce is sourced from the abundant area farms. With its Spanish cuisine, it features two squash dishes in its seasonal menu. The first is a robust and hearty harvest butternut squash soup that is thick enough to be a meal on its own with the crispy bread submerged just under the surface. This sweet and savory soup has a bit of heat from the slices of radish on top. The toasted pumpkin seed oil adds a nice touch, while the fresh herbs of mint, basil and cilantro add a refreshing interlude between spoonfuls. Another not-to-miss squash dish is the hand-rolled potato gnocchi topped with sautéed chicken livers and a rich sage sauce, then sprinkled with microgreens. The chicken livers are cooked to perfection so that they have a texture like a filet mignon. You’d almost be mistaken were it not for the gaminess of the livers. Ask your sommelier for the perfect wine to compliment these dishes.