Friday, July 29, 2011





Another Earth, a film which has tremendous hype and buzz after its debut at prestigious, international film festivals, is opening today at Landmark Bethesda Row Cinema.

Star and screenwriter Brit Marling is a native of this area, and a graduate of Georgetown University.

This thought-provoking film about two alternate Earths, and the dilemma of which of two lives to choose, is expected to pick up a number of Oscar nominations. So instead of trying to catch up the week before the Academy Awards - and considering that your Netflix price will probably be more than the first-run ticket price by then(!!) - why not make plans to catch this one on opening night?

Get your tickets here, before they're gone!

Make a date night of it by dining at one of the great restaurants around Bethesda Row, such as:

Mon Ami Gabi (right by the theatre!)

Raku (best sushi in Bethesda)


Mussel Bar

American Tap Room

Newton's Table


Uncle Julio's



...just to name a few!

In between the restaurant and the theatre is dessert: ice cream at the brand-new Haagen-Dazs!
The Bethesda Row Cinema snack bar is not just the basic movie fare, so there's plenty on the menu if you're hungry at the movie.

Of course, if art-house movies aren't your speed, you can head over to the corner of Auburn and Norfolk Avenues at 9pm for the original Rocky, FREE on the outdoor screen. Bethesda Outdoor Movies! But if you think you've escaped art-house cinema, you may have forgotten that Rocky was an Academy Award winner, too! And had one of the most unpredictable endings in movie history. A real American cinema classic, or a new one that may be considered so in the future - alternate movies, alternate worlds - your choice tonight in downtown Bethesda.

"Until next time, the balcony is closed."

Landmark Bethesda Row Cinema

7235 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814

Thursday, July 28, 2011








Shark Week starts Sunday. But you can start celebrating today at California Tortilla right here in downtown Bethesda!

Buy a Fish Taco today, and you will receive a FREE Discovery Channel Shark Fin Hat!!!

But wait, there's more! Now, of course, you wouldn't just throw away a great collectible hat like this, would you? So, wear your Shark Fin Hat to California Tortilla next Wednesday, August 3, and you will receive a FREE TACO with ANY purchase!!!

But wait, there's still more! If you can take a photo of Washington National Roger Bernadina eating a Fish Taco, and email it to by next Wednesday, August 3, you will win FREE burritos for a year!

California Tortilla, 4862 Cordell Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814

(301) 654-8226; Open Daily 11am-9pm

Wednesday, July 27, 2011





Plan your day in Bethesda with - Around 11:30 AM today, the Go Fish Truck will make an encore appearance in downtown Bethesda, on Wisconsin Avenue near the Montgomery County Farm Women's Market. Aboard the truck will be Capital Crab Cake, Colossal Crab Roll, Crawfish Salad Sandwich, Spiced Shrimp Caesar, Ceviche and more!

After 5 PM, head to the lobby of the Hyatt Regency at Bethesda Metro Center, where you can receive a FREE glass of wine as part of their Welcome Wednesdays reception!

Have dinner at Morton's in the Hyatt, or at any other nearby restaurant, then walk or take the free Bethesda Circulator bus over to Auburn and Norfolk Avenues, where tonight's outdoor movie will be Bye Bye Birdie, starring Dick Van Dyke. The movie starts at 9 PM!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011





Another Exclusive!!!

Finally, Bethesda has a real Circulator bus. The Bethesda Circulator, in operation for the last several years, provides free transportation around downtown Bethesda. Park once, and leave your car behind. You can easily travel between "New" Bethesda (Bethesda Row) and "Old Town" Bethesda without expending any expensive gas.

Now the Circulator fleet has a worthy successor to the old trolley Circulator, and is more like the Circulators found in downtown Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.

Check it out in live action on its very first night in service in this EXCLUSIVE video!

No more "prom limo" buses (well, some of those were still circulating around town last night) without clear markings to welcome newcomers to board at the many stops around the downtown.

Check here for the latest map and timetables:

Monday, July 25, 2011




This week is the seventh annual outdoor movie festival sponsored by the Bethesda Urban Partnership at the corner of Auburn and Norfolk Avenues. Movies begin at 9:00 PM - bring a chair. You can dine at many of the nearby restaurants such as The Parva, Yamas Grill, Freddy's Lobsters and Clams, Bold Bite, etc., before the movie.

