Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Food Wine & Co.

We were looking for a place to have dinner in Bethesda and I asked several Bethesdans for recommendations.  Nearly every restaurant they suggested is a suburban twin of a restaurant in downtown DC:  Jaleo, Taylor Gourmet, Nando's, Mussel Bar, and BGR.  We like all of those places, but we don't need to leave our neighborhood for them.  Wanting to try something unique to Bethesda, we settled on Food Wine & Co. near the Metro station.

Food Wine & Co. is located in the old Uno Chicago Grill space and rumor is that they spent $2 million fancifying it.  It's a comfortable space with big, wide booths and pretty lights, but I'm not sure it's $2 million different from the chain that preceded it.

We settled into our corner booth and ordered drinks.  I ordered a flight of 3 different wines that were all just average.  The flight of 3 wines was served on a flight board with 4 spaces on it, so they served a wine glass full of water to even out the board.  Weird.  B selected a beer flight of four 4 ounce pours.  We liked the wide beer selection and the ability to sample different beers rather than committing to one. 

After spying it on other tables, we ordered the fried artichoke appetizer.  The artichokes had a perfectly light and crisp coating which gave us high hopes for the meal ahead.  The sauce was too caper-heavy for my liking but if you're a caper-crusader, you'll dig this. 

I ordered a salad off of the specials menu which was too heavy on the sweetness (figs and plums) and not heavy enough on the savory.
B's lamb burger with harissa, tomato confit, arugula and garlic mayo was good but nothing worth going to Bethesda for.  Also, we paid an additional couple of dollars to upgrade to the fries and they were quite possibly the most uninterestingly bland fries on the planet.  Do yourself a favor and stick with the rosemary-parmesan chips that come with the burger.
My roasted peach, arugula, blue cheese, balsamic pizza was, as the menu says, "crispy, doughy, delish."  I like my pizza dough chewy and fat, and this delivered.

Overall, we had a perfectly "fine" meal at Food Wine & Co. I would not recommend traveling from afar to eat there (though the free parking is a nice perk) and I'm not even sure I would recommend it if you live close by (go to Black's or any of the other DC-based options mentioned above).  I suppose if you've tried everything in town and want some straightforward American comfort food, Food Wine & Co. is your place.

Second Thoughts from B

The fried artichoke was far and away the big winner of our night.  This is a dish we discovered during our time in Rome and will not soon forget.  The Food Wine & Co. version wasn't close to being as good as the original, but it wasn't a dish to turn your nose up at either.  It is unfair to compare the two dishes because of the untouchable awesomeness of the Italian original, so to say that it reminded us of one of our great culinary discoveries from the last year, is a compliment.

The beer flight was interesting.  Not good, not bad, just interesting.  Each of the four beers were unlike anything I have tasted, but also, unlike anything I would ever choose to order again. Herby, fruity, chocolatey... gimmicky.  It was like a lot of modern art... Not necessarily beautiful, but interesting.

Now to the burger.  Aside from the harissa, it was completely forgettable.  Only this tiny touch of North African paste made it unique.  See a trend starting to emerge here?
Food Wine & Co on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

I love fried artichoke - where do you recommend in DC for it?

J said...

Though we can't verify their awesomeness, Dino in Cleveland Park claims to have Roman Jewish style deep fried artichokes on their menu. The picture I found online looks very much like what we had in Rome! We will be going to check this out. Bibiana in Downtown also has fried artichoke on their menu. Happy eating!

Anonymous said...

Rome - exactly where I discovered them!
will try Dino - thanks.

Yuli said...

That's a shame.. The presentation of the food looks so nice though.