Thursday, August 11, 2011

An Evening in Chevy Chase at Clyde's and Bethesda's Redwood


      We made plans to meet a friend of Eric's from college, Kristen, for the evening in Chevy Chase, MD.  We were taking the Metro from Washington so she made arrangements to meet at Clyde's, which was adjacent to the Friendship Heights stop.  Clyde's is a DC institution with beginnings in Georgetown circa 1963.  They now operate 14 restaurants in the area (including Old Ebbitt's Grill-reviewed by us on 5/26/2011) with differing themes for all.  

The Orient Express Dining Room
This particular establishment is centered around "yesteryears travel" with trains, planes, and steamships in the upstairs dining rooms and vintage race cars (including a D-Type Jaguar) featured around the downstairs Race Bar.  We were seated in one of the main rooms with an Orient Express theme that had a miniature train traveling on a track above us.  

D-Type Jaguar in the Race Bar
It is a beautiful restaurant that is reflective of a strong and long-term connection
to the community.  It is obviously very popular.  However, our main objective for the evening was visiting with Kristen to which our waiter was not privy and didn't ever quite grasp.  So let's just say that our service was a little disjointed, which may have been partially our fault.   

Cucumber Gazpacho

     After getting through introductions and 22 years of catch up, we finally ordered from the widely varied menu.  Kristen chose the house made soup of the day, Cucumber Gazpacho.  It was flecked with color, smooth, and a low acid alternative to the traditional recipe.  A tasty combination.  Eric tried Clyde's Chili, which was thick, meaty, and mild on the spices.  I wanted the Maryland Cream of Crab Soup since it's a mainstay for that part of the country.  I found it to be satisfactory, but nothing extraordinary.  

Clyde's Chili
      After more conversation, we moved on to the entrées.  Kristen ordered the server suggested and menu highlighted Jumbo Lump Crab Cake accompanied with corn and tomato Chesapeake (hash) and potatoes.  Eric decided on the Pan Seared Calf's Liver with spinach, mashed potatoes, caramelized onions and bacon.  I went for the Niman Ranch Pork Chop alongside cheddar corn pudding, southern style green bean, and BBQ jus.  

Jumbo Lump Crab Cake
Pan Seared Calf's Liver
Kristen said her crab cake was good but I didn't hear any "wow,—you've got to taste this".  Eric was grazing on his liver (which is never a good thing) amidst talking.  I concentrated on my pork chop...a generous cut, properly cooked, and juicy with the BBQ addition.  The corn pudding was creamy, but the green beans were a little overcooked for my taste.  More chatter and a decision to move on to another place for dessert.

Niman Ranch Pork Chop

Redwood Restaurant and Bar

       We walked around the block of name-dropping retail establishments before driving to downtown Bethesda.  Kristen explained that there are two major areas that flip-flop from time to time on popularity.  We, of course, headed to the trendy Bethesda Row and a gelato café called Dolcezza.  

Rhubarb Cobbler
The line was out the door (at 9:45pm) so we opted for Redwood Restaurant and Bar next door.  The menu was "now" but we had made it there for dessert only.  Our server suggested the Rhubarb Cobbler, which we ordered along with the Vanilla Creme Brûlée, Kristen's choice.  

Creme Brûlée
Both were wise picks and had house made ingredients and flavors.  The cobbler was served hot with a streusel topping and vanilla ice cream, while the brûlée was accompanied by pecan sandies.  The perfect ending to an evening of great conversation and memories.  Thanks, Kristen!
Redwood Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon

OK,—it doesn't happen very often but I'm jealous that I didn't get to meet Kristen and spend the evening with all of them.  Meeeeeeow!

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