“Hello and Welcome to Moviefone.” In the age before Fandango, that booming, recorded voice was closely associated with Christmas for some American Jews. After choosing a movie showing on December 25, the next order of business was ordering Chinese. It’s a time-honored tradition for many Jewish families.
This year, anyone can experience Jewish Christmas, because DGS Delicatessen’s annual Chinese Christmas banquet falls on Dec. 23. Owner Nick Wiseman will once again invite notable chefs to contribute a course, including Maketto’s Erik Bruner-Yang, Minibar’s Ruben Garcia, and Buttercream Bakeshop’s Tiffany MacIsaac.
The $50 per person menu (add wine pairings for $25) opens with a pu pu platter from Bruner-Yang loaded with vegetable gyoza, scallion bread, and winter green salad. Going vegetarian wasn’t a problem for the chef known for his pork prowess. “We do a lot of amazing vegetarian and vegan dishes at Maketto and Toki Underground that I think are under-appreciated, so we really just wanted to highlight them,” Bruner-Yang says, who’s back guest-cheffing for a second year. “I think it is a nice tongue-in-cheek event, and I love the food at DGS, so anytime I can go there and snack on a bunch of free stuff while I work I am happy.”
Garcia’s dish gives a nod to Jewish food culture by utilizing rye flour for his hand cut noodles, while host chef Brian Robinson will spice his play on Peking duck with pastrami spices. MacIsaac will sweeten the evening with a slice of almond layer cake with five-spice poached pears. The regular menu will not be offered.
Chinese Christmas dinner is available at the D.C. location only. Reservations are encouraged.
“There's always a lot of learning that happens for us during these collaborations,” Wiseman says. “And what could be more fun than these guys making some funky new takes on Jewish delicatessen and Cantonese Chinese food.”
Photo from DGS's Jewish Christmas in 2013 by Barry Koslow