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David Craig, St. Elmo Avenue in Bethesda - Closed.


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Washingtonian has a blurb in the February issue...

COULD SOMETHING REALLY GOOD BE BREWING IN BETHESDA?

David Craig gets around. The Scottish chef worked for the late Jean-Louis Palladin and Roberto Donna at Pesce, moved on to the Tabard Inn, where he whipped up such gutsy arcana as haggis, and did time at Black’s Bar & Kitchen in Bethesda.

Now he’s opened his own place, David Craig Bethesda (4924 St. Elmo Ave.; 301-657-2484), in the former Napa Thai location. Dark-wood wainscotting, white walls, and abstract paintings make for a modern space. And Craig’s personal approach to Modern American cuisine is welcome news for Bethesda, where it’s easy to find a restaurant but hard to find a really good one.

Craig’s Maryland oyster stew seems simple—a rich, milky brew studded with briny oysters—until you get a hit of smoky bacon and a ping of chive and leek. Chicken Two Ways is delicious: The leg is stuffed with wild mushrooms, slices of white meat are fanned on top, and beneath it all, soaking in the juices, are herb-flecked polenta fries and braised purple cabbage sweet with cider. Risotto made with vialone rice from the Veneto doesn’t have the creamy consistency of the classic, but the riot of flavors in a single spoonful—bits of roasted apple, lobster, winter squash, and mascarpone—make up for the departure. Entrées are $12 to $29.

It’s a promising start for this small, sometimes-overworked kitchen, and a promising sign for a city with few independent, chef-driven restaurants.

Polenta fries? Oh, yum!

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unlike mama's boy and other famous eponymous american restaurants, it didn't feel like david craig was living in his new place in bethesda when we were there on saturday night during another restaurant week. it is long and narrow, quite white, and in the back where we were seated there is a small collection of abstract trowel painting. tables drawn up along an extended banquette provide most of the seating and dead end at a wall of wood-framed mirrors. you can catch the chef himself through a glass window, and there is at least one table right in front of it that has been set up for prime gawking. look for the wiry, tattooed scotsman with the cap and barnacles on his pots. three vents facing diners have been painted reddish, indicating further that observation of the steadily engaged skipper is invited.

even though david craig has just moved into the new space, he has got the kitchen down pat and the food is quite good, designed to appeal to the jaded buds of the affluent without disconcerting anyone. that shouldn't come as a surprise to those who have followed him around the city for the past several years, but rid of black's new orleans riff, his cooking technique comes more clearly into focus. perfectly done, pink salmon filet sits on a ragout of brussel sprouts, seashell drippings and some other vegetables, that form a chorus of good flavor for the fish. only the haricorts verts are intact and distinguishable. the other ingredients contribute to the amalgamation, with a speck or two of the pig evident. this is a nice way to sauce.

nothing you haven't encountered before, an appetizer of sweet, small and tender mussels sits in a classic broth of scallions, parsley, wine and significant amounts of butter and salt. bread takes well to it.

the glazing on a creme brulee is too thick, a pane of sugar that can mess up your teeth if you don't watch out, a dessert that will leave the dentists in the audience with mixed feelings.

the wine list, at least for now, is shallow.

we definitely will return, for one thing just to sample the pastas. this is a small, bifurcated restaurant destined for popularity, so i would make a reservation, or at least avoid prime time, and ask to sit in the back.

(hope this isn't short schrift, but i've got to pack and get some euros on our way to finding out if any of our restaurant reservations around barcelona actually made it through the language barrier. they at least asked for the name, which is a good sign, even though mine can hardly be imagined by spanish speakers.) :lol:

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In the spirit of shameless self-promotion, something I'm not really good at, here's a link to my review of David Craig Bethesda in the March issue of DC magazine. As the magazine itself is not online, this is from my own Web page - dmwineline.com.

It's my first published restaurant review, so please be kind. :lol: And for those who enjoy a bit of culinary exegesis, no, Tom S. and I did not dine there together, nor did we exchange notes. Though I did happen to see him at the restaurant I reviewed for the April issue ...

