100 Best Restaurants 2009: Grapeseed
No. 73: Grapeseed
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli, Rina Rapuano, Eve Zibart
Comments () | Published February 1, 2009
100 Best Restaurants (2011) 100 Best Restaurants 2012 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

Address: 4865 Cordell Ave., Bethesda, MD 20814
Phone: 301-986-9592
Neighborhood: Bethesda/Glen Echo
Cuisines: Modern, American
Opening Hours: Open Monday through Thursday 5 to 10; Friday and Saturday 5 to 11
Nearby Metro Stops: Bethesda
Price Range: Expensive
Dress: Upscale Casual
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Roasted piquillo pepper with goat cheese; fried oysters in beurre blanc; smoked trout with pears and crème fraîche; mushroom fricassee; calamari with chorizo and lemon; lobster in caramel sauce; roasted balsamic chicken; grilled quail; braised short ribs;

Cuisine: In one of the area’s oldest wine-centric bistros, chef/owner Jeff Heineman says his recipes are inspired by the wines, and the two menus are intelligently paired. The fare is richer than at some other wine bars: First courses of cheese-stuffed meatballs, fried clams or oysters, or even chicken livers set the stage for a filling experience.

Mood: There are booths down the hallway, small wine-cellarish rooms, a half dozen seats at the chef’s table and in front of the kitchen, and a front room with sidewalk views.

Best for: Diners interested in less-familiar varietals and slow, deliberate dinners. Recently, dishes have been scant on salt and acid that would compete with wines but not on fats—an otherwise perfect lobster was cloaked in a butter sauce.

Best dishes: Smoked trout with pears and crème fraîche; grilled quail; braised short ribs; roasted filet mignon with oxtail ragoût; wild Alaskan halibut with green-tomato marmalade and hazelnuts; grilled monkfish with bacon-rich spoonbread, morels, and sweet-corn relish.

Insider tips: Skip the orecchiette, which has been too heavy. “Tempura” here is closer to deep-fried than traditional. Some changes of sides may bring a surcharge.

Service: •••

Open Monday for dinner, Tuesday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday for dinner. Expensive.

See all of 2009's 100 Best Restaurant 

Subscribe to Washingtonian
Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 02/01/2009 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews