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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.
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AG Kitchen

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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)

Del Campo

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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)

Estadio

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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.

Fuego Cocina y Tequileria

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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.

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

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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)

Mintwood Place

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Mintwood Place offers the classic yet dramatic Baked Alaska Flambé, which is a flashy combination of fire and liquor. ($8)

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)

Rosa Mexicano

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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)

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)

Sushiko

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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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The Pig

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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)

The Source by Wolfgang Puck

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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)

Trummer's on Main

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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)

Yechon Korean & Japanese Restaurant

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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)

AG Kitchen

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)

Del Campo

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)

Estadio

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.

Fuego Cocina y Tequileria

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.

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

In traditional fashion, Joe’s Dover Sole is pan-fried in butter and then skillfully filleted right in front of the diner. ($44.95)

Mintwood Place

Mintwood Place offers the classic yet dramatic Baked Alaska Flambé, which is a flashy combination of fire and liquor. ($8)

Ripple

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)

Rosa Mexicano

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)

SER

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)

Sushiko

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)

Official

The Pig

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)

The Source by Wolfgang Puck

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)

Trummer's on Main