Penang – Bethesda

Contemporary Malaysian just off Bethesda Row.

The Food: The focus here is on Malaysian cuisine, which brings together many Asian influences. The menu includes noodle soups, fried noodles, rice dishes (with vegetables or seafood), and two-dozen varied entrees. Also on site: a sushi bar. The downtown DC Penang shares a similar menu but is privately owned.

The Scene: Decorative details  liven up an otherwise boxy, boring space. A large, rustic wood bar is impossible to miss near the entry, as are wood fences with nautical rope ties. Stones cover the west wall, which is pretty in itself, but water flows down the stones into a canal-like pool running the length of the wall. 

What’s Nearby: Penang is a block away from from Bethesda Row’s shopping and entertainment (on Woodmont Avenue), including Barnes & Noble, the Landmark movie theater, Gifford’s ice cream, Jaleo, and the Austin Grill.

Insider Tips: a $9.95 lunch special, available between 11:30 AM and 3 PM, includes an entree, house salad, soup of the day, white rice and a choice of satay chicken, taro shrimp or a spring roll. Entrees include pineapple fried rice, curry chicken, mixed vegetables with tofu and mango shrimp.