#64 - Black's Bar & Kitchen, Bethesda, MD

Emily and I have been friends for a long time.  We met when she was a student working at the football office at Maryland.  We became fast friends, and did all kinds of fun stuff together over the years.  She helps to run the NFL summer youth camps across the country, but it has always worked out that she's in town for at least a couple days of my trips to Maryland.  This trip was no different. 

We decided to do a Sunday Funday brunch in Bethesda.  Emily suggested Black's Bar and Kitchen and said the food is amazing and they have great mimosas.  It's pricey, but the mimosas are unlimited, they have a big raw bar, and it is Bethesda.  Nothing is cheap there. 

Black's is right in the heart of the Bethesda "social scene", with a good-sized patio out front, a bar and bar seating on the left and the main dining room on the right.  We first went to seat ourselves in the bar area, but I didn't like any of the open tables. So we were seated in the main dining room. 

They do offer a la carte brunch menu items, but why do that when you can gorge on the buffet?  The brunch buffet is huge and varied.  We started with the raw bar, filling up on oysters, shrimp cocktail, shrimp salad, smoked salmon, as well as cured meats, breads and cheeses.  I tried a piece of this thing that looked like a sardine that Emily said is really good for you.  One bite was more than enough for me to disagree. I cant' remember exactly what it's called, but that's okay because I'm never ordering it.

The good thing about the raw bar is that it's really hard to get full from it.  After a couple plates of the raw, we moved to the hot food, where we filled up with bacon, potato hash, prime rib, cheese grits, and salad.   And after we'd had our fill of the hot food, we got a couple of the desserts to try.

I didn't take a picture of the other plates, but all of the food was excellent.  With the first plate of each the cold and hot food I took a little of everything, and went back for more of what I really liked. I had one piece of bread and a little cheese. I was tempted to get more, but didn't want to get filled up on that. Of course I only eat oysters on the East Coast.  I kind of went overboard on them, but I had no idea when I would get them again so I wasn't ashamed. The shrimp salad was delicious and had lots of flavor, and the shrimp cocktail were huge.  I'm not normally a fan of smoked salmon, but it was really good.  The cheese grits were fantastic, and I went back and got another helping. The prime rib was cooked perfectly.  By the time we were at dessert we were pretty full so we just tried a couple of items. I really like that all the desserts are bite sized, so you can try different things and just get a taste of each. 

In between all the plates of food we of course had mimosas.  Since they were included, why not take advantage?  The Champagne Sangria (peach schnapps, simple syrup, OJ, fresh fruit) was okay, but didn't really have much of a kick.  The Bellini (white peach nectar & champagne) was pretty good.  The Pointsettia (cranberry juice & champagne) was okay.  The Kir Royale (Crème De Casis & champagne) was my absolute favorite.  I don't know what Crème de Casis is, but I like it. 

After lots of food and mimosas, we were stuffed.  And very happy. 

Will I go back?  I think that's a yes!  I could definitely do another brunch there, and I'm sure it's a good place for happy hour too.