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The whole roasted and fried pig head — with sparklers — at The Pig.
The whole roasted and fried pig head — with sparklers — at The Pig.
Courtesy of The Pig

14 Restaurants Where Dishes Come with a Free Side of Drama

Dramatic flare abounds with cool and kooky dishes at these 14 restaurants.

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The whole roasted and fried pig head — with sparklers — at The Pig.
| Courtesy of The Pig

While themed establishments like Rainforest Café and Medieval Times boast three-ring-circus-worthy entertainment during dinner, there are other ways to spice up a classy meal without a full-fledged theatrical production. Plenty of DC restaurants offer creative menu items with interactive preparations and flashy presentations.

Here are 14 dishes served with a side of drama.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. AG Kitchen

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931 Ellsworth Dr
Silver Spring, MD 20910
301.588.9400
The orange plastic viewfinder toys on the table at AG Kitchen aren’t for looking at cartoons! Click the lever on the side to scroll through photos of the restaurant’s dessert offerings. Choices include flan, chocolate empanadas and a variety of milkshakes. ($6-$13)

2. Del Campo

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777 I St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
A smoky aroma is added to cocktails tableside at Del Campo. When the pisco negroni is delivered, the server lights a canela (Mexican cinnamon) to smoke the glass, adds a large ice cube and then pours the drink. ($14)

3. Estadio

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1520 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 319-1404
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Next to the list of porrones, Estadio’s menu warns, “drink at your own risk.” They offer three mixtures to fill these Spanish drinking vessels, and then diners take turns pouring the liquid into their mouths from as far away as possible. The menu choices are: Estrella Damm and housemade lemon soda ($14); Txakoli, housemade lemon soda and orange bitters ($20); and Garnacha, housemade lemon soda and angostura bitters ($20). There’s also an off-menu concoction that is made with rosé Cava, grapefruit juice, honey syrup, Campari, Kas Limon soda and fresh lemon juice.

4. Fuego Cocina y Tequileria

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2800 Clarendon Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201
(571) 970-2180
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The grilled meat and veggies in the Mixed Sizzling Skillet are served on a piping hot stone plate. Chicken ($24) or steak ($27) is accompanied by blistered peppers and onions, and three jumbo Diabla shrimp can be added for an extra $9. Condiments and tortillas come to the table on the side.

5. Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

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750 15th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
(202) 489-0140
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In traditional fashion, Joe’s Dover Sole is pan-fried in butter and then skillfully filleted right in front of the diner. ($44.95)

6. Mintwood Place

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1813 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 234-6732
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Mintwood Place offers the classic yet dramatic Baked Alaska Flambé, which is a flashy combination of fire and liquor. ($8)

7. Ripple

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3417 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 244-7995
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An entire fish head on a plate might come as a shock, but after Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley brings it to the table to display, she then takes the Tilefish head back to the kitchen to chop it up into edible bites before serving. ($35)

8. Rosa Mexicano

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575 7th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
(202) 783-5522
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At Rosa Mexicano, guacamole is prepared tableside in a molcajete, a Mexican lava-rock mortar. It’s served with tortillas, tortilla chips and salsa. Guacamole de Otoño is available during the fall, made with roasted pear and apple and topped with pomegranate seeds and roasted almonds. ($14)
1110 N Glebe Rd.
Arlington, VA 22203
(703) 746-9822
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Pork is the star of two tableside shows at SER. Their menu includes a variety of chacinas Ibericas (Spanish cold cuts) that are carved paper-thin by hand ($9-$25). The cochinillo (roasted suckling pig) also comes with a dose of pomp and circumstance: it is sliced with a dinner plate to demonstrate how tender the meat is. Upon special request, Chef and Owner Josu Zubikarai will add in an extra Spanish custom. After he is finished cutting the pig, he throws the plate to signal to diners that it’s time to eat. ($68 for a quarter, which serves 2-3)