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Has anyone been back to David Craig recently? Until Rays Classic opens, I am stuck for a place near home for dinner with my visiting father. He is a meat and potato man, and according to Tom's review, there may be something for all of us.

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I had dinner at David Craig at the end of March and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had the chicken 2 ways with polenta fries -- outstanding! The chef really knows how to make a tasty sauce, and the stuffed chicken leg was finger licking good. I was torn between the chicken and the duck they were serving that night, which also sounded delicious, although now I'm struggling to remember the details of the preparation -- it might have been duck 3 ways. One of my companions had the lobster risotto, which had a generous piece of lobster on top. I can't wait to go back and try some of the other dishes. Dessert was quite good also -- we had chocolate bread pudding with bourbon sauce and vanilla ice cream -- but by then we were all pretty full, so split it 3 ways.

If you're not familiar with Bethesda, just beware that the garage across the street from the restaurant has meters that need to be fed until 10:00 pm -- I assumed they were free in the evening, but was told that the police are aggressive about ticketing.

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Very much enjoyed our dinner there last night! We went in around 7:15 without a reservation and were seated at the chef's table in the back, for 2! That was lucky. On a previous occasion on a weeknight without a reservation our wait would have been 40 minutes so we made it on over to Cesco's on Cordell instead.

We split the mushroom carpaccio appetizer, then my wife had grilled sea scallops wrapped with prosciutto and I had squid ink pasta and shrimp with a tomato sauce with capers and anchovies mixed in. Too full for dessert but I look forward to trying something next time! The sea scallops were delicious, very tender and almost moist in the center and the shrimp were juicy.

Next time I will make room for salad, too.

4 wines by the glass and our check came to $90.

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A few observations about David Craig, during Bethesda Restaurant Week:

Location: It's located in the "old" Bethesda. Given previous discussions, I was sure it was located in Bethesda's restaurant row. It’s nice to know that “old” Bethesda is getting a makeover. And, this is a pleasant addition. Also, I was expecting a huge building with an awning; it's located in a rather inauspicious building. Make sure you get good directions before you leave home; many residents had heard of the restaurant, but no one could point me in the right direction.

The interior: It is a rather small, intimate place. When you walk in, there are a few tables and a bar. Not seeing my dinner companion, I panicked. Is this all there is? Is there more seating in the back? When I asked the guy at the bar he said yes and told me my DC was waiting for me. Even gave me precise directions to get to her table. (Now, if I could have only gotten such directions from him on how to find the restaurant from the Metro I would have been all set.) At first glance, the bar didn’t look like a sit-down-have-a-drink-wait-for-your-DC type bar. But then again, I was rushing.

The back room was nice and intimate. I faced the back wall (that’s what I get for being late) so didn’t quite see the rest of the room. Nice art on the wall, glass window into the kitchen, lots of tables in a small space but didn’t feel crowded at all. We were seated in the far back corner. Great place to sit, with drink in hand, and eavesdrop on the various conversations and spy on what others are eating.

The food: Everything looked wonderful and was plated artfully. What does that mean? Every plate was laid in front of the diner in a certain way. For example, the crostini had to be placed horizontally in front of the diner; the crab cake-fries-salad had to be presented with the salad at 12 o’clock. All the dishes came out of the kitchen in a uniform fashion. I’m sure other places do the same thing, but the presentation was noticeable and quite a pleasant treat. It was obvious that someone wanted the meal to look as good as it tasted.

The RW menu was off the regular menu with a few items not listed. Like the crab cake. Even though it’s listed as an appetizer, they did provide an entrée-sized portion for RW. There were probably four choices from both the appetizer and entrée sections, two from the dessert section. We shared the crostini and mussels – anyone who knows me knows I don’t like to share my mussels; however, the mussels were abundant and quite good – and the soft-shell crab on squid ink pasta and the aforementioned crab cake. I am not a soft-shell crab fan, but this dish changed my opinion. (In fact, I waited until DC went to feed the meter before I tried my portion. If I didn’t like it, she wouldn’t have to see the “ugh!” expression on my face. In fact, it was quite good; while she was gone, I scoured her plate to see if she had left any crumbs behind.) Crab cake was good too. Had a bit of “ping” to it. Very thin French fries; looked like those French’s potato sticks, but tasted nothing like them. For dessert: a chocolate bread pudding, in a chocolate sauce, topped with vanilla ice cream with a hot caramel drizzling which formed a nice crust when it hit the cold ice cream. I’m not a bread pudding fan and this didn’t change my mind but I did try to lick my plate clean.

Had a nice Pinot Gris, light and crisp. Since DC selected it, I don’t know more than that.

One glitch: the entrees took a loooong time to come out of the kitchen after the appetizers were cleared. However, the wait staff immediately acknowledged and apologized. Nice touch. Better touch: while DC was out feeding the meter, he lingered around to listen to my (heat and humidity induced) corny remarks.

Overall opinion: I liked this place. Two reasons: at every step it looked like and felt like somebody cared. You know how some folks, in rather robotic tones, ask “how ya doing” or respond to the question with a non-committal grunt. Well, eating at David Craig was like having somebody ask who really cares and is quite attentive and wants a honest report. Second: I would have felt completely comfortable as a single diner. Again, the staff (not just the wait staff) was friendly, in a genuine way, and went out of the way to make one feel comfortable. [Often as a single diner, I get that: oh, pity; she’s dining alone look. Here it felt like: oh, she’s dining alone; let’s make this a pleasant experience for her. I didn’t get the sense that I would have been shuttled off to a corner and neglected. However, if I did want to sit and eavesdrop with a scotch in hand while waiting for my meal, I felt the staff would have let me do so, without being obtrusive, yet still attentive.]

Oh! Three reasons: the food was good.

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Happened to go to David Craig's last night after meeting my wife after work for a "date night." We had tried for reservations a couple friday's ago but I foolishly waited until a few hours before. We called ahead last night just in case even though it was Tuesday and the host said they had plenty of space since it was Tuesday and after a holiday. When we got there there were only five tables filled and we essentially had our pick of seats, so we sat in front of the kitchen (otherwise we'd actually have to talk, right?).

Having read the "worth the trip" spot in the Washington Post a couple weeks ago, I remembered the fettucine as something to order, so we got that as an appetizer. For entrees I got the tenderloin and my wife got a special of black and white ear-shaped pasta. The pastas were wonderful, full of flavor (the fettucine being very hearty and the entree having a delicate spice). My tenderloin was very tender and cooked perfectly after some sage advice from the waiter (he said their medium rare is blood rare so I went medium), but I have to say I expected a much bigger cut for my $30. I know, I know, not everywhere can be Ray's in its quality and economy, but the size was at least half of what I expected. I was paired with a gargonzola foam which paired nicely with the meat but the texture was a little wierd even on the last bite. We ended with the highlight of the night: Chocolate bread pudding. Indulgent.

Overall very good cooking with some noticeable finesse even on the heartier dishes. I would certainly recommend it (especially with all the Bethesda mediocrity), but I have to say not with nearly as much excitement as Ray's the Classics or Rasika, which we tried and loved in the last few months. I think that somewhat dampened enthusiasm is b/c we got more for our money at both Ray's and Rasika, not because of the quality of the cooking.

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Went to David Craig Bethesda Saturday night with 3 other people--all of us left pleased. It's a good restaurant and certainly beats the pants off of the mediocrity that is most Bethesda restaurants (to make a sweeping generalization!).

We had 8:00 reservations, probably arrived roughly 5 minutes late, and were seated within another 5 minutes. Although there is a bar area, there are no bar stools, so waiting largely involves standing in their front area. The gentleman who came to tell us it would be just a few minutes was quite friendly.

