100 Best Restaurants 2011: Grapeseed
Comments () | Published January 20, 2011
100 Best Restaurants (2011) 100 Best Restaurants 2012 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

Grapeseed
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;

Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.

Not many suburban restaurants have a downtown vibe, but this sleek wine bar feels urban while maintaining a friendly neighborhood atmosphere.

The scene is set with a wall of windows facing the street, an open kitchen, and canvases splashed with gold and cobalt. Service also sets this place apart: Staffers offer helpful wine tips and sample sips along with advice about the menu.

Chef/owner Jeff Heineman honed his chops at Kinkead’s, so seafood dishes are a good bet, including a rice-based dish of scallops and mussels with a coconut-spiked sauce that tastes like a Caribbean gumbo. Supersized appetizers and boozy desserts round out a menu that dabbles in global influences but is American at heart. The extensive wine list, with such playful headings as Defiantly Dry and Deliciously Sweet, comprises nearly 500 varieties from around the world.

Also good: Gnocchi with goat cheese and mustard greens; fricassee of wild mushrooms and truffled polenta; fried chicken livers with pepper jelly; smoky grilled chicken with a roast-pork pupusa; salmon with root vegetables; ultra-light butterscotch pudding; mint-chocolate-chip ice-cream sandwich; vanilla-wafer panna cotta with brûléed banana.

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

>> See all of 2011's Best Restaurants

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 01/20/2011 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews