Alexandria’s annual Winter Restaurant Week always comes at a great time – nearly a month after the holiday season, but before the year picks up speed again. This year, Restaurant Week runs from Jan. 17-26, and dozens of restaurants around the city are participating with lunch and dinner specials to showcase their cuisine. What better way to usher in some warmth in the middle of a chilly season? Here are some of the year’s best bets.
Hops N Shine, 3410 Mount Vernon Ave.
Think prix-fixe menus are just for upscale, high-brow establishments? Think again. Hops N Shine, an eminently accessible pub smack-dab between Del Ray and Arlandria, has a tasting menu that features all the restaurant’s greatest hits, from totchos to jumbo wings, to a variety soups and salads, to a choice of four different grilled cheeses, finishing up with a dessert (hint: Choose the s’mores kit that you can then heat up over the firepit on the patio). A more pared-down version is offered at lunch for $15; brunch deals bring breakfast’s best to your table for the same price.
Kisso, 300 King St.
Old Town newcomer Kisso has a $35-per-person dinner offering a variety of deluxe sushi combinations; seaweed salad, spring rolls or edamame to start; and a choice of green tea or vanilla ice cream to finish out the meal. Sushi, sashimi or special rolls can be yours as a main course, so settle into the stylish dining room for a night of enjoyable Japanese cuisine.
Michael’s Little Italy, 305 S. Washington St.
Washington Street’s La Trattoria has a new name – and a new Restaurant Week menu to go alongside. The $35-per-person prix fixe starts off with a choice of mussels or a Caesar or caprese salad, then rolls on to chicken parmesan, pappardelle Bolognese or artichoke and lemon risotto for a main course. Finish off with a cannoli or a torrone semifreddo for dessert, lift a glass of wine, and toast to a taste of Italy right here in Old Town.
Rus Uz, 210 Swamp Fox Road
The Russian-Uzbek stalwart adjacent to the AMC Hoffman theater has put its own spin on Restaurant Week proceedings, offering diners a $22-per-person lunch special or a $35 dinner. Both lunch and dinner find hungry guests with traditional main courses from both countries – think dolma, manti and pelmeni (steamed dumplings), or Uzbekistan’s national dish, plov – as well as a sweet treat for last, the options of which include Russian honey cake and sour cherry cake. Dinner offers diners a choice of starter, as well, including pirozhki (think Polish perogies) and blini.
Spice Kraft, 2607 Mount Vernon Ave.
Del Ray’s newest Indian spot is opening its doors for Restaurant Week as well, offering a $35 dinner for two. To start, select any appetizer off the restaurant’s regular menu. Then move on to a choice of entrees ranging from aloo gobi to chicken tikka masala to paneer nawabi, and finish the meal with a selection of three desserts. Naan and rice will, of course, make their necessary appearance alongside the main course.
Sunday in Saigon, 682 N. St. Asaph St.
When it comes to offering a wide array of Vietnamese delicacies, Sunday in Saigon doesn’t disappoint. Their Restaurant Week specials are available at lunch or dinner; lunch nets guests a two-course meal for $15, and dinner a three-course feast for $35 apiece. Expect the lunchtime offerings to vary from dinner’s selections, and anticipate the offerings ranging from steak to mackerel to tofu and back again.
Hope Nelson owns the Kitchen Recessionista blog, located at www.kitchenrecessionista.com. Email her any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.