Three of us started with the soup of the day, which was a roasted tomato soup. I think I liked it least of anybody at the table, although it wasn't bad. It simply wasn't my thing. I thought it was too acidic, others liked the lemony brightness of it. I also probably would have preferred something more seasonal (e.g. squash-based) for a soup of the day, although I'm well aware that can be clicheed. I had the roasted beet carpaccio with arugala (sp?) salad, everybody else at the table had a bibb lettuce with fried green tomatoes salad. I didn't sample theirs, but the other three all seemed very pleased with this selection. I liked my salad, although I thought that at least one piece of the roasted beets tasted more like it had been boiled instead of roasted (*very* watery, not very flavorful). It may just not have been very flavorful, it may be have been my imagination, not sure.

I and another diner had the wild mushroom and ricotta ravioli (appetizer size, so that I could have room for dessert!). These were fantastic. The pasta was light, the filling and broth were flavorful, the portion size was perfect, and the bread did a great job soaking up the broth! Another diner had the wild mushroom and meat (don't remember what kind) ragu with fettucine. It looked great and she seemed pleased. Another diner had the stuffed quail. Didn't try it, but that diner also was very pleased.

I think dessert was the weakest link. I just didn't think much of the toasted pound cake with three sauces. There was hardly any of the chocolate or caramel sauces and while the pound cake was good, it wasn't great (I prefer it denser, this had too many holes that were too open). The report on the chocolate bead pudding was similar (good, not great). I love grapefruit and chocolate together, and sort of regretted not getting the dessert that incorporated them, but I don't like zabaglione, so didn't want to go with that.

The waitress was friendly, gave good, honest advice (steered us away from a glass of wine because she thought it was very acidic and not good), appeared at the right times, and the pacing of the arrival of the food was perfect. The per person total (a glass of wine a piece for three people, everybody got dessert, three of us went with appetizer size portions of dinner because of the number of appetizers we were having!), including tax and tip, was, roughly, $67.50.

I didn't like everything equally (nothing new there) and not everything was a sure fire winner, but the highs were very high and the lows were still pretty good, so I think the value was reasonable for the quality. If you're looking for a lunch spot in Bethesda, it's now open for lunch M-F.

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went there last night 1/25 for Restaurant Week. luckily we got the 'chef's table' where you can look in thru the glass into the kitchen which i loved.

the RW menu wasn't huge - 3 desserts about 6 entrees and 3 or 4 apps.

the host was very nice. our waitress- i detected an irish or scottish accent (David Craig is scottish- maybe some connection?) was okay.

my wife had the mixed greens salad- typical- nothing to swoon over. I had some great PEI mussels- they were the most tender i've ever had- cooked just to the point where they were cooked enough but not chewy.

I was surprised there was no bread on the table- especially for mussels. only later when i turned around did i see another table with bread and asked for some- big disappointment b/c the mussel broth would've been great to dip with bread. oh well.

my wife had the cornish hen. beautiful crust and nicely cooked meat. some swiss chard to accompany.

I had the "Braised Veal Cheeks. Parmesan Semolina Gnocchi. Swiss Chard. Golden Raisins. Pinenuts." YUM. 1st time having veal cheeks- they're soft and tender pieces of meat- practically fork tender. delicious. the gnocchi were 3 half dollar sized circles. also wonderful and creamy.

the desserts were good but not great- choice of grilled pound cake with sauces, an ice cream dish, lemon meringue (deconstructed) pie and bittersweet bread pudding.

my wife had the bread pudding and I had the lemon meringue which was deconstructed on a plate with a cookie as the 'crust', some candied citrus rind and the lemon custard and meringue on top. delicious. the bread pudding was good also. both had a raspberry coulis underneath. not sure the bread pudding benefited from it at all. it was an additionally tart punch to the lemon, but I like tart things so no complaints.

overall the food was an A- in my book, the service a B (A for the host but C for the server- we had 1 waitress take our order and another bring us our check? odd.) and the decor is very nice- understated, a little dark in the back area given the bright light from the kitchen window, but I loved that feature- an open kitchen without all the noise.

