- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 3, 2004

If it’s August, then Restaurant Week has just concluded. But fear not; the three-course menus offered from July 26 to Aug. 1 at the delicious prices of $20.04 for lunch and $30.04 for dinner are being continued by some restaurants:

• Seasons at the Four Seasons Hotel Washington (2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202/944-2055) will continue the promotion through August. The menu will change several times during the month.

• Tosca (1112 F St. NW; 202/367-1990) is also extending Restaurant Week another week, to Saturday. Diners will be able to create their own special menus by selecting an appetizer, an entree and a dessert from Tosca’s menu.

And don’t forget the weekend cooking camp sessions Aug. 14 and 15, which Tosca’s chef-owner, Cesare Lanfranconi is offering for children 4 to 12. Priced at $50 for both children and adults, the classes include an outing to a local farmers market, planning a three-course menu and learning how to make classic Italian dishes. And, of course, students young and old get to enjoy what has been prepared.

Down at the Pavilion Cafe (Jazz in the Garden; 202/289-3360), next to the grand fountain and reflecting pool in the National Gallery Sculpture Garden on the Mall, summer is in full bloom. From 5 to 8 p.m. each Friday evening through Sept. 3, you can enjoy an eclectic mix of jazz, swing and blues harmonica. The concerts feature jazz pop this week, Gypsy Strings on Aug. 13, big-band swing Aug. 20, Brazilian Trio Balanca on Aug. 27 and the Joshua Bayer Quartet on Sept. 3.

During the concerts, Pavilion Cafe offers a special menu of light fare and refreshments served inside the cafe and from carts on the two patios. The menu includes spinach dip, fruit salad, cheese, grilled herb polenta and various salads.

Jazz is also being featured on the first Thursday of every month at Palette (15th and M streets NW; 202/587-2700). Each month, Q Jazz Factory, headed by young jazz guitarist E. Shawn Qaissaunee, will perform original compositions as well as favorites. Twenty percent of the bar proceeds from the concerts will be donated to the Many Hats Institute, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization dedicated to improving conditions for children and youth worldwide.

Palette has just inaugurated its new Americana artworks featuring the work of Val Lewton Jr., Matthew Rosenquist, Michael Smallwood, Larry Avery, Francks Deceus, Kate McComsey and Fred Folsom. The restaurant serves as a contemporary art gallery with exhibits changing every five to six weeks. The current exhibit will be up until Aug. 30.

Chef Rob Klink has some exciting culinary news from Oceanaire Seafood Room (1201 F St. NW; 202/347-2277). The restaurant will be receiving daily shipments of Alaskan wild salmon throughout the season until early October. Mr. Klink went fishing himself in Chignik, Alaska, for Castle Cape red sockeye and will be preparing the fishermen’s favorite recipe from up there, pepper crusted wild sockeye salmon with fresh blackberry sauce, for the rest of the salmon season.

The recipe is simple but delicious: Season 1/2 pound salmon fillet with salt and cracked black pepper. Heat 1/2 teaspoon olive oil in a saute pan, and add the salmon, pepper side down. Cook for about 3 minutes, and then turn over and finish cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove the fish from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, add 1/2 teaspoon chopped shallots, and cook for about 45 seconds to a minute. Add most of 1/2 cup blackberries and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup red wine, and reduce sauce by half. Add the remaining berries, season with salt and pepper, and add 1/2 tablespoon chilled butter to finish the sauce, being careful not to let the sauce boil (or it will break up.) Add more salt and pepper, if desired.

You can prepare it yourself — or go to Oceanaire and have the chef do it for you.

Speaking of berries, Taberna del Alabardero (1776 I St. NW; 202/429-2200) celebrates August by launching its Berries of Summer festival. Executive Chef Santi Zabaleta will offer a four-course prix fixe menu of classic Spanish cuisine for $45 featuring a berry-inspired twist, such as grilled tuna with black currants and scallions, duck leg with red currant coulis and vanilla coconut cream with juniper berry gelee.

Maggiano’s Little Italy (5333 Wisconsin Ave. NW, 202/966-5500, and Tysons Galleria, 703/356-9000) is creating classic summer salads at lunch or dinner each week in August. For five weeks beginning Aug. 5, the featured salads will be spinach and goat cheese; grilled shrimp; steak and potato; rustic chicken; and Sicilian calamari.

Maggiano’s is incorporating watermelons into an August martini: vodka, triple sec, some secret ingredients and fresh watermelon. Cool and hot.

Summer is here for such a short time. Enjoy.

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