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Rock Creek, Downtown Bethesda - Closed

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I am on the list, though to tell the truth, I haven't actually started to use the site until recently.

Not to be a party pooper, but the "restaurant in Bethesda" is the Rock Creek Restaurant, has been open for almost 6 months, is locally owned and operated, and from what I can tell has no relation whatsoever to Seasons 52.

I know this will come off as being catty and I don't mean it to. I just wanted to provide some info on this place. Here's the place's mention in the Listif anyone is interested.

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I have not been to the Rock Creek restaurant but in the article by the chef he noted entering a list of ingredients into his computer and finding that they were under 600 calories, therefore acceptible. I thought that perhaps the restaurant might be similar in concept to Darden Restaurant Group's Seasons 52 which I wrote about in a trade publication last fall. Seasons 52's success has caused it to inspire a number of others around the country modelled after it. Darden, meanwhile, has opened other units but so far none outside Florida. The food is remarkably good for having so few calories.


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After one too many unhealthy meals hastily eaten after working late, I pondered my favorite solo dining options while driving back to DC...

Dino? I saw myself eating a whole plate of prosciutto, plus cheese and plenty of wine

Palena? It would be the burger and fry plate, for sure. Possibly even dessert...

I always had in the back of my mind to try Rock Creek in Bethesda. The concept, as you might remember from Sietsema's review, is that all the dishes are very low calorie, with the nutritional information provided on the menu. Having worked in the health research industry, I find this an interesting idea. However, most times I just don't want to know the nutritional details of what I'm eating when I'm at a restaurant. I'm there to enjoy the food, and besides, it's not too difficult to tell what's going to be high calorie and what's not (which is what makes the alarmism of the CSPI so ridiculous). That said, it would be nice to have a place like this as an option, especially if it was, say, right near my office and open for lunch.

Can this type of thing ever catch on? Probably not, I thought to myself as I walked past other packed restaurants (Austin Grill, that Pizza/Italian joint) to the near empty Rock Creek. The few people in the dining room were, um... well, this must be where the Prime Rib crowd goes when they're looking for "lighter fare". :lol:

I find the diet fads of my friends and relatives incredibly annoying, especially when I'm out to dinner with them. Give Rock Creek credit, though-- they aren't pushing some questionable fad or philosophy (low-carb, all-organic, macrobiotic, etc), they're just trying to cut the calories in the food they serve and let people know exactly what they're eating. But as anyone who cooks knows, it's tough to make something delicious without at a least a little strategic use of butter, cream or olive oil. There's not much compromise at RC-- they're going all the way. The entrees average about 450 calories, which isn't much. I couldn't detect any use of fats in the dishes I had.

I started with a lobster and corn chowder (150 calories). Thin and watery, it looked like they might have tried to rely on the natural starch of the corn to thicken it, but it just didn't work. It wasn't unpleasant, though, but not very satisfying either. Perhaps defeating the point of eating here, I started filling up on the very nice hummus (in lieu of butter) with excellent whole wheat bread they serve to every table. The trick with the hummus seemed to be pureeing it thoroughly, the nearly whipped texture providing a sensation of creaminess... this worked.

With the tagliatelle w/ eggplant, tomatoes and rapini (350 or so), there was no sauce, but things were nicely cooked and the vegetables were fresh. Unfortunately, this dish lacked any depth-- you felt like you were eating 'diet' food.

Dessert's gotta be the toughest to pull off. I've been served many 'low-calorie' desserts and they've all sucked (my mother went through a big carob phase when I was a kid... bleeccch). I ordered the 'Peach Tatin with Ricotta Crust' (266), which came out as a stack of uncaramelized, warmed-over peaches on top of a soggy, sweet cracker. Really not good (and I love peaches). There's no reason this couldn't have worked, though-- it was just a poor execution of the idea.

Just like when you binge too much on unhealthy foods and feel you need to eat steamed vegetables, I now feel like I need to go to Bistro du Coin or something.

[Don, please edit this if it got too off topic]

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My wife and I had dinner at Rock Creek tonight. It was not what I expected.

The demographics of Seasons 52 are probably family through 50+ in the dining room and 25-40 at their bar. Rock Creek, which has an entirely different type of presentation, is heavy with baby boomers like myself (58). There is no bar action but it is not set up to have this. The overall ambience is different also, not a "supper club" type of presentation such as Seasons 52, rather more of a "downtown" 60 seat restaurant and adjacent bar area with six or eight seats. Rock Creek is much more personal, much more the type of upscale neighborhood restaurant that an accomplished professional would become a regular at. With his wife and colleagues in tow. A "mindful dining experience" promoted by its co-owners, conceived and executed by its young and extremely creative chef.

Overall, I thought the food at Rock Creek was slightly BETTER (Yes, better!) than the California Grill inspired Seasons 52. My wife and I both liked the fresh corn and lobster chowder with red bell pepper, lima beans and scallions. There was depth to its flavor in place of richness. For 500 calories and $7.95 this was worth it-I would order it again. For the advertised 170 calories I would have several bowls. Nori crusted tuna carpaccio was delicious, an outstanding presentation of this. With seaweed salad and roasted garlic caper sauce it was a remarkably good 164 calorie investment. AT 500 calories it was still delicious and worth seeking out on a future visit.

A rockfish entree with crispy shallots and tarragon lime viniagrette, marinated portobello and grilled asparagus was excellent at $18.50. Worth every one of the advertised 400 calories. The nightly special of one and one half inch thick grilled diver scallops was as fine of a scallop dish as there is in the D. C. area. Succulent, flavorful, delicious presented on a bed of the "trinity"-this must have pushed a thousand or more calories. Three fifty.

Rock Creek chocolate cake is a variation on molten lava chocolate cake that by now half of the restaurants in America seem to feature as a special house creation. But here, at 220 calories and three or four seemingly orgasmic bites, it was an excellent presentation. At $1.50 a bite it should have been and was. Key lime cheesecake with strawberries drenched in a alcohol infused sauce was similar: three or four serious bites.

This is a wonderful restaurant that more than justifies every table being full tonight and every other evening they are open-regardless of calories or the relative nutrional value which is printed on the back of their menu. It is known in Bethesda and has become quite "in" with an older, accomplished, professional clientel.

A very strong two stars pushing three. We'll be back within a week. If it were in Reston we would be regulars. It is THAT good

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Six of us tried Rock Creek Restaurant for the first time last night as part of Bethesda's Restaurant Week, and we all left with a good impression.

The restaurant itself has a modern earthy decor, to the extent that such a combination is possible. I saw hip, well-dressed professionals seated near ex-hippies with multi-hued, New Age blouses, and the setting managed to neutralize the contrast in clientele.

The Restaurant Week menu was limited to four appetizers and four entrees, though the entirety of the dessert menu was available. The appetizers were: (1) frisee and arugula salad; (2) smoky shrimp and roasted pepper bisque; (3) marinated chicken satay; and (4) organic butterleaf salad. The entrees were: (1) baked monkfish loin; (2) Yucatan pork tenderloin; (3) grilled chicken breast; and (4) grilled mahi-mahi. Two of the available "desserts" were actually flights of dessert wines. The remaining six available desserts were: (1) broiled pineapple with saffron sauce and vanilla frozen yogurt; (2) fresh raspberries with honeyed yogurt; (3) chocolate cake with light whipped cream; (4) peach blueberry strudel; (5) blueberry creme brulee; and (6) a trio of sorbets.

Three of us ordered the bisque, one ordered the frisee and arugula salad, and two had the chicken satay. The satay was notable in that it came unskewered, which is an appropriate gesture to the upscale setting, and was served with a sweet dipping sauce, as opposed to the more traditional peanut sauce. The diners who opted for the satay enjoyed it. My girlfriend commented after dinner that she very much liked her frisee and arugula salad and, in particular, its dressing. The bisque was outstanding; an as-promised smoky flavor, not too thin or too thick, and well-populated by tender shrimp. I added a bit of ground pepper because I enjoy a kick in my bisque, but I really did not need to. The bisque was so good, in fact, that none of us hesitated in cleaning the bowl with the bread on the table.