RW price was $35- a decent bargain- the 3 items ala carte would've been about $10 more.

definitely will be back again.

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Wow, I think I had the same table, right before you (we were there at 7pm)! The 2-top right in the middle of the big window? My wife sat with her back to the window, but I had a view of the kitchen the whole time. I probably should have paid more attention to my wife. :lol:

I had the mussels, but didn't need bread to sop up the sauce - the bowl came with a spoon, and I put it to good use! The tiny croutons were precious. My wife had the soup - I don't remember what it was (corn, maybe?), but that was because it was gone before I could ask for a taste.

We shared the veal cheeks and the fettucini with meat and mushroom ragu. I echo the thoughts on the veal cheeks - excellent, and the quick crisping on the gnocci was a great contrast in textures with the veal. The house-made pasta was excellent, and the ragu really spoke of mushrooms. I thought at first the plate was small, but it was rich enough that the portion size was just right.

My wife had the chocolate bread pudding, which she thought tasted great, though she didn't care for the consistency of the bread. I went with the aforementioned lemon meringue tart - perfect.

Our service was first rate - water and tea refilled at half-mast, bread on the table immediately, plates cleared promptly, etc. The courses were spread out enough for a good conversation, but not so much that you wondered where things were.

I will definitely return.

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We were there for dinner on Saturday, the 20th (not restaurant week). I also had the veal cheeks, which were excellent. In a previous incarnation, this dish came with 2 cheeks and 2 sea scallops. So the current iteration with the gnochi are sort of a visual play on the earlier version (my SO thought the gnochi were scallops, at first).

SO had the whole roasted Loup de Mer, which was also very nice.

Service was very good, though our waiter seemed to be at capacity. I think we were there at the peak hour (8pm). We had the black-haired gentleman, who I believe has an English accent -- very personable. The back room is the place to sit if you want a little more buzz. Tables are closer together, so the noise level is higher than in front. You really can't see anything other than the heads and shoulders of the kitchen staff through the window, so it's not really an exhibition kitchen. The front room is better for quiet conversation. I believe there are only 1 or 2 four-tops in front. The rest are two-tops arranged in a line along one wall, providing a bit of isolation from your neighbors.

David Craig has suceeded in pleasing us consistantly over 3 or 4 visits and has entered our regular rotaion.

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Another very enjoyable meal here tonight! We split a salad of pretty tasty yellow and red tomatoes with onion and goat cheese. My wife had ravioli with chantrelles, squash and ricotta, and I had fettucine with something like a Bolognese sauce and wild mushrooms.

The ravioli was from the specials. Everything was delicious, as it always is at David Craig's. Can't see why this place is not discussed more often.

On St. Elmo, almost across the street from Passage to India.

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Agreed. This is the best restaurant in Bethesda right now, and has been for some time.

Yes, better than Black's.

Well with that accolade, it sounds like I made the right choice for a birthday meal. I'm going for the first time on this Friday, what are the dishes that shouldn't be missed? Or if the menu changes frequently, what things does the chef do best (fish, pasta, meat, dessert, etc)? Also, I have one vegetarian in the party, any veggie recs would be appreciated too. Thanks.
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I haven't been in a few months, so I can't say what's on the menu, but the veal cheeks rock, he does very well with homemade pasta, and his time at Pesce made him brilliant with fresh fish.

My father-in-law took us here about two weeks ago. I got the whole branzino, which was awesome. I also agree that the pastas are quite wonderful. I didn't see the veal cheeks on the menu that night, though. As to the question of frequency of menu changes, I've only been twice but I got the impression that this was a place that changed it's menu more seasonally than weekly or daily. They definitely do have daily specials and sometimes tweak menu items (e.g. they have, if I remember correctly, a grilled peach salad that was modified to feature pears that night instead...something like that). They have a ribeye dish that seems to be a mainstay on the menu but I was discouraged from getting it again (I got it many months earlier) b/c, though it was good, it was fairly small and the most expensive entree on the menu. Not sure if that changed though. I think you'll have a good experience. Not a great physical space, but the best cooking in Bethesda.

