I have a new favorite Contemporary American restaurant in Bethesda, and it's called David Craig. Amy and I visited David Craig Restaurant in Bethesda last Sunday and everything was excellent so let me tell you about our meal.
I'd say that Sunday is the ideal time to go to David Craig, at least based on our experience there. The restaurant wasn't too crowded when we arrived at 8 PM and the atmosphere was calm and relaxing. About three other tables were full. We were seated in the back where there's a window that allows diners to see the kitchen and watch the cooks prepare the food. I tried not to stare.
Our server told us that the menu that night was new and it was the first time for the kitchen preparing the food. We would never have known unless we were told. My first dish was a simple but artfully prepared Caesar salad that was topped with a whole fresh anchovy (about the size of a sardine). There was nothing revolutionary in this salad considering it cost $11, but it still tasted great. I purposely didn't order the oyster stew because that's what everyone else has written about, but when I go back, I really want to order the arugula salad which just sounds incredible.
The second best dish of the night had to be the tuna carpacio (at least that's what I call it). Take thinly sliced tuna, combine it with Japanese mustard greens (also known as mizuna), a wild mushroom salad (I spied trumpet mushrooms), and top with a red wine vinaigrette and a little wasabi, and you have yourself quite a little appetizer.
I love a good pasta dish(which like all the pastas is available in a double portion as an entree), and the hand-cut fettuccine with a slightly creamy and cheesy meat and mushroom sauce was just heavenly -- the best dish of the night by far and probably one of the best pasta dishes I've had in a while. I'd call the sauce a ragu, except I don't think there was any tomatoes in it. I was supposed to share this dish with Amy, but somehow I only managed to let her have a single bite.
The lobster, fava bean, and sun dried tomato Vialone risotto that Amy had was interesting -- not drop-dead incredible, but interesting. When I first tried it, I thought the texture of the rice was odd, and not quite that of a risotto that I was used to, but that was only because of my own ignorance. Once I returned home, I Googled "Vialone" and found out that "Vialone Nano" rice is another type of risotto rice that is a longer grain rice than Arborio. Unlike Amy, who's unable to contain herself if it's on the menu, I'm not a lobster lover, and not surprisingly, I thought the texture of the lobster was odd, but Amy thought it was perfect.
While we waited for our entrees to come out, I looked jealously at a gigantic whole roasted Loup de Mar as one of the servers brought it to one of the tables near us.
"Jesus, I wish you would look at me like that once in a while," Amy said.
"Sorry. Sometimes I just can't control myself," I replied smugly.
My entree was exquisite -- I can't remember when I've eaten better braised veal cheeks. The texture of the meat was perfect, not too dry and not too moist. I've had veal cheeks that were overly moist and almost undercooked, or overcooked and dry. These were neither. Amy's beef tenderloin would have been pretty average if it wasn't for the creamy Gorgonzola flan, an atypical twist on the usual blue cheese topping.
Our server was very unobtrusive. At one point after we'd finished out entrees, the waiter started to come over to clear our plates and ask us how everything was, but Amy and I were in the middle of a conversation so he turned around and went back in the kitchen. He was also very knowledgeable about wine, aware that the wine maker from vineyard that produces the wine we ordered (Savannah-Chanelle Vineyard), had been to the restaurant recently. Hmm, the wine maker's name happens to be Tony Craig...I wonder if there's a connection??
I wasn't crazy about the chocolate bread pudding what we had for dessert, but I'm very picky about bread pudding (perhaps I should just stop ordering it). While the ice cream that came on the side was a wonderfully sweet and creamy accompaniment, that bread pudding was kind of crumbly.
Our bill came to about $200 before tip -- a little expensive, but considering that we had three courses each, shared a dessert, and drank a fairly expensive bottle of wine, and coffees, I think it was a pretty decent deal considering the quality of food we ate. I'm definitely planning on returning to try the other dishes on the menu.
4924 St. Elmo Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20814
Dress Code: Business Casual
Parking: Street: Street Parking and Bethesda Parking garages.
Smoking: Not Allowed.
Closest Metro: A short walk from the Bethesda metro.
friendly rating: 2 Diapers mainly because Amy noticed that they have child seats. Otherwise, I'd be very hesitant to bring Noah here because the atmosphere is quiet and therefore not baby friendly.