Spring is my favorite time of the year. Besides the budding trees and blossoms surrounding us, it’s also time for Bethesda Row to host its annual Spring Restaurant Week! Starting Monday, April 11 through Sunday, April 17, the Bethesda Row restaurants are hosting three course lunches for $15 and dinners for $30 (click on the list below to see menus). Often, these prices are a real bargain, designed to bring you in once and hopefully many times after that.
There are several premier restaurants participating this year, and their prix fixe menus include many of their signature dishes. I dined at Assaggi during Fall Restaurant Week and had a spectacular meal. Even if you wouldn’t normally order an appetizer or a dessert, during Restaurant Week you have an excuse to try some new things on the menu. It’s a real treat to sample Café Deluxe’s sour cherry pie, or Mon Ami Gabi’s chilled gazpacho with red and green pepper garnish.
Prefer Asian? Then, check out Raku’s graceful menu that lists an entrée of sushi or brown rice seafood risotto, with starters like red beet salad followed up with green tea crème brulee.
Make reservations now or arrive early if you want to dine at popular places like Jaleo or Redwood. Tables get snapped up fast. I've already started organizing a girls night out after reading Jaleo’s Restaurant Week menu--starters like ensalada campara and flavorful entrees including chicken fritters, bacon wrapped dates and spicy chorizo--Ole Jose Andres!
So, you want to surprise the family with a weekday evening out? Gather the troops to Mama Lucia’s. It may be warm enough to eat outside, so there’s no need for embarrassment when your toddler drops half a bowl of spaghetti on the sidewalk. Of course, kids are welcomed indoors too. I have a new appreciation for Mama’s hearty, appetizing food and exceptional service after dining there with my two-year-old nephew. While he waved a giant slice of pepperoni pizza in the air, cheese slithering to the floor, Mama’s servers just said it’s all good with a smile and handed us more napkins.
So, I leave you to make emails, calls and texts to line up friends for some conversation and fine food. Incidentally, one way to avoid scurrying off in the middle of your meal is to pay for your parking by cell phone. The new system is catching on and Montgomery County is in the process of expanding its Pay-By-Cell Program. You can now use cell phones to pay for 5,250 county parking meters in Bethesda.
- American Tap Room has a contemporary setting and a classic grill menu, along with a dazzling array of beers and cocktails.
- The Italian word for “tastings”, Assaggi definitely will have your taste buds dancing. For anyone who loves fine Italian dining, Assaggi specializes in mozzarellas from the United States and Italy.
- Café Deluxe serves up made-from-scratch comfort food, like its popular grilled meatloaf with spicy Creole sauce, and a variety of specialty dishes in a bistro environment.
- World-renowned Executive Chef Jose Andres has created a menu that offers over 60 tapas dishes that reflect the rich regional diversity of traditional and modern Spanish cuisine.
- Lebanese Taverna, a favorite of Washingtonians everywhere is rich in family and tradition. They offer a variety of authentic Lebanese dishes including vegetarian and kid-friendly options.
- Le Pain Quotidien provides guests with mouthwatering pastries, Belgian style sandwiches and soups. The ambiance and friendly service makes this a good place to relax anytime.
- Classic down-home Italian cooking, dine-in or carry-out, for the entire family to enjoy. Delicious pizzas, garlic rolls and pastas will have everyone smiling.
- Expansive wine-by-the-glass choices and haute French bistro cuisine. Mon Ami Gabi offers a weekend brunch, live jazz, and happy hour in addition to lunch and dinner all overseen by Chef and Owner Gabino Sotelino.
- All-American cuisine inside or outdoors with a variety of classic steaks, burgers, seafood and salads.
- A fusion of contemporary Asian cuisine and wide selection of sushi, Raku has a lively environment and a crowd-pleasing menu.
- Showcasing a seasonal menu, Redwood features mid-Atlantic ingredients along with flavorful, organic, farm-raised, and sustainable food choices. Redwood was featured during the DC Top Chef competition.