After months of renovations to the old Rock Creek space on Elm Street in Bethesda, Newton’s Table opened its doors several weeks ago. While they were initially open for dinner, they have started offering lunch and happy hour service as well. Some of us decided to check out their happy hour to see if it would live up to expectations as a new Bethesda destination.
We arrived at the restaurant and went straight for the bar, which wasn’t particularly crowded for a Thursday evening. The actual layout wasn’t much different from its former tenants, but the colors were inviting and tasteful.
For happy hour, Newton’s offers several food items at a discounted price, such as Wagyu beef sliders for $10, $5 Gougeres (or French cheese puffs), $3 per salt and pepper shrimp, $5 rosemary Parmesan fries, and a $2 buffalo chicken egg roll, which debuted that evening.
Drink specials consisted of $3.50 drafts, $5 rail drinks, $6 wines, and $7 specialty martinis. Nothing was much of a steal, but the food was definitely of higher quality than some other happy hour joints we frequent. The sliders were excellent and you could taste the intense flavor of the meat. Still, $10 is a lot for three small sliders, even for happy hour. Same goes with the $5 fries. The Gougeres were different as they were light, airy, and a fun dish to split. For only $2, I hope the egg roll remains on the happy hour menu as it was definitely the best deal of the night.
The beer list wasn’t extensive, but Brett ordered a Stella and a Sierra Nevada for $3.50 each, so he wasn’t complaining. My friend and I each had a glass of wine, but there was only one white and red option. Not that it was a problem, but it is nice to have some more options for happy hour.
While we were at the bar, we asked to look at their lunch and dinner menus. The dishes sounded tasty, but our excitement waned as soon as we saw the prices. Suddenly, Newton’s became a special occasion restaurant, aside from their happy hour deals. Most of their dinner entrees ranged in the high 30s, and lunch was in the upper teens to 20s. The most inexpensive item for dinner was a $16 hamburger!
I’m not sure what would justify that price for a hamburger, but considering that we just had Ray’s Hell Burger for $7 per person, those are high expectations to live up to. That’s not to say I don’t want to try many things on the menu at Newton’s, but there would have to be a compelling reason to go and spend the high prices there.
We also strongly recommend they work on their website, and fast. It is great that new restaurants like Newton’s are using social media sites like Facebook to create a fan base before opening, and that’s what they were able to do. They slowly started posting food descriptions and snippets of the menu after opening, but we still have yet to see a full menu, and only saw the surprisingly high prices once we arrived at the restaurant. At least potential customers would know before visiting what type of dining experience they are in for if they saw the menu and prices beforehand on their website.