Despite the Post's panning of the bread (please excuse the pun), I thought it hit all the correct notes. It was whole wheat, but not at a cost of flavor or texture, soft in the middle, and surrounded by a chewy, oat-and-grain-flecked crust. Of course, I enjoy Kashi, so take what I say with a grain of salt. The hummus served with the bread, however, needs no caveats. It is smooth, garlicky, and prompted my girlfriend to state that she could make a meal of the hummus alone.

Two of the group ordered the pork, two ordered the chicken, one ordered the mahi-mahi, and I had the monkfish. The entree portions at Rock Creek have been described as Lilliputian, but I thought that, while they fell on the smaller side of the spectrum, they were not disappointingly tiny. I did not try the pork, though both people who ordered it enjoyed it, but I did try the corn-and-bean toss that came with it, and found it good, though not memorable. The bite of chicken I had reminded me that even though chicken is the default comparison meat of choice because it rarely has a strong or complex taste, it can still be prepared in such a way that it is moist and full-flavored. I will, based on that one bite, stop unconsciously eliminating chicken as an ordering option. And the roasted tomatoes served with the chicken tasted so good that I actually stopped conversation to make note of their flavor.

I did not try the mahi-mahi or hear what the diner thought of it, so I will not comment on it. My monkfish was superb, and I understand why the waiter noted that it was his favorite of the Restaurant Week entrees. Three or four smallish pieces of unbelievably moist fish, grilled to a light bronze on the outside, served with wilted greens (which were actually a bit too salty for my taste) and an eggplant-onion ratatouille that left me wishing it made an appearance on the everyday menu so I could go back and have it again. And again and again.

The dessert orders skewed heavily to the chocolate cake. Only two of us wandered off the chocolate path: one diner ordered the fresh raspberries, and I ordered the blueberry brulee. I had a single (small) bite of the chocolate cake, and thought it better-than-average. Again, texture was key, as I found the cake not too thick and not too airy. The waiter actively discouraged the order of raspberries, explaining that it is, ultimately, just a bunch of raspberries, but the diner persisted in her order, and was rewarded with fresh raspberries under a thick mound of honeyed vanilla yogurt. I tried her dessert, and I would happily order it in the future. My creme brulee was a sugary joy, perfectly portioned, and loaded with baked blueberries that complemented the vanilla-flavored brulee perfectly. I had zero regrets about my dessert choice.

I will note that, after my recent coffee disappointment, Rock Creek's coffee is some of the best I have had in memory. And, despite the emphasis on healthy food, the restaurant did not force me to use tuber-based "sweeteners," and instead provided the standard mix of sugar and traditional artificial sweeteners.

The waiter, a Hungarian gentleman, was extremely pleasant and engaging, and did not hesitate to opine on various dishes upon our request, which we appreciated. Further, a well-dressed man, who we could only assume to be the proprietor, stopped by the table and asked us not only the perfunctory questions about the food, but also about how we knew each other and what we did professionally. He clearly likes to get to know his diners and, after this meal, I expect to be speaking with him again sooner rather than later.

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The Mazza location soldiers onward towards its opening. I missed their blurb back in February, but apparently the new location's menu is getting a working over from none other than Ris Lacoste. Last week, Robert Kacher was seen conducting a wine tasting for the new list, so it'll be interesting to see just how much more they can do just over the DC border.

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First time at Rock Creek (Bethesda) was a rewarding experience. VERY rewarding. We walked in at 8:30 without reservations. There were plenty of open tables, but the hostess asked us to wait a moment before seating us. I was worried that she was checking to see if the kitchen was about to close. In any case, she returned quickly and seated us. The room is lovely. Despite hard surfaces and open ceiling, it was quiet though that may not be the case when the room is full. The tables were nicely spaced and the banquettes so comfy I could have fallen asleep. The lighting is low and overall, the decor subtle. I would describe the place as soothing. Relaxing isn't my forte, and I relaxed quickly in this room. Aided, I might add, by a "Rocktini" composed of Ketel 1 Citroen, Cointreau, lime, and cranberry juice. My friend had a pomegranate martini. Equally wonderful.

