Last week we didn’t camp outside a restaurant per se. We camped inside the well-lit Mazza Gallerie in DC’s Friendship Heights waiting for diners from Rock Creek (5300 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-966-7625) to exit down the escalator. The month-old restaurant, which has a sister location in Bethesda, offers low-fat, low-calorie cuisine—nutritional info is front and center on the menu—with no butter, cream, or white sugar, and only grapeseed and olive oils. The goal is to have diners leave full but not painfully so—although for at least one patron, it means leaving still hungry. (Hmmm . . . is that fast-food joint still open across the street?)
Here’s how diners rated the new Rock Creek on a scale of 1 to 10.
Carter, director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Denver
What he ate: Melon and prosciutto salad, roasted venison with mushrooms (“better than I thought it was going to be”), and a lemon bar with blueberries.
Impressions: “There was something a little different about the consistency of the food. Probably because of the lack of butter? It wasn’t bad, just different. That maître d’ was probably the best I’ve ever met in my life. He chased me out the door just to say good night. Nobody ever does that.”
Tony, consultant, Friendship Heights
What he ate: Pan-seared black sea bass.
Impressions: “The portion was too small. I was still hungry after, so I went back for some more bread.”
David and Tiffany, business developer and policy analyst, Chevy Chase
What they ate: Salmon-and-date salad, grilled beef strip loin with whipped potatoes, and peanut-butter crisp with chocolate cake and ganache.
Impressions: “For a new restaurant, it sure doesn’t feel like it’s in the beginning stages,” said David. “We’ve been to the Bethesda one and like how you leave full but not uncomfortably full. The room feels very open and relaxing—and we love that tree in the center.”
Scott, consultant, Friendship Heights
What he ate: Roasted Amish chicken with oven-dried tomatoes, spinach, and sweet corn. (“Good, but I wasn’t wild about that garnish.”)
Impressions: “The food is comparable to Black’s Bar and Kitchen, but this was actually better. It’s also a half step up from Clyde’s.”
Jonna, student at Wesleyan University and caterer, Silver Spring
What she ate: Market salad with tomatoes, pickled cherries, and Maytag bleu cheese (“and I’m not even a salad person”).
Impressions: “Usually I’m an entrée person, but this was big enough to fill me up. The crowd inside seems pretty mixed depending on the time of day. Lots of older people at certain times.”