Here is the lineup of films:

TUESDAY - The Breakfast Club

WEDNESDAY - Bye Bye Birdie

THURSDAY - The King's Speech

FRIDAY - Rocky

SATURDAY - The Social Network

Enjoy this FREE outdoor entertainment, and there's another outdoor movie festival coming up at Bethesda Row, as well!

Friday, July 22, 2011





...and Fiesta Hour


Another Exclusive!!!

The Parva had opened too recently to be part of the "official" published listings for Bethesda-Chevy Chase Restaurant Week. But they've generously offered their own Restaurant Week Specials for your enjoyment and savings!

25% off of your meal total!


50% off Parva Cocktails!!

That not only matches or beats the restaurant week prices elsewhere in town, but you also get to order anything you want off of the menu and still get the savings! No prix fixe here!

Hurry over to The Parva for lunch or dinner today, and here are the schedules and offers for their Happy Hours - which they are calling Fiesta Hour:

At the bar, Fiesta Hour runs from 3:30 PM - 7:30 PM Monday-Saturday.

In the upstairs, Miami-inspired Lounge, Fiesta Hour is 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM Thursday-Saturday.

Fiesta Hour offers:

50% off select appetizers!


50% off Parva Cocktails!

So the fiesta will continue even after Restaurant Week ends!

You can see the upstairs lounge in this exclusive video:

Call ahead for reservations: 301-312-6488
7904 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda





The Sub-Urban Bros. sandwich truck is scheduled to be near the intersection of Wisconsin and Woodmont Avenues from approximately 11:00 am - 1:30 pm.

Get ready to order by examining their menu here:

You can also keep track of their specific time and location using the Twitter feed to the right of their menu on that same page.

I hope they have plenty of cool drinks; it is going to be extremely hot outside at that hour today!

Thursday, July 21, 2011




Another Exclusive!!!

Bold Bite Dogs & Fries is open at 4901-B Fairmont Avenue in downtown Bethesda. Last Saturday night, I stopped by to try a hot dog. They have special late hours until 2am on Friday and Saturday nights, which is very convenient for people who are out at the various nightspots around that part of town.

I have an exclusive video of my visit:

My first impression was that they have made good use of the space, formerly occupied by Ben & Jerry's. As you can see in the video, everything is clean and gleaming. The customer service is very good. When you first come in, there is one person who can answer all of your questions about the menu, how to order, etc. Then you move down to the left side of the counter and place your order.

The advice is helpful for the first-timer, as there are many options for your hot dog or sausage, fries and meal size.

You can order hot dogs "Built by Us," such as The Bold, The Bold BLT, The DC (a half-smoke chili dog - no more having to go into DC for those!), The New York and The Chicago.

Or build one yourself, by choosing the 100% organic Applegate beef hot dog, a half-smoke or Vienna Beef hot dog. Then choose a bun: steamed, steamed poppy seed, or "buttered and griddled" or even choose a French baguette instead.

You could top it with mustard and ketchup, or fancier sauces like Chesapeake (described as a spiced mayonnaise), house aioli or arugula pesto.

And those are the sort of ingredients that reflect the fact that this is not your typical street vendor hot dog cart. Everything is very high quality, from the hot dogs to what you add to them. You can also try the restaurant-quality salads and ice cream cookie sandwiches.

Despite the upscale food, you can still get free refills of your soda!

I'm a hot dog fanatic, so I've been looking forward to the opening of Bold Bite for some time. With the dozens of options and thousands of combinations available on the menu, though, I had to stick to my patented hot dog test: order the basic hot dog with ketchup and mustard. That way, the hot dog can't hide behind other flavors.

So I asked for the basic Applegate beef hot dog (although with the high quality, you really can't call anything on the menu "basic," other than the classic ketchup and mustard I ordered as toppings). The owners themselves, originally from Venezuela and veterans of top area restaurants, are in the restaurant. My order was ready fast, and it was also great to see Bold Bite's emphasis on cleanliness and food safety, from the gloves used by the chefs, to the separate hot and cold compartments behind the counter to keep everything going into your meal at the right temperature.

Finally, I tried the hot dog. It rated 5 stars (*****) for me. Fresh bun, and everything I like in a basic hot dog. My favorite store brand or ballpark hot dog is Esskay, and the Applegate beef dog has those same characteristics. Namely, plenty of real beef flavor, unlike some that aren't 100% beef. Spice that doesn't overwhelm or mask the beef. And tender, which is another reason Esskay is my gold standard. I'm not a really fan of Nathan's, for example, which tends to have that tougher casing, and too much garlic or onion or whatever the flavoring is.

