We already wrote about Food Wine and Company when they first opened last fall, and while the restaurant definitely had a promising start, we thought the food was just okay yet was lacking some direction. Clearly our hunch was right, as since that time Food Wine and Co. has been through several chefs and growing pains.
One chef, the well-known Carole Greenwood, only made it 48 hours. Since then, we have noticed great changes in the menu and offerings. Their new chef, Michael Harr (formerly of Butterfield 9), brings much experience with him that is clearly evident in his dishes and overall presentation.
We have always enjoyed Food Wine and Co. and welcomed it as a much-needed replacement to the generic Pizzeria Uno’s. This past week was the first time I tried dinner there, and what better way to experience multiple dishes than during Restaurant Week.
Since their happy hour is one of the best in Bethesda (in our humble opinion) we couldn’t resist enjoying some drinks at the bar first. While the place is called Food Wine and Co., we should note their extensive beer selection. It’s one of the best in Montgomery County, which isn’t easy to do given their alcohol restrictions. Even better, their happy hour menu includes both beer and wine flights for $9.
I decided to get the beer flight, which included any four draft beers in 4oz pours. It was a great way to try some new beers that I haven’t tasted before, and after finding one I really liked, I ordered a full draft which also happened to be on special. They also had dollar oysters, so you know we couldn’t pass that up. We tried a mixture of Blue Point, Rappahannock, and Old Salts, and I have to say, they really are some of the best oysters I’ve tried recently, and at a dollar a piece no less!
Happy with our drinks and oysters, we made our way to the dining area for our reservation. I should point out that they did offer a fairly extensive menu for Restaurant Week. It wasn’t the complete menu, but it wasn’t just three entrees either. After some debate, I decided on the watermelon and tomato gazpacho with ricotta. It was light and refreshing, but not too chunky or heavy like some gazpacho dishes I have had. In fact, I had one earlier that day at Assaggi and you couldn’t even compare the two in terms of quality.
The main courses included everything from pizza to salads to sandwiches to mussels, as well as full entrees. I figured I might as well try one of their pricier selections, so I ordered the salmon with English peas, alba mushrooms, radishes, and a horseradish cream sauce. It was perfectly cooked, seared on the outside while medium rare on the inside. The vegetables that accompanied the salmon were so fresh that I felt like I was tasting part of summer. I was really happy with my dish but tried not to eat it all so I could save some room for dessert.
We decided to each pick a different dessert so we could try a few different ones. I ordered the Coconut Joy while my friends got the double chocolate bread pudding and the Elvis. I have to admit, I definitely had some food envy when I tried theirs. Mine was good, but it was originally supposed to have coconut and chocolate sorbet along with coconut macaroons, chocolate almonds, and rum syrup. Turns out they were out of the coconut sorbet and substituted it with raspberry instead. It was still decent, but it didn’t even compare to my friends’ dishes.
I would order the Elvis next time – peanut butter and chocolate ice cream, fudge crispies, sweet and salty peanuts, bananas and chocolate sauce. The bread pudding was to die for as well. And considering that I work in the same building as this restaurant, there will be many next times. I may have forgotten to mention that before, but Food Wine definitely isn’t a bad place to work right above! Maybe we can get a discount for being neighbors?