While we mere mortals may anxiously await Restaurant Week twice annually, chefs and restaurants cannot wait for Restaurant Week to end. Restaurant Week is the bane of many of their existences, as they churn out the same abbreviated, simplified menu night after night.
Resy, a restaurant reservation company used by more than 100 restaurants in D.C., has countered with their own week-long program called "Off Menu Week" designed to offer customers access to a chef's inspiration. Twelve D.C. restaurants will participate in the inaugural D.C. "Off Menu Week" April 8-14.
Rather than offering a prix-fixe menu for a discounted price, "Off Menu Week" is all about giving customers a behind-the-scenes look at the creativity and efforts that go into creating a menu in the first place. Chefs were given complete freedom to interpret "off menu" however they would like -- the only requirement Resy asked was that each participating restaurant serve at least four new dishes for "Off Menu Week."
From never-before-seen seasonal wonders at The Dabney to grain-breaking pizzas at All Purpose, iconic eateries and neighborhood mainstays will serve their experimental concepts and off menu hits—all auditioning for a spot on the main stage.
Chef Nic Tang of DBGB wants his guests to experience specialties from his upbringing such as barbecue sambal skate or claypot chicken rice. The dishes are "fun, soulful, spicy and comforting" Singaporean classics, but not regularly on his menu.
“I want to participate in Resy’s "Off Menu Week" because I want people in D.C. to be able to get a taste of my culture, food that I ate while growing up in Singapore and food that I miss while living abroad," said Tang.
Gravitas' Matt Baker is putting his Chef de Cuisine, Vincent Badiee, in the spotlight with one of his dishes, a Wagyu hanger steak with salsa verde, braised heirloom beans, basmati rice and garlic yogurt.
"Inspired by our Chef de Cuisine's Persian ancestry, this dish is a riff-off of the classic Ghormeh Sabzi stew," said Baker. "We deconstruct the dish and use Wagyu beef as a way to elevate the dish."
A Rake's Progress is using the week to highlight their "cherished relationship" with farmer Jon Shaw in Baltimore County. They have continued to work with Karma Farm season after season thanks to the high quality produce "reflective of the care [Jon Shaw] takes in each part of his operation."
- A Rake's Progress: Kohlrabi Salad; Bacon Steal; Grilled Beets; Cape May Lobster Purloo
- All Purpose
- ANXO: House Conservas; Fava Brandaded; Pan-Roasted Turbot; Galbi-Style Lamb Ribs; Apple Terrine
- Gravitas: White Asparagus Risotto; Fluke Crudo; Wagyu Hanger Steak Ghormeh Sabzi; Raspberry and White Chocolate Semifreddo
- The Dabney
- DBGB Kitcen & Bar: Oyster Omelet; Salted Egg Crab; BBQ Sambal Skate; Claypot Chicken Rice for 2
- The Partisan: Steak & Cheese; Pastrami Bacon; Cotechino; Lamb Döner
- The Sovereign: Choucroute & Sauerkraut Croquettes; Braised Pork Belly; Crispy Duck Confit; Spiced Bread Pudding
- Brothers & Sisters: Hamachi; Fennel & Persimmon Salad; Pierogies; The Pasadena(ricotta, huckleberry, meyer lemon)
- Maketto: Pidan Tofu; Spicy Laab Burger; Braised Beef Chili Noodles; What's in Your Wallet (matcha, avocado and cherry cheesecake)
- Spoken English: Stuffed Chicken Necks; Grilled Mackerel; Green Asparagus; Steamed Persimmon & Date Pudding
Los Angeles kicked off the program on February 25 and San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Austin are all participating cities as well. You can make "Off Menu Week" reservations here.