Pax,

Brian

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Well, 6 of us went for lunch on Friday and the place was almost completely empty so the space was fine. Seemed like the tables might be a tad close together, but not anymore than most restaurants these days.

Before getting to the food, note the menu on the website is old with a new menu being served for fall starting recently according to our waiter - although some of the items are still the same. The lunch menu we had might still be different from the dinner menu, but I don't think much based on the similar items.

As for the food, we thought it was alright, but not great. A few people started with the potato soup of the day, which was pretty bland. The oyster crowder was better - rich, but not too creamy. I had the frisee,beet, apple, and cheese salad which was pretty nice, but I would have preferred more lettuce and less fruit (almost a whole apple and half a beet). For entrees, we had the pumpkin ravioli and shepherd's pie with duck confit. The pumpkin ravioli with fried sage was really good - but a tiny portion. About 6 1/4 inch little pillows - each one or two bites. The sheperd's pie was different and a nice blend of flavors - room temperature duck confit (good, but not super flavorful) topped with velvety mashed potatos and then a good small amount of melted gorgonzola on top. While the recipe for the pie is definitely good, the dish didn't elicit any oohs and ahhs. The best dish was the chocolate bread pudding for dessert which was excellent. Really rich chocolately bread baked with some spots oozing with molten chocolates and others with hard chocolate pieces (think box of chocolates) topped with delicious caramel sauce, big blackberries, and a scoop of good vanilla ice cream. Definitely worth a second try - maybe more pasta dishes, but I'm not rushing back, except maybe for dessert.

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Can't see why this place is not discussed more often.

I was walking from Grapeseed (you weren't in, JH) to Mia's Pizza (I'll come back eventually, MB), and I detoured past David Craig, noticing a completely empty storefront, and guilt got the better of me. If I can't support this, then why bother? I went in.

I asked if I could see the back room, but I was really just wanting to see how many people were there (about 10), and if the chef was in (he was). I took a table in front.

Drinking my Warsteiner Verum ($6.00), I was brought a basket of soda bread. At one point, I said to my super-friendly server Molly, "you have to tell me where you buy your bread," knowing full-well it was homemade, but wanting to actually hear it. Served with a dark-green, grassy, Tuscan-like olive oil, this homemade bread deserves to be eaten either plain, or with a good butter.

I ordered off the dinner special menu, starting with the Scallop and Salmon Papillote ($30), which, to my dismay, was actually cooked and served in aluminum foil. In my experience as a diner, aluminum foil does not work as well as parchment: It gets hotter than paper, and both the scallops and salmon this evening were overcooked. Prepared with caramelized onions and slices of potatoes, some of which were sticking to the foil, it was a miss that needs to be applauded for effort.

Molly steered me away from a Chardonnay, and towards a 2006 King Estate Pinot Gris from Oregon ($9), and she was absolutely correct in doing so. Good call, Molly, and much appreciated!

A Grilled Quail ($15 for one) was served on risotto with dried fruit and Savoy cabbage, all sitting atop a foie gras emulsion. The quail was well-cooked in the middle, but needed something to make it interesting on the exterior other than grill marks. The risotto was correctly prepared, but tasted predominantly of dried fruit, which perversely clashed with the foie gras emulsion. I'd like to see more of the cabbage flavors in this dish, following the lead of Alain Senderens.