I almost never eat bread, but hunger won out and I thoroughly enjoyed the light whole wheat bread with the nice crust. The hummus was terrific, with bright lemony overtones, but not too lemony.

I had the pan-seared diver scallops with quinoa and a citrus sauce, with peas and carrots. The three large scallops were flavorful and firm, nicely seared with a bit of brown, crusty char on the edges. A little column of toasted quinoa in the center of the scallops tasted great and added nice texture to the dish (and gave me an excuse to scoop up the delightful citrus sauce). The peas and carrots added color and a nice, fresh flavor.

My friend had the ricotta and basil ravioli which were fantastic. The tomato sauce was assertive, but somehow didn't overwhelm the delicate flavors of the ravioli filling. This dish is a winner, too.

For dessert, we shared the roasted pineapple with saffron sauce and vanilla yoghurt. Heavenly. Just perfect. I detected a tiny bit of heat in the sauce and the waitress checked with the kitchen. The sauce is simmered with some peppercorns and that gives it the barely detectable bit of zip that transforms this dish into something extraordinary.

The service was spot on.

All this for $70 - terrific value.

I am not doing justice to this place and the great food. It was fantastic and I highly recommend it. I am sorry I never tried it before but I am sure I will be back.


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The Mazza location soldiers onward towards its opening. I missed their blurb back in February, but apparently the new location's menu is getting a working over from none other than Ris Lacoste. Last week, Robert Kacher was seen conducting a wine tasting for the new list, so it'll be interesting to see just how much more they can do just over the DC border.

Keep us updated! I had a nice dinner at the RC in Bethesda, but work in Friendship Heights. Would love a new lunch spot nearby.

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Heard through the grapevine:

There will be mock service going on tonight and tomorrow (half price off the check for lunch and dinner) call 966-ROCK for reservations. And report back. ;)

Hi, Everyone. Rock Creek at Mazza is indeed open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, small plates all afternoon, and brunch on Sunday (beginning in September). Come see our gorgeous tree and enjoy the delicious food prepared by Chef Ethan McKee, formerly Chef de Cuisine at Equinox. Ris Lacoste is in the house as our corporate chef, working with both Chef McKee and Chef Pryzberowski in Bethesda.

Don't forget Restaurant Week at our Bethesda location next week (July 22-29).

We look forward to seeing you all!

Judith Hammerschmidt and Tom Williams, Owners

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had a very good Bethesda Rest. Week dinner at their bethesda location.

we were seated at a table in teh bar area which was a small strike against them. plus, the bartender was our server. i was already getting skeptical- being close to the noisy bar and having a waiter who had to run back to pour drinks every 3 minutes. yet somehow he managed to always be right there when we needed him.

There were out of Pisco sours so I had a pomegranate martini which was great.

started with heirloom tomato salad with housemade mozzarella. it was good if not spectacular. a good size portion of both yellow and red tomatoes, a balsamic vinagrette on top and a nice piece of creamy mozzarella.

the lobster corn chowder that another person had was wonderful. creamy without being heavy.

for entrees we had


Aromatic Quinoa, English Peas, Pernod, Citrus-Lobster Sauce



Wheatberry Pilaf, Roasted Garlic Spinach, Sherry Mushroom Sauce

both were wonderful- the scallops perfectly cooked and the citrus-lobster sauce not overwhelming. the peas were delicious- perfectly cooked.

The veal was a perfect medium and the roasted garlic spinach was not too garlicky, as is often a problem. both my friend and i had clean plates at the end.

I love the fact that they list all the nutritional info in the back of the menu. Granted, it might go out the window for dessert, but at least you have a sense as to how good 'healthy' food can be. Not once did I think "well, it IS healthy." It was just delicious.

I had the blackberry creme brulee for dessert which was excellent. My wife had the chocolate cake which our waiter said uses 1 cup of flour for every 40 cakes, so it's practically flourless. both were very nice- not the greatest creme brulee ever, but I love blackberries so I'm always willing to try a blackberry dessert.