So I didn't know what to expect, but this Bold Bite hot dog seemed like it was designed with people like me in mind.

Now there's a place right here in Bethesda where I can go and get a great hot dog any day of the week. No need to go out to Target or Camden Yards.

But I'm also looking forward to trying the many other hot dogs and sausages, as quite a number simply haven't been available in the DC area before. Usually I think of Mexican chorizo, but Bold Bite has an Argentine chorizo. The Merguez is a lamb and beef sausage. So stay tuned for future updates as I try others.

I also have to mention that you can get Old Bay seasoning on your Fries! And if you're concerned about artificial flavors or preservatives, the menu has a hot dog Smiley Face next to all items that are 100% organic and all-natural.

Which reminds me that another aspect of the restaurant that jumps out is the very creative and effective branding. You can see a lot of that in the video inside the restaurant. The logos and fonts are very high quality, the bags have a nice design, and there's a sense of humor also: the little sticker that seals your takeout box says, "Bite Me."

Help yourself to another branded item, very cool Bold Bite buttons in a variety of designs displayed in a candy jar as you go out the door. Pick up a very helpful takeout menu to plan your next visit. I hope to visit again myself very soon.

A great launch for Bold Bite, and a lot of potential at this location, where Blackfinn and its crowds are not only next door, but JBG has just announced plans to construct a building across Fairmont Avenue. That and The Monty on St. Elmo will be the initial catalysts for the transformation of "Old Town" Bethesda into something more like Bethesda Row. And Veterans Park is right there, as well. So this part of town is a really good long-term investment for anybody at this point.

Whether you've been searching for a classic, high-quality hot dog in Bethesda, or just never imagined you could order one with a White Truffle Whip on top, Bold Bite is the place to go!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011




Another Exclusive!!!

One of Bethesda's few dining weak spots is a lack of Caribbean restaurants. However, you can find some Caribbean foods around town, and I've already done the work for you!

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Union Jack's (St. Elmo Ave.): Jerk Chicken sandwich
The Barking Dog (Elm St.): Jerk Chicken Wings
Nest Cafe (Bethesda Ave.): Jerk Chicken
California Tortilla (4862 Cordell Ave.): Jerk Chicken Burrito
American Tap Room (@Bethesda Row): Jerk Chicken Spring Rolls


Tommy Joe's (4714 Montgomery Lane): Cuban sandwich
BGR (4827 Fairmont Ave.): Cuban burger "sandwich"
Mussel Bar (Woodmont Ave., next to ATR): Cuban panini





Another Exclusive!!!

Bethesda's art scene takes an impressive leap forward tonight as Salar Galería de Arte at Artery Plaza (7200 Wisconsin Ave.) opens its ARTbeat exhibit with a VIP reception from 7-9pm.

This is the Salar's first exhibit. The artists are Felix Angel of Colombia, Scarlett Hooft of Amsterdam, John Fitzgerald of New York, and Gaston Ugalde and Sonia Falcone of Bolivia.

Is it too late to get a ticket to the reception? You can try 301-357-0580 and ask, but you can also call that same number to find out the hours of the exhibit while it is in town from tonight until August 18.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011





The Go Fish Truck will be in downtown Bethesda for lunch today around the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Woodmont Avenue.

They are bringing their Capital Crab Cake, Colossal Crab Roll, Crawfish Salad Sandwich, Spiced Shrimp Caesar, Ceviche, and - Today's Special - Grilled Yellowfin Tuna Salad, with spiced rare tuna, romaine, carrots, cucumber, scallions, wasabi peas, and cucumber-wasabi dressing.

First the Lobster Truck, then Curbside Cupcakes... now the Go Fish Truck.

Food trucks are finding that Bethesda is a lucrative lunch spot. This is great news, and we can expect more of the trucks we've been hearing about - or have ordered from - in downtown Washington to stop here often!

Monday, July 18, 2011




Another Exclusive!!!

I just uploaded some video from the July 8 tasting at The Parva. Enjoy exclusive footage of the event, and get an idea of what it was like even if you could not attend.

