I’ve continuously lived and/or worked in Bethesda for four and a half years. I have eaten at more Bethesda restaurants than I can count, but surprisingly I have not written about many of them. I suppose that could be because by the time I started this blog, I wasn’t having any “new” dining experiences in Bethesda.
I did want to give a shout out to a Bethesda restaurant I recently visited for the third time, Black’s Bar & Kitchen. I have now dined there for lunch twice and brunch once.
I’ll start by discussing their brunch. Their bottomless brunch is set up a bit different than most I have seen in DC. Instead of ordering unlimited dishes off a set menu, the restaurant is set up into a buffet (a brunch buffet and the raw bar). I did not actually go for the buffet version, but it looks like there are several options. You can get the full buffet with unlimited champagne cocktails for $60 or just the full buffet for $45. Alternatively, it looks like you can purchase access to just the raw bar or just the brunch bar for $30 or $35 respectively.
When I was here for brunch, my friend and I decided to just order a brunch entree and add on the unlimited champagne cocktails. I can’t remember if the bottomless drinks were just $15, but that is how much it costs to add it to the full brunch, so that would make the most sense.
I do think that $60 for the full brunch is a good deal, especially with all they have to offer. However, sometimes I just want one brunch dish and some drinks. The a la carte brunch menu at Black’s is short but well-designed. I was enticed by several options, including the lemon ricotta pancakes. I ended up getting the chef’s omelette, which on that day was a steak and mushroom omelette served with a side salad and chimichurri potatoes. There wasn’t a bite on the plate that I didn’t enjoy.
Fast forward to this past Friday, I recommended to my fellow team members that we go to Black’s for our team lunch. They have a full menu available at lunch, but the best deal is to go for the Express Lunch. For $22, you get three courses: an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert. For an extra four dollars, you can add a glass of beer or wine.
While the portions are smaller in the Express Lunch, it really is a great deal. I would categorize this restaurant as one of the more swankier restaurants in Bethesda. It is not as bad as it its neighbor, Woodmont Grill, who charges $17 for a burger. Both restaurants do, however, cater to the majority of Bethesda residents, which is to say people with a fair amount of money.
I have generally had a really good experience with the food here. I would highly recommend the white bean bruschetta from the starters menu. Topped with prosciutto and chimichurri, this is my kind of bruschetta (because it doesn’t involve raw tomatoes). I got the bruschetta on my first visit to this restaurant and was very satisfied.
On this most recent visit, I chose the soup of the day, which was French Onion, as my appetizer. For the entree, I got the garden salad with grilled chicken breast. Then, the best part of the meal was a piña colada sorbet (pineapple sorbet topped with a coconut brittle of some sort) for dessert.
I think it may be safe to say that the desserts our team ordered were in competition for the best things that hit our table that day. Our team has earned that nickname, “Team Extra.” This originated back when I was a supervisor, as I would take my team on these elaborate lunches that made the other teams jealous. I guess that is the benefit of working for a foodie. This tradition has carried onto my current team, and we proved this the other day with our dessert course. In addition to my sorbet, there was also a chocolate mousse cake and some fancy version of strawberry shortcake.
I did try a bite of the chocolate mousse cake, and it was delicious. The mousse was light and perfectly chocolatey. I was very impressed with my own dessert. I left that lunch wanting to make pineapple sorbet all summer long, and I just might do that.