The hummus that arrives with the bread was so good we actually bought pints to take home- now this, unlike the garlic spinach, was very garlicky but great. About $6. I'm not sure the soft multi-grain bread is the best accompaniment for hummus, but without it we would've been eating it by the spoonful. :angry:

I wish we'd been seated in the main dining room, but with 4 full tables, it's clear they use the bar as a 2nd dining area.

overall a very very good meal for rest. week prices which probably saved us a few dollars off the ala carte prices.

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Boyfriend and I visited Rock Creek at Mazza Gallerie last Friday night, and overall, it was a pleasant experience. It took about 15 minutes for someone to greet our table, and the service was a bit pushy and rushed at first, but things seemed to smooth out once we ordered wine (I was pleased to see a Seghesio zin on the by-the-glass list) and an appetizer, which was a pan-seared soft-shell crab. It was tasty enough that I forgot it wasn't deep-fried! The "veggie medley" and hummus/eggplant spread that came to the table were both nice additions, and the wheat bread was warm and hearty.

For entrees, we opted for a tuna (it was supposed to be salmon, but I was pleased with the substitution) with black bean and corn salsa and a beef striploin with potatoes and vegetables. Both of the meats were cooked perfectly (rare), and the accompaniments were appropriate. I didn't feel like the portion sizes suffered due to the health-conscious nature of the menu, though I did notice a (pleasant) difference in my post-dinner "fullness factor"--I was quite satisfied, but I didn't feel stuffed or bloated. Fresh fruit and white peach sorbet was a perfect dessert--sweet, but light and refreshing.

Since my boyfriend and I are on a low-fat diet (our goal is no more than 15 grams per meal), we spent a good deal of time checking out the nutritional information section of the menu. While the kitchen does a good job of offering lower calorie meals, the fat contents of some of the selections were still surprisingly high. I might suggest to the creative minds in the kitchen that they ponder other options in that regard.

With one appetizer, two entrees, one dessert, 5 alcoholic beverages, 1 coffee, tax, and tip, the damage was $170. Not too bad for a Friday night out, and you could definitely do it cheaper (we should have ordered a bottle of wine instead of glasses, but we were indecisive about what we wanted). All told, it was a nice dinner--we'll be back.

Interesting note: When I asked about Chef Lacoste and the kitchen and its inspirations, our server didn't seem too enthusiastic. He actually suggested that the Bethesda location was superior in its food, and that the chef there (I'm blanking on his name) was doing more innovative and interesting things to create delicious, healthy fare. Perhaps I'll try the original location next time.

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Yesterday, 4 of us went to lunch at the Mazza location. The space is really nice in the main room with the huge windows letting in lots of light and the tables circling the pretty and large (yet artificial) tree in the center. The nutritional info listed in the menu started to turn off the ladies (I say this because myself and my brother just ignored it :blink: ), but when I reminded them that the calories and fat in a typical nice restaurant was 2x-4x the amount, they happily ordered and enjoyed their meals.

I thought the meal was a slam dunk. Everyone enjoyed their meal, but I'll only write here about what I tasted myself. The hearty wheat bread with the eggplant spread, which had a nice olive undertone, was great. My wife and I shared the butternut squash soup which was very flavorful but thin due to the lack of cream usually found in this type of soup. The cream wasn't missed by us though and the tartness of the julienned granny smith apples slivers added depth to the taste. For entrees, I had the Bison burger and my wife had the yellowfin tuna salad. The bison burger was simply wonderful - very juicy with sweetness from the carmelized onions balanced by savory/spicy horseradish/dijon mustard sauce. It is a smaller mini-looking burger but managed to fill us both up without leaving us stuffed. The burger also comes with a good-sized side salad of lightly oiled greens and a couple of pickle slices. The tuna salad was a pretty big portion - 6 think squared of seared tuna that was crusted with something I couldn't place (looked like coconut, but tasted different) on a big bed of what is essentially a gussied up Caesar salad complete with anchovies and some radishes to be different. The tuna was very good too. Service was very friendly, not rushed, and thoughtful - asking if I needed my parking ticket validated after I completely forgot to ask them. I'd recommend this for a nice lunch. I did see the prices for dinner are more expensive and that the Bethesda location, not that far away, is less expensive too - so not sure if it is an ideal dinner spot. Also, while I thought the portions were spot on, people who like huge portions might be disappointed.