Watch the video here on the Robert Dyer Channel:

For pics from the evening, check my photos page at

Sunday, July 17, 2011




Mon Ami Gabi at Bethesda Row is giving away a FREE scoop of ice cream today, in honor of National Ice Cream Day!

This is also Bastille Week at Mon Ami Gabi, so make sure to try the limited-time Tomato and Brie sandwich for lunch, and equally-limited, fresh Arctic Char for dinner through July 20!

Saturday, July 16, 2011




The Parva Restaurant is ending its Grand Opening Week in Bethesda with the introduction of new Lunch hours. Starting today at noon, The Parva will be open and offering a Lunch menu. Previously the restaurant had opened at 3, but now it will open at 12pm Tuesday-Saturday.

Don't forget, the 3 kinds of bread that Chef Andy bakes in-house every day are the same fresh breads that are used in the restaurant's sandwiches.

The Parva Restaurant and Lounge, 7904 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda


As I mentioned earlier this week, I spoke at a public hearing regarding the Montrose Parkway East extension on Wednesday. I argued for the construction of the original Rockville Freeway along the Rockville Facility (a 50 year-old highway right-of-way running from Falls Road to the ICC near Indian Spring Country Club) instead of the proposed Parkway. The Parkway cannot handle the traffic load that will be generated by the White Flint development currently underway. The proposed Parkway East also diverts from the Rockville Facility short of Veirs Mill Road, and dead-ends onto that road at Parkland. This, of course, defeats the purpose of the original freeway, which was to carry 6-8 lanes of traffic to all destinations between Rockville and the ICC. It was to have cloverleaf interchanges at Veirs Mill, Connecticut Avenue (the ramp stubs are already there waiting for the Freeway - check it out yourself sometime, if you don't believe me!), Georgia Avenue, etc.

In short, I suggested that if money is not available to build the freeway to the ICC, the county should at least build to Veirs Mill, and construct the interchange there. We would then be on track to extend the highway to Connecticut Avenue in the coming years.

The Gazette covered this important story, and quoted me in the article.

The Rockville Freeway has implications far beyond Rockville, White Flint and Aspen Hill. Traffic generated by White Flint, Rockville's massive new Rockville Pike plan and BRAC here in Bethesda will grind Wisconsin Avenue to a halt if we don't build the Rockville Freeway.

That's why I encourage you to contact your county councilmember (Roger Berliner, if you live in Bethesda) and ask him or her to support building the Rockville Freeway. With more construction on the way in Bethesda, our quality of life and public safety depend upon adequate road capacity.

Friday, July 15, 2011




Bethesda Restaurant Week is only 4 days away. Bethesda Restaurant Week runs from Monday, July 18 to July 24. This is a chance to enjoy full lunches for only $12-15, and dinners for only $25 at some of Bethesda's best restaurants!

If you are serious about fine food, draw up your plan to hit the restaurants you want most to take full advantage of Restaurant Week. But in these tough times, you don't have to be a gourmet to benefit from low prices!

To help plan your dining adventures in Bethesda, here is the full list, with some comments where appropriate:

American Tap Room
7278 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda
(301) 656-1366
Lunch $12 & Dinner $30

Assagi Mozarella Bar
4838 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda
(301) 951-1988
Lunch $12 & Dinner $30

Bezu Restaurant
9812 Falls Rd., #G, Potomac
(301) 299-3000
Lunch $15 & Dinner $30

Brasserie Monte Carlo
7929 Norfolk Ave., Bethesda
(301) 656-9225
Lunch $15 & Dinner $30

The Capital Grille
5310 Western Ave., Chevy Chase
(301) 718-7812
Lunch $15 & Dinner $30

Cesco Trattoria
4871 Cordell Ave., Bethesda
(301) 654-8333
Dinner $30

Chef Tony's
4926 St. Elmo Ave., Bethesda
(301) 654-3737
Lunch $12 & Dinner $30
(Chef Tony is a seafood specialist)

Divino Lounge & Restaurant
7345-B Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda
(240) 497-0300
Lunch $ 12 & Dinner $30
(Argentine cuisine!)