I thought I might walk out dazzled, but in truth I walked out disappointed. I've been to David Craig about four times now, and each time I keep thinking that I'm missing something, or maybe that the restaurant is "almost there." What David Craig desperately needs is to redo its front area into a sit-down bar space, one that can bring in some revenue from alcohol. Yes, you'll lose some of the tables in front, but if they aren't filled, then what difference does it make? Plus, you can come up with a simpler, less-expensive bar menu for solo diners. A bar can subsidize the fine-dining aspect of a restaurant such as this, but right now it isn't happening, and because of this, it's not possible to simply "bop into David Craig" for a quick bite, or for an inexpensive night out. I want to love this place, but right now I just can't, and I hope it changes before it's too late.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Yes, you'll lose some of the tables in front, but if they aren't filled, then what difference does it make? Plus, you can come up with a simpler, less-expensive bar menu for solo diners. A bar can subsidize the fine-dining aspect of a restaurant such as this, but right now it isn't happening, and because of this, it's not possible to simply "bop into David Craig" for a quick bite, or for an inexpensive night out. I want to love this place, but right now I just can't, and I hope it changes before it's too late.

Cheers,

Rocks.

As a person who lives and works in Bethesda, I'd be the first to support this type of place. Again, I've had my best executed meals in Bethesda here, but I've been only twice largely b/c of price (many of the appetizer portions are $15-$16, IIRC). A cheaper bar-friendly approach would make me reconsider my weekly Palena trips, and I think there are others around Bethesda who'd jump aboard, too.

Pax,

Brian

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I just now noticed Rocks' comment about the soda bread, and am amused that we arrived at the same conclusion. However, I did ask for a pat of butter and received a generous chunk of unsalted sweet cream butter, slightly too cold, and while it played better than the green olive oil, it still could have used a bit of salt. How I wished for a bit of room-temperature Kerrygold. Also a bit too cold was my beer, a bottle of Jever pils which I had to order having just recently had a conversation with somebody about an old quest for unskunked Jever. This one was fine, but to get one in really top shape I suspect you might have to order it in Germany.

Beyond the modest façade, the space is deep and narrow as others have noted, and divided into a front "room" along the bar, and an air-conditioned back room which gives you a view of the large but tinted windows onto the kitchen. A large skylight illuminates part of the back room, but for the most part it's a claustrophobic space, the narrowness exaggerated by the high walls ending in a nondescript tile ceiling. To be frank, there's a certain worn appearance to everything from the walls to the unadorned dishes, and the whole thing reminds me a bit of restaurants in the British countryside (which mostly look like they've been around for decades). Except for the bathroom, which is curiously roomy and looks recently renovated.

I popped in for a quick lunch, and enjoyed a frisée salad followed by a couple of soft-shell crabs over fettucine. The salad, resting on a base of sliced beets and tossed with bits of manchego, walnut and golden raisins, was very lightly dressed but had a satisfying flavor balance. The soft-shells were small but well-prepared, resting on eggy fresh fettucine tossed with a chunky sauce of diced fresh red and yellow tomatoes, basil chiffonade and a touch of garlic. On the whole I found my dishes to be pretty good but not more so, their most memorable characteristic being their well-roundedness, which makes them a bit hard to justify at this price point IMHO.

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Things seem to be headed down hill at David Craig. We have eaten there at least a dozen times since it opened and it was a welcome addition to the Bethesda restaurant scene. But, our last three or four trips there have been mediocre at best. The seasonal menu has barely changed in months, the food is just passable and the place is nearly empty, even at what should be peak times.

I am not sure what is happening, but it seems that the place is melting down. Too bad., we'll miss what it was.

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Two insiders told me this evening that David Craig's important, chef-owned Bethesda restaurant wasn't going to reopen. I checked their website, which is down, and then called them, getting a recording saying that the number was disconnected.

I'm not drawing any conclusions from this, but it doesn't look promising.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I wonder how much restaurant business is down in the past month.

Being involved in some social activities in DC, seen a quick rapid drop, in people attending events.

Yeah, that's my observation as well.

This is trickle-down economics for ya. Greater # of folks are more mindful of excess expenditures.

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I wonder how much restaurant business is down in the past month.

Being involved in some social activities in DC, seen a quick rapid drop, in people attending events.

20+ per cent overall for many restaurants might be a decent guess. For other restaurants it might be defined as a 30 minute wait instead of a 90 minute or a week wait rather than a month.

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