Traditionally, Thanksgiving is about sitting down to a tasty feast with loved ones. However, for some, seeing family for the holiday may not be practical, and others may just prefer to skip the trouble and mess of cooking for a night. For those taking online culinary courses, eating Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant is a great opportunity to sample comforting dishes inspired by homestyle cooking.
Stepping up traditional Thanksgiving fare
Many establishments open for the holiday focus on the traditional foods that fill diners with nostalgia. However, the chefs find ways to put exciting spins on an old-school feast. With some special ingredients and unconventional cooking techniques, they ensure guests will never forget the year they enjoyed their turkey out.
“Chefs put exciting spins on an old-school feast.”
Boulder culinary arts students can dig into a three-course prix fixe meal full of seasonal flavors at Colterra. Executive chef Bradford Heap is known for drawing on French and Italian cooking traditions while making extensive use of fresh, local ingredients. On this occasion, the choices for appetizers include a roasted heirloom pumpkin soup with toasted almonds and nutmeg or a selection of house-made charcuterie.
The main course features an organic, slow-roasted turkey with gravy, whipped potatoes, sage stuffing, cranberry sauce, garlic seared chard, stuffing and caramelized sweet potatoes. However, diners can also opt for alternatives such as a variety of seasonal vegetables or a seafood dish of pan-roasted mahi-mahi accompanied by wild prawns, mussels, white beans, lobster broth, grilled bread and a sweet basil aioli. They finish the meal with chocolate pecan pie, vanilla bean panna cotta or a pumpkin spice cake.
Michelin-starred Chicago restaurant Longman & Eagle offers an annual Thanksgiving dinner packed with daring variations on classic items. The main course is a roasted heritage turkey, a variety of poultry known for its exceptionally rich flavor. Among the sides are a bourbon and orange cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, Brussels sprouts flavored with pork, roasted spaghetti squash, chestnut foie gras stuffing, a sweet potato pie and mashed potatoes in the style of chef Joel Robuchon.
One way for Austin culinary arts enthusiasts to try out a different approach to Thanksgiving is to visit Trace. Specializing in a constantly shifting selection of locally sourced dishes, the restaurant has a number of attractive choices on its three-course holiday menu. Diners start with an appetizer like a garden salad topped by brioche croutons and Parmesan, a sweet potato soup with ancho chili marshmallow brulee or oysters Rockefeller.Exploring bold takes on holiday dinner
Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean you always have to eat the same things. While Thanksgiving dinners must be hearty and festive, many restaurants have explored inventive ways to transform the traditional spread. These locations attract guests with distinctive fare that stands out among all the old-school turkey dinners.
While turkey breast is one available entree, this version comes wrapped in speck – a piece of cured pork – and is served with giblet gravy, a leg rillette, green bean casserole and cornbread stuffing. Other choices are smoked beef short ribs, vegetable paella or roasted porchetta. Guests then select a dessert like a deconstructed pecan pie featuring caramel creme, cranberry foam and bourbon ice cream with a swirl of salted caramel.
For those in New York City for the holiday, Time Out declared Eleven Madison Park the best choice for a distinctive Thanksgiving meal. The four-course menu offers dishes such as an appetizer of chicken veloute with veal sweetbreads and truffle cream and an entree of slow-cooked beef and mushrooms. Diners can also opt to have each course paired with an appropriate wine.
Thanksgiving is a time when culinary academy students and cooking novices alike celebrate great food. The feasts available in restaurants are full of inspiration for you to develop your own rib-sticking specialties.