10. Sushiko

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5455 Wisconsin Ave
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
(301) 961-1644
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Sushiko’s wagyu is delivered on a hot rock so diners can sear the meat themselves. The dish consists of 6 ounces of Australian wagyu beef, with a side of Yuzu Kosho (fermented yuzu chili paste) and Ponzu sauce. ($16)
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11. The Pig

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1320 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
(202) 290-2821
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The Pig doesn’t mess around when it comes to nose-to-tail dining. Their whole roasted and fried pig head is always available to pre-order, and sometimes appears on the menu, which changes daily. It’s served with fermented chili paste, pickles…and sparklers. Dig in to the meaty jowls first. ($60)

12. The Source by Wolfgang Puck

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575 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20565
(202) 637-6100
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Wolfgang Puck’s modern Asian restaurant has a new hot pot experience that pays homage to traditional Chinese hot pots found in the Sichuan region. A spread of wagyu beef, pork belly, local rockfish, wild mushrooms, noodles and dumplings is presented on a custom-designed table made by a DC-based woodworker, and diners cook the items in a hot broth. The 20-hour broth is made with chicken feet, pork ribs, beef and chicken bones, whole chicken, Sichuan peppercorns, chilies and chili oil. The interactive meal also includes housemade chili paste, soy sauce, sesame paste and Sichuan peppercorns and it finishes with a poached egg served on white rice. ($65 per person)

13. Trummer's on Main

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7134 Main St
Clifton, VA 20124
(703) 266-1623
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The bone marrow luge at Trummer’s on Main is college with a touch of class. The server positions the bone and pours Bulleit Kentucky Bourbon down the hollow opening so that the diner can slurp the BBQ marrow and bourbon all at once. Chef Austin Fausett jokes that for an extra fee, a handsome young chef will join in. It’s accompanied by grilled ciabatta, cherry preserves and parsley friseé salad. ($18)

14. Yechon Korean & Japanese Restaurant

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4121 Hummer Rd
Annandale, VA 22003
(703) 914-4646
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For authentic Korean barbecue that’s cooked at the table, peruse the variety of offerings at Yechon. Options range from galbi (beef short ribs) and bulgogi (finely sliced beef) to saewoo gui (jumbo shrimp) and samgyeopsal (thinly sliced pork belly). (Prices vary)

1. AG Kitchen

931 Ellsworth Dr, Silver Spring, MD 20910
The orange plastic viewfinder toys on the table at AG Kitchen aren’t for looking at cartoons! Click the lever on the side to scroll through photos of the restaurant’s dessert offerings. Choices include flan, chocolate empanadas and a variety of milkshakes. ($6-$13)
931 Ellsworth Dr
Silver Spring, MD 20910

2. Del Campo

777 I St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
A smoky aroma is added to cocktails tableside at Del Campo. When the pisco negroni is delivered, the server lights a canela (Mexican cinnamon) to smoke the glass, adds a large ice cube and then pours the drink. ($14)
777 I St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

3. Estadio

1520 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20002
Next to the list of porrones, Estadio’s menu warns, “drink at your own risk.” They offer three mixtures to fill these Spanish drinking vessels, and then diners take turns pouring the liquid into their mouths from as far away as possible. The menu choices are: Estrella Damm and housemade lemon soda ($14); Txakoli, housemade lemon soda and orange bitters ($20); and Garnacha, housemade lemon soda and angostura bitters ($20). There’s also an off-menu concoction that is made with rosé Cava, grapefruit juice, honey syrup, Campari, Kas Limon soda and fresh lemon juice.
1520 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20002

4. Fuego Cocina y Tequileria

2800 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201
The grilled meat and veggies in the Mixed Sizzling Skillet are served on a piping hot stone plate. Chicken ($24) or steak ($27) is accompanied by blistered peppers and onions, and three jumbo Diabla shrimp can be added for an extra $9. Condiments and tortillas come to the table on the side.
2800 Clarendon Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201

5. Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

750 15th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20005
In traditional fashion, Joe’s Dover Sole is pan-fried in butter and then skillfully filleted right in front of the diner. ($44.95)
750 15th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20005

6. Mintwood Place

1813 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
Mintwood Place offers the classic yet dramatic Baked Alaska Flambé, which is a flashy combination of fire and liquor. ($8)
1813 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

7. Ripple

3417 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
An entire fish head on a plate might come as a shock, but after Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley brings it to the table to display, she then takes the Tilefish head back to the kitchen to chop it up into edible bites before serving. ($35)
3417 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

8. Rosa Mexicano

575 7th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20004
At Rosa Mexicano, guacamole is prepared tableside in a molcajete, a Mexican lava-rock mortar. It’s served with tortillas, tortilla chips and salsa. Guacamole de Otoño is available during the fall, made with roasted pear and apple and topped with pomegranate seeds and roasted almonds. ($14)
575 7th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004

9. SER

1110 N Glebe Rd., Arlington, VA 22203
Pork is the star of two tableside shows at SER. Their menu includes a variety of chacinas Ibericas (Spanish cold cuts) that are carved paper-thin by hand ($9-$25). The cochinillo (roasted suckling pig) also comes with a dose of pomp and circumstance: it is sliced with a dinner plate to demonstrate how tender the meat is. Upon special request, Chef and Owner Josu Zubikarai will add in an extra Spanish custom. After he is finished cutting the pig, he throws the plate to signal to diners that it’s time to eat. ($68 for a quarter, which serves 2-3)
1110 N Glebe Rd.
Arlington, VA 22203

10. Sushiko

5455 Wisconsin Ave, Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Official
Sushiko’s wagyu is delivered on a hot rock so diners can sear the meat themselves. The dish consists of 6 ounces of Australian wagyu beef, with a side of Yuzu Kosho (fermented yuzu chili paste) and Ponzu sauce. ($16)
5455 Wisconsin Ave
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

11. The Pig

1320 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20005
The Pig doesn’t mess around when it comes to nose-to-tail dining. Their whole roasted and fried pig head is always available to pre-order, and sometimes appears on the menu, which changes daily. It’s served with fermented chili paste, pickles…and sparklers. Dig in to the meaty jowls first. ($60)
1320 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20005

12. The Source by Wolfgang Puck

575 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20565
Wolfgang Puck’s modern Asian restaurant has a new hot pot experience that pays homage to traditional Chinese hot pots found in the Sichuan region. A spread of wagyu beef, pork belly, local rockfish, wild mushrooms, noodles and dumplings is presented on a custom-designed table made by a DC-based woodworker, and diners cook the items in a hot broth. The 20-hour broth is made with chicken feet, pork ribs, beef and chicken bones, whole chicken, Sichuan peppercorns, chilies and chili oil. The interactive meal also includes housemade chili paste, soy sauce, sesame paste and Sichuan peppercorns and it finishes with a poached egg served on white rice. ($65 per person)
575 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20565

13. Trummer's on Main

7134 Main St, Clifton, VA 20124
The bone marrow luge at Trummer’s on Main is college with a touch of class. The server positions the bone and pours Bulleit Kentucky Bourbon down the hollow opening so that the diner can slurp the BBQ marrow and bourbon all at once. Chef Austin Fausett jokes that for an extra fee, a handsome young chef will join in. It’s accompanied by grilled ciabatta, cherry preserves and parsley friseé salad. ($18)
7134 Main St
Clifton, VA 20124

14. Yechon Korean & Japanese Restaurant

4121 Hummer Rd, Annandale, VA 22003
For authentic Korean barbecue that’s cooked at the table, peruse the variety of offerings at Yechon. Options range from galbi (beef short ribs) and bulgogi (finely sliced beef) to saewoo gui (jumbo shrimp) and samgyeopsal (thinly sliced pork belly). (Prices vary)
4121 Hummer Rd
Annandale, VA 22003

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