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I had high hopes for dinner at the Bethesda location, but they went mostly unmet this evening. We had originally intended to visit the Mazza location, but it's still RW in DC and so no reservations were available that would fit our schedule, plus for the duration of RW they're serving an abridged menu, so we elected to try Bethesda instead. Perhaps more was lost in the trade-off than we'd imagined.

A nori crusted tuna carpaccio was dominated by the generic seaweed salad mound atop it, both visually and taste-wise. The chilled shrimp cocktail was at least credible, but honestly, how hard is it to do a shrimp cocktail?

Mains were merely okay. It wasn't just that the seasoning level was healthfully low, but each dish seemed to suffer from a sort of lack-of-completion. The grilled filet mignon wasn't the thick cylinder one normally expects, but more of a "chop" thickness, and this unfortunately magnified the fact that it came out a solid medium instead of the specified medium-rare. Flavor was okay, and it was still pretty tender, but Ray's has nothing to worry about. By contrast the optional jumbo lump crabcake appeared to be well-formed and nicely fried, but the chunks of lump backfin meat were mealy and lacked sweetness. That fresh muscular texture is absolutely crucial if you're going to take the lump route in a crabcake, and these didn't have it. A grilled pork tenderloin was nicely cooked to medium-rare, but the quinoa mysteriously lacked nuttiness, as if it hadn't been toasted enough before adding liquid. I did like the shiitake broccolini with it...very well prepared. Again, pan seared diver scallops were quite good, with a nice bit of browning on the ends, and the accompanying chard was also good, but the winter root vegetable puree was a firm mesa of bland starch in the center of the plate that benefitted greatly from a dash of salt.

It's best to go out on a high note, and luckily the ginger cake with ice cream and bourbon crème Anglaise was dark and rich with spice.

Service on our visit was so-so. The hostess, runners and bussers were actually quite good, but our server never managed to quite convey a sense of welcomeness, nor confidence that her recommendations might actually be well-founded. Also, a few of our items, mainly several coffees with dessert, never arrived. The gentleman lording over the hostess at the front expressed concern over the missing items (luckily they didn't make it on to our check either) but never quite managed to project a welcoming demeanor either on our arrival (5 mins early for the reservation) nor our departure. Strange. Both of them would have seemed more at home in a Silver Diner, or perhaps an IHOP, I thought. The food wasn't actually bad, but between the unevenness and the off-putting service, perhaps Bethesda isn't the equal of its Mazza sibling.

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I went to Rock Creek at Mazza Gallerie. We had a good time. The wine was decent - I had a Cotes Du Rhone.

We chose the pre-fix for $35: Bibb Salad, Sweet Pea Ravioli and a couple desserts. The pineapple cake was the most memorable.

My friend had the Yukon Gold Potato Gnocchi with Bacon, Seared Scallops, and Banana Ice Cream.

Delicious! Remind me to leave my house more often on rainy days...

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The other week I had dinner upstairs at Liberty Tavern, a restaurant I enjoy very much. At one point, the server came over to our table - a four-top against the wall - and despite being only three feet away, began talking in a raised voice. It wasn't quite shouting, but it was close. And it certainly wasn't her fault; Liberty Tavern is one of the noisiest restaurants in town: It's a given that the downstairs bar area sounds like a rock concert, but the upstairs dining room is ridiculously loud, too.

But there's no sense in singling out a restaurant for this widespread, negative trend. The problem lies with the new wave of restaurants who are going for a "clean, modern look and bustling atmosphere." Translation: They're too cheap to buy and maintain tablecloths and carpeting.

The Mazza Galerie Rock Creek is one of the more handsome dining rooms in the city, with the tables spaced comfortably apart, booths lining the wall, pressed linens on the table, and carpeting on the floor. Not surprisingly, it's frequented by a wealthier, more mature crowd, but unlike some restaurants with an older clientele, Rock Creek has a vibrant buzz and hums with restrained energy. Yes, I even like the big, fake tree, which looks remarkably real.

