If you think pumpkins are good only for Halloween decoration, it's time you wised up: It's a healthful and versatile vegetable. In fact, it was a truly cutting-edge pumpkin dish with which Signatures chef Morou won the Iron Chef America competition to battle the top toques as Washington's champion: pumpkin-lobster tea (tea bag assembled from dried pumpkin flesh and skin, apricot and cinnamon) with pumpkin sour cream, black-eyed pea and pumpkin beignets, and caviar "soil." That's not on the menu, but it sure is inspirational.

AQUARELLE -- 2650 Virginia Ave. NW (in the Watergate Hotel); 202-298-4455. Roasted pumpkin risotto with black truffle and spinach coulis, $23.

EXTRA VIRGIN -- 4053 S. 28th St. (in Shirlington Village), Arlington; 703-998-8474. Warm roasted pumpkin soup with mascarpone quenelles, $8.

FIREFLY -- 1310 New Hampshire Ave. NW; 202-861-1310. Braised lamb shoulder with pumpkin bread pudding, lamb reduction and sun-dried tomatoes. $19.50.

HELIX LOUNGE -- 1430 Rhode Island Ave. NW (in the Hotel Helix); 202-462-9001. Pumpkin pie martini with pumpkin liqueur, vodka, sour and cinnamon stick, $7.

IRISH INN AT GLEN ECHO -- Tulane Avenue at MacArthur Boulevard, Glen Echo; 301-229-6600. Warm pumpkin salad with crispy speck, frisee, Ugandan vanilla oil and aged balsamic, $10.

RESTAURANT EVE -- 110 S. Pitt St., Old Town Alexandria; 703-706-0450. Fricassee of rabbit served in a Davon Crest Farm Spookie pumpkin, $28.

-- Eve Zibart

Signatures chef Morou and his pumpkin-lobster tea, pumpkin sour cream and black-eyed pea-pumpkin beignets.