April 20, 2014

Oct 7, 201205:34 PMTable Talk

Annual pig-out report from the Taste of Bethesda

Oct 7, 2012 - 05:34 PM
Annual pig-out report from the Taste of Bethesda

Freddy's Lobster + Clams' lobster roll. Photo by Emma Patti

After having a year to digest, I was back on the streets at the Taste of Bethesda on Saturday (along with somewhere between 30,000 and 35,000 other people), eating my way through the new tents.

Of the 55 restaurants at the event, there were 11 newbies—nine restaurants which opened in the last year, one that is yet to open (Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club) and one (Redwood) that was simply new to the event.

As in years past, I’ve given an award to eat bite:

Longest line and longest lobster roll: Early in the event, the line at Freddy’s Lobster + Clams wound across Norfolk Avenue and down the street. And no wonder. Three tickets for a whole lobster roll! As the day progressed, the line got even longer, while the lobster rolls got shorter. It must have been a simple result of demand and supply, as the rolls were halved and the price reduced to two tickets. No matter; the line persisted.

Shortest lobster roll: At Luke’s Lobster, the four-ticket lobster roll—albeit filled with nice chunks of cold lobster meat—was only a third of a whole roll. Shorter rolls, shorter lines.

Best off-menu item: Along with the flavor-packed gumbo, red beans and rice and jambalaya, the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club—slated to open at the beginning of 2013—was serving up a secret stash of bread pudding. The proof was in the pudding sauce—a rich concoction that Chef Moses Jackson said was made with cream, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla.

Best slider: Kraze Burgers’ KB Original, a fresh-tasting little bundle, the meat still pinkish on the inside and topped with a pleasant combo of Kraze sauce, tomato, onions, pickles, lettuce and mayo.

Worst slider: The Box Bar & Grill’s, a tough, over-mixed mound served on a Wonder Bread-like roll.  

Most creative slider: The baby brioche served at Redwood Restaurant and Bar’s tent was filled with shredded pork barbecue, sliced apple, coleslaw and a homemade potato chip. It really worked.

Boniest: What was that hard, tooth-like object in the Majestic Bar & Grill’s dreadful-tasting oxtail wonton? After checking to make sure it didn’t originate from my own mouth, I realized it must have come from the cow. I showed it to the ticket taker, who showed the chef. “He’s been alerted,” was the response.

Greenest: The grasshopper juice at Puree Artisan Juice Bar. Made with thin, tender shoots of wheatgrass and fresh pineapple, it was sweet, green and really refreshing.

Best wings: Okay, so the lemon-pepper chicken wings at Nando’s Peri-Peri were the only wings I had, but they were smoky, peppery and finger-lickin’ good.

Best sleeper item: My random selection of the ceviche at Panas Gourmet Empanadas turned out to be a good one. The tender bits of marinated fish, diced red bell pepper, cilantro and red onion were an unexpected winner.

Most generous: Two tickets at Tandoori Nights fetched two big pieces of moist Chicken Tikka; a whole plate filled with Palak Paneer (one of my favorite Indian dishes) and rice went for three tickets. So much to eat, so little time.

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About This Blog

Welcome to Table Talk, the blog version of the column in Bethesda Magazine. Be one of the first to find out about new restaurants and food shops, and join in the lively discussion about first bites, snipes and recommendations.

Before becoming Food Editor of Bethesda Magazine, Carole Sugarman was an award-winning food reporter for The Washington Post for 20 years. She has also written for national food magazines and a food policy newsletter, as well as judged cookbook and cooking contests. She lives in Chevy Chase where she eats PB&J for lunch when she’s not working.

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