We all know Rock Creek doesn't use much (any?) butter or cream, but neither does Tony Conte at The Oval Room. Ethan McKee is producing dishes that are healthy, yes, but also filling enough where I'm skeptical that some don't contain over 500 calories. Have an appetizer and an entree at Rock Creek, and you'll leave more than satisfied - you'll be full, but not greasy-full.

I really enjoyed the Pan-Seared Scallops ($12.00) with a mash of quinoa, pickled peppers, and cucumber, which were perfectly seared with the scallop meat barely touched by the heat. Likewise the Ratatouille Tart ($9.00) which came with arugula, pesto, roasted portobello, and some Reggiano. The tart itself was very much like a matzo, and the ratatouille inside was finely diced and not as long-cooked as tradition would dictate, but this all worked very well together.

The Herb-Roasted Chicken Breast ($19) was much larger than the one I had the other evening at Food Matters, but really paled in comparison. There was so much naked breast meat that I felt like I was staring at a light bulb, and trying to allocate the precious little crisped skin throughout the dish was an exercise in frustration. The succotash with oven-dried tomatoes and tarragon sauce helped some, and this dish was certainly decent, but I'd like to see a much smaller breast, perhaps accompanied by a touch of thigh.

I didn't mention the good bread, accompanied with a delicious eggplant puree, and a fine amuse-gueule of corn chowder. The food was all good-to-excellent, and lived up to my relatively high expectations on this evening; I wish I could say the same thing about the service. "Shall I start you off with a bottle of sparkling water, or a bottle of still water?" was the first question from the server, voiced in a way that implied those were the only two options. Then, she recited a list of specials without mentioning the prices. When I asked, it turns out both appetizers were at the upper-end of the spectrum, and the entree (a bison dish) was $8.00 more expensive than anything else on the menu. Finally when it came time to order, I was indecisive about my entree. "You should get the bison," she said, with an extra dollar of tip in her eyes. Various other observations lead me to believe that this restaurant needs stronger floor leadership from management.

But overall this was a very good dinner, and Rock Creek remains one of my favorite restaurants in the area having more than one location.



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Closed completely? When I last heard, they were still open for private events.

That's ironic to hear. When I was in Tenleytown for work a few years ago, we tried to stop by for lunch on three separate occassions over our two year project there and every single time it was closed for a private event. Shame on us for not calling after being rebuffed more than once, but I found it crazy that we could never get there for lunch after all of those tries.

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Closed completely? When I last heard, they were still open for private events.

You're probably more accurate, even if the original news dates back to October 2009. The Bethesda magazine section was a small box that listed recent restaurant closings, and at the end of the list it the writer threw in that Rock Creek had closed at the end of 2009. There probably wasn't the article space or the writer's interest in sharing the distinction of being open for the general dining public and just being open for events; most readers of that column would care about them being open for lunches and dinners.

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Looking for a place near the hotel where relatives were staying, we tried Rock Creek. Starters: Roasted Baby Beet salad tastily showcased the earthy flavors of the beets. Maryland Crab Soup had a proper amount of crab and nicely balanced the crab and vegetable flavors. The only quibble was a bit too much salt for our tastes. Roasted Eggplant was an interesting deconstruction of the classic with small pieces of rolled and filled eggplant appearing next to its tomato sauce and a smear of arugula pesto and out of context - yet welcomed and tasty - micro green salad. For me, the tomato sauce was the weak component, tasting oversalted and not complementing the eggplant. Also, the $14 tab seemed to warrant more than 4 small (think size of your finger) slices of eggplant. Main courses: Diver Scallops was a standout, with a generous portion of sweet, well cooked scallops and garnishes having flavors that combined well with the scallops. Slow Cooked Organic Salmon was made properly, tasted good, and had a nice sized portion of salmon, but was a bit on the ordinary side. A less generous plate was the Herbed Farfalle, which had luscious ingredients that combined for great flavor, but didn't have enough of the main ingredient -- farfalle! An $18 pasta entree with not enough pasta just befuddled me, especially in comparison with the scallop and salmon portions -- much more costly ingredients than a couple more ounces of pasta and sauce.

