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“Black's in Bethesda”

Black's Bar & Kitchen
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Ranked #13 of 380 Restaurants in Bethesda
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $30
Cuisines: Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Norfolk
Transit: Three blocks from the BETHESDA METRO.
Reviewed September 2, 2012

Our second dinner at “Black’s Bar & Kitchen,” not surprisingly, confirmed our first impression that that is a wonderful restaurant. On the first visit, with friends, we sat on the bar side and ordered a variety of dishes to share. Last night—a special occasion for just two—we were seated on the restaurant side and ordered a more traditional dinner—starter, entrée, dessert, and appropriate beverages. Both experiences were great in terms of menu offerings, quality of food, and service.

Since we both are fish lovers, last night’s entrees were Yellowfin tuna loin (pan seared) and the Market Fish offering for the night, grilled (Atlantic) swordfish. Since the latter was ordered à la carte, sides and sauces were selected (and priced) separately. The young woman who was our server recommended chimichurri sauce (herbs, a few red chili flakes, a bit of vinegar, and olive oil), which added just the right touch (and a bit of a kick) to the perfectly grilled swordfish. Since I had enjoyed the sautéed asparagus with (local!) mushrooms on my first visit, I enjoyed them again!

My companion’s tuna loin (which would have been my choice had the swordfish not been on offer!), was beautiful—seared outside and “sushi-like” in the center. It was served with a mélange of crisped pork belly, golden beets, celery root, and pickled pepper (local, again).
Our first courses comprised roasted cauliflower/garlic bisque and a roasted peach salad. For dessert the house special sweet potato pie (accented with a scoop of brown sugar ice cream!) was my companion’s choice. Mine was the cheese assortment—three perfectly soft choices, one each from Vermont, France, and Spain. A couple of cappuccinos completed the end of a wonderfully satisfying dinner.

Black’s wine list is substantial, with some good choices among reds (our preference), especially from California and other west coast districts. They also offer an interesting selection of cocktails and after dinner beverage specialties.

With respect to the staff—in addition to our primary server, a personable young woman who was very knowledgeable about the menu selections—we were very pleased with the man who presented and served our wine (presumably the sommelier), and two other servers who had occasion to work at our table. Our reservation (via OpenTable) was honored immediately, although we actually arrived about 15 minutes early. By the time our entrees arrived, the house was all but full, and there was what could be describe as a “normal” din—typical of many restaurants on a busy Saturday night. We dislike overly loud venues (of any sort), and, happily, did NOT find it difficult to speak with each other or our servers.

“Black’s Bar & Kitchen” is part of the Black Restaurant Group. The organization has several locations in the DC Metro area, including “BlackSalt Restaurant” collocated with their “BlackSalt Fish Market” near Georgetown. We’ve recently had dinner at BlackSalt, and also found it to be an excellent choice. We have no hesitation recommending “Black’s Bar & Kitchen” to others and we certainly will be visiting it soon again.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Thank jruthg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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248 - 252 of 312 reviews

Reviewed September 1, 2012

Food was wonderful. Our server was one of the best ever! We got a great corner seat next to one another and they didn't even know it was our anniversary! Really fine!

Thank Kathryn Beane B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2012

I looked forward to having dinner here, but the negatives outweigh the positive. Good: reservation handled efficiently; our server was pleasant, efficient and knowledgeable. The wine list includes a few relatively well-priced selections, including some "by the glass" offerings. Fresh seafood includes oysters, clams and shrimp. The oysters from the West Coast and Canada were fresh, although pricey. Now the negatives. This is a seafood place, one of several owned by the same folks. It is 50 miles from the Chesapeake Bay, and only a couple of hundred miles from the waterfront communities along the Eastern seaboard and in the bays and sounds that abound there. Yet, the "market" fish was swordfish, caught a long ways away and frozen for shipment. The daily special was from the Mediterranean. And the menu simply did not reflect the richness that more local provender would allow. I ordered the fried chicken and my colleague had the branzino. His fish was well prepared, not exceptional. The vegetables were good. My fried chicken dinner was a disgrace. It was billed as having two "pepper biscuits." These were regular baking powder biscuits with black pepper, but were not in my opinion freshly baked. The "gravy" in this "southern style" dish was pasty. The two pieces of chicken were not hot, their coating was not crispy, and they were overdone to the point of dryness. OK, yes this is a seafood place, but they hold themselves out as knowing how to fry things -- as the rest of the men attests. In short, dinner was a disappointment, and at these prices a fairly sizable one.

Thank Tyger41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2012

Good for business lunches. Great bar scene. Don't make dinner reservations. It's not worth it. MANY places better to choose from for dinner in Bethesda.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Lviehmyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 28, 2012

It looks trendy and the menu also looks promising but it fails to deliver. Not a good value.

Thank sidzkid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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