Food, Wine & Co.
7272 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda
(301) 652-8008
Lunch $12 & Dinner $30

Freddy's Lobster & Clams
4867 Cordell Ave., Bethesda
(240) 743-4257
Lunch $15

Geppetto Restaurant
10257 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda
(301) 493-9230
Lunch $12 & Dinner $30

4865 Cordell Ave., Bethesda
(301) 986-9592
Dinner $30

Guardado's Restaurant
4918 Del Ray Ave., Bethesda
(301) 986-4920
Lunch $12 & Dinner $30
(Former chef at Jaleo; rare place to serve pupusas in Bethesda)

The Irish Inn at Glen Echo
6119 Tulane Ave., Glen Echo
(301) 229-6600
Lunch $15 & Dinner $30

7271 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda
(301) 913-0003
Lunch $15 & Dinner $30
(Chef Jose Andres - what more do you need to know?)

La Ferme
7101 Brookville Rd., Chevy Chase
(301) 986-5255
Lunch $15 & Dinner $30

Lebanese Taverna
7141 Arlington Rd., Bethesda
(301) 951-8681
Lunch $12 & Dinner $30

Le Vieux Logis
7925 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda
(301) 652-6816
Dinner $29

4435 Willard Ave., Chevy Chase
(240) 223-5427
Lunch $15 & Dinner $30

Mon Ami Gabi
7239 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda
(301) 654-1234
Lunch $15 & Dinner $30

Newton's Table
4917 Elm St., Bethesda
(301) 718-0550
Lunch $15 & Dinner $30

Oakville Grill & Wine Bar
10257 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda
(301) 897-9100
Lunch $15 & Dinner $30

Old Angler's Inn
10801 MacArthur Blvd., Potomac
(301) 365-2425
Lunch $12 & Dinner $30

Passage to India
4931Cordell Ave., Bethesda
(301) 656-3373
Dinner $30

Persimmon Restaurant
7003 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda
(301) 654-9860
Lunch $15 & Dinner $30

7240 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda
(301) 718-8680
Dinner $30
(The best sushi in downtown Bethesda in my informal poll)

Redwood Restaurant
7121 Bethesda Ln., Bethesda
(301) 656-5515
Lunch $15 & Dinner $30

8401 Connecticut Ave., Chevy Chase
(301) 652-8684
Lunch $15 & Dinner $30

Tragara Ristorante
4935 Cordell Ave., Bethesda
(301) 951-4935
Lunch $12 & Dinner $30
(Some insider info here: the chef is formerly of the prestigious Rive Gauche in downtown Washington)

Also, if you're coming from outside of Bethesda, don't forget to try the just-opened, new restaurants which are too new to be part of restaurant week, such as:

The Parva
7904 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda

Bold Bite
4901 Fairmont Avenue, Bethesda
(301) 951-2653

Happy dining!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Parva Grand Opening Week continues in Bethesda! More exclusive photos from the soft opening and tasting last Friday:

Montrose Parkway Extension has

No Bang for the Big Bucks

Another Exclusive!!!

Imagine having a syringe containing the cure for cancer. And choosing not to use it or share it with the world.

The traffic equivalent is Montgomery County's decision to abandon the Rockville Freeway about 20 years ago. Originally part of a circumferential right-of-way for the Outer Beltway, it became a proposed freeway connecting Falls Road with the new Outer Beltway alignment (now know as the ICC) near Indian Spring Country Club. Then-County Executive Sid Kramer admitted that the Rockville Freeway would reduce traffic and travel times. But killed the road anyway.

Fortunately, we still have the right of way. For now! Part of it has been developed as the Montrose Parkway. This also involved the creation of a grade-separated interchange at 355 and Montrose Road/Randolph Road. As you know if you drive that stretch of 355, the elimination of the traffic signal there has cut travel time by at least 5 minutes. This was perhaps the most effective congestion relief project completed by the MCDOT in county history, and they should be commended for all of the work and long years that went into that controversial project.

Now we are at a major turning point.

The necessary course of action is to build the Rockville Freeway as originally planned from Montrose Road all the way out to the ICC. We can only begin to absorb the level of traffic the new White Flint sector plan (a.k.a. Carmageddon East) will generate if we have the Rockville Freeway. This would be a grade-separated, 6-8 lane freeway.

Assuming our leaders lack the political will to build the Rockville Freeway, a poor man's compensation prize would be to at least make the same Montrose-ICC connection with the Rockville Freeway, Jr: a.k.a., the 4-lane Montrose Parkway.