Overall, we liked our meal and appreciated the healthy preparations of Rock Creek;s kitchen, along with the having the nutritional breakdowns available. That's accountability! The ambiance was comfortable, noise level was not too bad, and service was very attentive. The menu is rather modest in number of items, with on one special, an appetizer, being offered that evening, although we had no problem finding items we wanted to try.

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Well ... we'll see. This is Rockville (actually Kensington) we're talking about. For some reason, you can't keep people away from P.F. Chang's China BStro or the FatCake Factory.

No, I'm not exactly a fan. To put it politely. :-)

According to the post office, it's actually North Bethesda. ; )

Only a short drive to Joe's Noodle House and A&J which I think will continue to be more popular than Seasons 52 when it finally opens.

FWIW - Exterior work on the project is basically complete and they are moving on to the interior build outs. I, for one, am more excited about having the new Whole Paycheck and LA Fitness within walking distance of my office than the restaurants that are coming.

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Seasons 52 opens in the spring on the Rockville Pike across from White Flint and also at Tysons Corner center. It will take over as the single most popular restaurant in both areas. An ambitious statement but Darden's formula has worked well everywhere they have opened. I should also note that the original on Sand Lake road in Orlando is still enormously popular. http://www.seasons52.com/NRO/default.asp

Hooray for Tysons....but which is the single most popular restaurant that it will take over for at Tysons? I can't think of one that's still open....?

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Closing on New Year's Eve and keeping their name (via GoG):

Rock Creek opened in March 2005; its sister restaurant, Rock Creek at Mazza Gallerie, closed in October 2009. The Bethesda location will host its last dinner on New Year's Eve. The $50, reservation-only farewell will hold true to the restaurant's concept of "mindful" (read: healthful) cuisine. Rock Creek's original chef and mastermind behind the good-for-you concept, Fred Przyborowski, will return to cook on the last night.

I'm sorry to see them close although I went to the Mazza location more often.

Any update on Seasons 52?

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Closing on New Year's Eve and keeping their name via GoG:

Funny - this story came out on another media outlet earlier this week and the new owner has already offered the new owners of Brickskellar a chance to discuss their taking over the "Rock Creek" name. I wonder who's right?

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Myself and two colleagues/friends decided to dine together last evening before going our separate ways for the holidays. I mentioned Rock Creek as a possibility, and after strolling around the area near the Bethesda metro, we ended up there. I pointed out that this establishment would not be around after New Years. Another consideration was that we could converse without yelling, which would have been a problem in some of the other places in the area, especially for me since my hearing is starting to punish me for all those years in rock bands in another life.

We were asked if we had reservations, which we did not, but it was not a problem. As we dined, the room filled up, so I feel fortunate to have been seated immediately without a problem.

The dining room was very welcoming on a cold evening, and while my companions expressed some concern for me due to the very warm temperature of the room (they know that I meltdown when the temps go above say, 50), the waiter assured me he would adjust things, and soon enough, the room lost it's initial stuffiness, and we stopped worrying that I would have an uncomfortable experience.

After ordering a glass of wine (petit syrah for me, sorry, can't remember the vintner), all of us decided on the Ahi Tuna special (recommended medium rare, but one of us chose it to be medium. I did not detect much difference in the appearance of her tuna steak).

I chose the Maryland Crab soup for my appetizer, while my friends each had the spinach salad. I received a substantial bowl of soup, with just enough spice to warm my insides without spreading to my outside, and enough finely diced veggies to dissipate any feelings of guilt I may have had for not choosing a salad.

Our entrees consisted of a nice thick tuna steak placed on a bed of Israeli couscous which was strewn with a few stalks of broccolini and a thinly sliced, intensly flavored mushroom (porcini?). The juices from the tuna permeated the couscous with a savory goodness that we all enjoyed. I found the broccolini a bit tough, and probably shouldn't have eaten it, as it reminded me of it's existence for the remainder of the evening. But the dish was so delicious that this was a minor quibble.

The hearty bread was very nice, and I was relieved that it was not the tough tiles crammed with "granola" that some restaurants feature (and that my ex-inlaws always had on their table).

We were satiated, and declined the offer of dessert. It was a lovely meal with grand company, and I was complimented for suggesting it as an option. I'm sorry this was the last chance to enjoy it.

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