On an unusually warm fall day, Veteran's Park in Woodmont Triangle was alive with people eating lunch and soaking up the weak November sunshine. I was pleased to run into my old friend, Kal Stein, while ordering a sandwich at the newest addition to the neighborhood, Jetties.
“Woodmont Triangle is experiencing a renaissance,” Stein told me when we spotted an open table in the park. Stein is the president of Earth Share, a workplace fund aising organization for environmental groups. Like many business people who work in Bethesda, he takes advantage of the array of dining options found in the Triangle.
“Today, this part of Bethesda is two different towns. During the day it’s the office workers, but at night, the people dining here are much younger. This area is filled with sports bars and fun hang-out places. It feels very youthful and spirited.”
On good weather days, Veteran’s Park, a compact brick island between Woodmont and Norfolk Avenues, is busy with office workers enjoying a midday break. You sense a comunal appreciation for a pause in the day to enjoy fellowship and food. In the evenings, festive young revelers meet for bar crawls or to sample from the diverse cuisines just steps away. On Thursday nights in the summer, Bethesda Urban Partnership hosts free summer concerts here.
It appears that Jetties, a Nantucket-themed restaurant (situated next to BGR) in Woodmont Triangle, is both contributing to and benefiting from the popularity of Veteran's Park. Already wildly successful at its Foxhall Road location near Georgetown, this sandwich and salad eatery is efficient at feeding lots of hungry people fast.
Their system involves the customer checking off menu items or designing a custom sandwich or salad on an order form. Then, hand over your order and pay the cashier. Next, step aside to ogle the cupcakes, and in minutes, your name is called. They hand you your order with a smile.
It’s not uncommon for a new place to get a lot of buzz, but I had the distinct feeling that enthusiasm for this place will continue. Jetties offers sixteen specialty sandwich choices—most sound very appetizing. These jumbo sandwiches come wrapped in white paper, but extras are a la carte. For example, there’s no pickle or chips, but you can buy a drink, soup, chips or dessert. I found the sandwiches so filling (in a good way) that I couldn't eat anything else.
The ten specialty salads come in a large see-through plastic bowls, with a choice of eleven homemade dressings. One interesting salad was called Washing Pond ($7.95) with greens, tempeh, radish, cucumber, grape tomato, carrots, and sesame seeds with aji mirin ginger dressing.
The names of each sandwich and salad are charming, especially if you’re familiar with Nantucket, a picturesque island off the coast of Cape Cod. Having vacationed there, I was enchanted to find Nantucket communities and waterway names painted on the walls, along with a mural of a sunny beach.
When it was my turn, I ordered the “Surfside” sandwich ($8.95); though enormous, I made myself eat every bite, because it was just so perfect. It was a combination of textures—crunchy bacon, soft bread with nutty Dijon mustard, smooth avocado spread, sweet havarti cheese and carved slices of tender turkey.
However, not every sandwich was stellar. The “Nobadeer” ($8.95), a Thanksgiving-on-bread sandwich, should never have had actual stuffing between slices of turkey and cranberry. The “Cisco” ($7.95) with ham, Swiss cheese, caramelized onions and honey Dijon was overpowered by the onions.
Jetties offers the obvious lobster roll (Dionis for $15.95), but doesn’t get too caught up in being Cape Cod cuisine (think clams and fresh fish). Instead, it focuses on sandwiches, salads and offers a few pretty cupcakes and cookies for dessert. I think kids will enjoy a scoop of Gifford’s ice cream with choice of toppings; ice cream is definitely a favorite of visitors to Nantucket.
They also have four types of soup, which vary daily, and at dinner, Jetties features a few hot dishes made in “Dinner Crocks.” These are stews, pot pies, gumbo and lasagna made in enameled pots.
The kids’ menu is almost revolutionary in that it’s loaded with fresh, healthy options like pineapple, corn, peas, sweet potato fries and even tilapia. Why wasn’t Jetties around when my kids were little? All they had back then was pasta or fried chicken fingers.
Jetties decor is not overly kitsch, but has two giant chalkboards on which you’ll find the daily menu. The chalkboards are just what you'd see at the shacks and casual beach restaurants on Nantucket. The long narrow restaurant is brightly lit, with colorful walls and wooden floors. They offer a small selection of beers, wines and beverages.
My prediction: with quality fare, efficient, friendly service, and a primo location, Jetties is likely to sail to success and become a favorite of Woodmont Triangle regulars.
4829 Fairmont Ave Bethesda, MD 20814
Monday - Friday 11AM to 8PM
Saturday - Sunday 10:30AM to 4:30PM