Surrounded by trendy chain restaurants and specialty ethnic restaurants in all directions, the Tastee Diner has all the features (and occasional foibles) of a classic American diner. Destroyed in a fire, its owner rebuilt it, and its loyal local patrons can count on it being open any time, day or night (it's open 24 hours) to have a meal by yourself where you can relax with a good book, meet up with a buddy for coffee or a meal, or even eat out with a not-too-fussy spouse or date because it's too much trouble to cook.
We ate there three times during our most recent visit to Bethesda. The first time we had a late dinner, having come in from the airport and wanting to eat somewhere close to where we were staying that would be fast, uncomplicated, quiet, and fairly reasonable price-wise. That's what we got. My spouse ordered the chopped steak with gravy and grilled onions, which he enjoyed, and I opted for the grilled salmon, which.was good but not stellar. Both came with two side dishes. Hard to find a meal like that for two people for a grand total of $20.
On Sunday morning we had breakfast at the Tastee Diner, the experience of which was greatly enhanced by the persona of "David Your Waiter," a cheerful, fast-talking wise-cracking, but efficient and very thoughtful server who kept us laughing with his "David Your Waiter" business cards that had his website on it and the question "Have you seen my new pen,?" referring to the giant lavender pen with which he took our order. My spouse ordered the malt waffle, and I ordered a cheese omelet with a biscuit. When he realized we were going to share both of the breakfast entrees, he brought me two fluffy biscuits that were great. David made sure we never lacked for water or coffee, and our Sunday breakfast experience was totally A plus. Total cost for a great brunch for two came to under $10.
We had breakfast at the Tastee Diner again on a weekday, when David wasn't there. The service was nondescript--adequate but not outstanding or overly attentive. Only one biscuit came with the omelet this time, and it didn't seem quite as high and fluffy as the ones I remembered on Sunday (still very tasty!). The waffle was great, and once again, a bargain. The tab once again,was under $10 for two including coffee.
All in all, the food is good, the prices very reasonable, and the nothing-fancy atmosphere a welcome change from that of chic and trendy chain restaurants. And if you are lucky enough to get "David Your Waiter" on a Sunday, you'll have a truly memorable meal!
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