Instead, the county is, at the behest of past county councils, building the Montrose Parkway only to Veirs Mill Road. But wait, it gets worse. Before it hits Veirs Mill, the parkway will now suddenly veer from the long-established Master Plan right-of-way and come through what is currently Gaynor Road. Not only does this waste the costly right-of-way we already had, it is unfair to the homeowners who will lose their homes, because this alignment was not in the Master Plan.

Furthermore, dead-ending at Veirs Mill defeats the whole purpose of the Rockville Freeway corridor. It was never meant for "355-Veirs Mill" travel. Rather, it was designed to give highway access to 270, Potomac, Aspen Hill, and - via the ICC - points beyond such as Briggs Chaney Road, Burtonsville and Columbia.

Now all it will do is duplicate Twinbrook Parkway, Edmonston and Randolph, while dumping regional traffic into the Aspen Hill area. From there, drivers will try to get to the destinations I just referred to above. Which makes this Montrose Parkway alignment a waste of the taxpayer's money.

Yesterday, I was one of 3 citizens who testified at a public hearing on Montrose Parkway East in Rockville. I made the above points, and above all, emphasized the need to preserve the Rockville Freeway right-of-way, and that we will have to build that connection sooner or later. Hearing examiner Mike Subin did say that the possibility remains, but the comments of the MCDOT staff do not make it sound like that will happen anytime soon.

But with the White Flint projects quickly moving through the Planning Board, we'll need the Rockville Freeway sooner than many realize.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011




Head to the lobby of the Hyatt Bethesda after 5 today, where they are having their weekly "Welcome Wednesday." This reception includes a complimentary glass of wine! Where else in town can you get that? (Nowhere!) Even if you're headed for points north on the Metro Red Line, it might just be worth making a stop at the Bethesda Metro Center - the hotel is right at the station exit plaza.



Where will you celebrate this day of honor for the All-American side item and snack? Some of the best fries in the world are being served up today in Bethesda.

America's Favorite Fries! Still the best, and available at 2 locations in Bethesda: East-West Highway at Pearl St. and River Road.

If you want to take the name literally, the best place to find literal "French" fries (or, frites) would be at Mon Ami Gabi on Bethesda Row (Woodmont Avenue).

Belgian? Mussel Bar.

British? Well, if you're at Union Jack's for the big game at lunch today, they've got "chips" for you.

Do they have to be an unusual recipe? Blackfinn Bethesda has Truffle Fries.

Want to "build your own" fries? Meaning, choose your size and the sauce and toppings of your choice? Head to the brand-new, just-opened-Monday Bold Bite on Fairmont Avenue, next to Blackfinn!

It's hard to find a bad french fry, so walk a few yards in any direction in Bethesda today, and you're sure to find a place to celebrate National French Fry Day.





Union Jack's Bethesda on St. Elmo Avenue will be showing the USA vs. France game on all of the giant screens - with audio - starting at 11:30am.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Another Exclusive!!!

South Beach has arrived at 7904 Woodmont Avenue in downtown Bethesda. The Parva, a new restaurant, bar, lounge and event space, held its Grand Opening this past Saturday evening. The night before, they held an invitation-only soft opening and tasting. I made sure to bring back plenty of photos and video for you, so you can have a rare chance to see all of the dishes served by the restaurant as they will be served to you. Even the professional restaurant critics can't show you the whole menu of a restaurant, so I hope this will be of help to you in making your dining choices. You can see the photos (more to come) here:

The first thing you will notice at The Parva - after the helpful valets park your car for you - is the Miami-inspired decor inside and out. Whether you've traveled to Miami, or just know it from the way Hollywood and TV have presented it, you're sure to feel at home. The white color scheme is accented by subtle colored lighting, artworks and sleek furniture. Friday night's event was held in the upstairs lounge. You can notice the work that went into converting this space from the previous tenant, and I would certainly recommend it for your next party, event, wedding, reception or rehearsal dinner. Especially if you like a Latin theme, but with a specific Miami accent, there is really no other place in the area like this.

Now it's all well and good to have a stylish interior, but what about the food? After this tasting, I can tell you that it is just as outstanding. The restaurant has succeeded in the ownership's stated goal, which is to provide a totally new concept which you can find nowhere else in the DC region.

First, start with the drinks. The Parva cocktails include the Parva Mojito, Brazilian Caipirinha, Peruvian Pisco Sour, and - another specialty - a white sangria which is very good, but I forgot to get a picture of it. One of many generous touches this evening was the open bar that lasted all night.

The Parva is a Latin fusion restaurant. Of course, the phrase "Latin fusion" is used quite often by restaurants. Could The Parva really bring something new to this concept? Yes, they have, and it starts with the chef himself, Andrés García (or Chef Andy, as he prefers to be called).

It would have been easy to play it safe, and hire a solid, experienced chef who had been number two or three at a well-known restaurant in the area. The ownership of The Parva, led by Juan Carlos Balcazar, took a different approach - and a risk - and brought a talented chef from South America. They took a chance, and it has paid off.

The first indication that The Parva has something special going on was when the appetizers began to emerge from the downstairs kitchen in a carefully-orchestrated show. You'll get a sense of what that was like when I upload some of the video. Each dish not only sounded creative in its description, but what really jumped out was the artistic platings. Whoever this chef was, he must have put decades of work into learning his craft, one thought. And then the samples came around and the food lived up to the promise of the concept.

Imagine everyone's surprise after sampling all of these dishes when, at the end of the evening, Juan Carlos Balcazar announced that the chef was only 25 years old! There was something of an audible gasp around the room, and then Chef Andy himself emerged from the staircase to take a bow and receive the applause his work that evening had earned.

It's pretty clear that, while many fantastic restaurants are opening this summer and fall in Bethesda, we have a rising star of a chef here in our town at The Parva, and the word is going to get around. You may be seeing this guy on Top Chef some day. It's simply hitting the ball out of the park to add a new talent like García to the impressive roster of famous, experienced chefs we have like Jose Andrés, Robert Wiedmaier and Yannick Cam.

So stop in now before it gets hard to make a reservation.

Chef Andy's story, as told by Balcazar during the evening, is a dramatic and compelling one. Balcazar told of García's journey all over Latin America. Collecting unique ingredients and recipes in Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Panama and Peru - to name a few! - his quest culminated in the creation of new dishes that fit perfectly with The Parva's new concept. The words that came up often during the evening were "fresh," "healthy," and the fact that this or that item is something you can only find at The Parva. Friday night's tasting allowed those in attendance to vicariously recreate Chef Andy's journey across Latin America over a few hours' time. Sure, you've had gazpacho before. But have you had a fresh gazpacho from Peru - where gazpacho originated - served Peruvian-style as a refreshing beverage?

Fresh is the operative word, and those ingredients - whether they be seafood, meat or produce - are flown in fresh from Latin America. García bakes 3 kinds of bread daily, and that is used for sandwiches as well as a bread basket. As someone who has studied Latin American history - and who loves everything about Latin America - I felt the authenticity of atmosphere and recipes was captured at The Parva Friday night. But then the chef takes that familiar authenticity and transforms it with completely new ideas, using all fresh ingredients.

The highlights of the menu that stood out for me were the shrimp appetizer, meal-size ceviches, the Argentine-style steak (hard to find in Bethesda), and a generous portion of a classic tres leches cake. How about a fresh watermelon and basil salad with goat cheese and blue cheese? I haven't encountered that before.

There was even a celebrity guest in the house, from the local Univision affiliate. She interviewed the owners and Chef Andy after the event ended, and a cameraman captured the evening on film. So don't be surprised if you see me on Channel 14.

The Parva is a great addition to Bethesda, and brings an impressive new chef to town - something to brag about to your friends in other cities. In Colombia, parva means "the best of the best." After trying Chef Andy's creations, you may think it is a fitting name for this new restaurant in "Old Town" Bethesda.

The even greater news is that The Parva reopens at 3pm today, and will be serving dinner until 11pm tonight!

Hours: Tuesday-Thursday: 3-11pm (dinner), 3-12am (bar); Friday-Saturday 3-11pm (dinner), 3-2am (bar).

Stay tuned for more photos and video from this special event!

Monday, July 11, 2011




Another Exclusive!!!

Last Friday evening, I attended the soft opening and tasting at The Parva on Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda. Their grand opening was the next day, and they will open again tomorrow (Tuesday) at 3pm.

For those who were unable to attend, don't worry, I've brought back plenty of photos and videos for you. You can see the first set of photos right now:

Video will be coming soon, as well as my complete report right here on the blog. Follow The Parva opening week - and everything thing else happening this week in Bethesda - here at and on Twitter at @BethesdaRow!