Friday night the kids were busy with their various activities — Clare to the mall with a friend and Andrew had a Rugby game, so Dean and I took the opportunity to go out to dinner.
We’d gotten our latest (last?) Bethesda Magazine in the mail a few days before and read a couple reviews of local restaurants. Visions was mentioned, as was Dean’s favorite restaurant — Black’s Bar & Kitchen (formerly Black’s). The magazine also held a $10 off coupon that could be used at a number of restaurants in the area during May. We looked at the list and decided to go with a restaurant we’d not eaten at before, Trattoria Sorrento. Besides we were both in the mood for Italian.
We were given a choice of sitting in a light and lively area of the restaurant or a darker and more formal area. We chose the lighter area mostly because the host told us there was a party of 40 or so expected in the formal dining room.
We immediately felt at home in the restaurant. It was obvious the folks sitting just behind our table were either part of the family or good friends of the owners. Another couple dining near us seemed to be either regulars or good friends of our waiter because of the familiarity they exhibited towards one another.
The waiter was very friendly — not in an over-the-top and fake way, but just down-home family friendly. He told us about the specials, took our drink order after explaining that the woman sitting behind us was Sunday’s entertainment. On Sundays the restaurant hosts Opera Night and the guests are treated to an opera singer or two while they dine. We’re not opera fans, but I’m sure the folks who are enjoy the performance.
For dinner I chose sea bass which was prepared with a kind of puttenesca sauce. I don’t recall the actual name of the dish. Dean ordered veal ravioli. Prior to our entrées we shared a Caesar salad which was good. Nothing special, just a normal Caesar salad.
My entrée was delicious. The sauce was perfect — not too salty. The fish was very good, mild and flaky, but not dried out. My only complaint was a fishy taste once, that might just have been some skin. Unfortunately it ruined the rest of the meal and I gave my dinner to Dean, but I’d actually eaten enough by then.
Dean’s dish, according to him — I don’t eat veal — was not so good. He thought the filling was too salty and the dough on the ravioli overcooked. He ate most of it, but left three small ravioli — unusual for him. He was content to finish my fish, though — so my fishy tasting bite was a good deal for him.
We shared a bottle of Meridian Pinot Noir. It was fine, and priced pretty good at $26.
We’ll probably return to Trattoria Sorrento at some time, but probably not soon. We’ve got a lot of other restaurants to try in Bethesda, and even feeling a part of the family isn’t enough pull for an unsatisfactory dinner.
After dinner we went to McGrillis Gardens for a walk at dusk. The rhododendrons were in bloom as well as a bush* with snowball shaped flowers. As we neared the back fence Dean claimed to hear spring peepers on the other side of the fence, near the newly built McMansions and after disagreeing with him at first, I finally conceded that he was right.
I heard my first Rufous-sided Towhee of the year (FOY in birding jargon). At least I thought that is what I heard, but it turned out to be an Eastern Towhee. See, some silly bird committee decided to re-name this bird from an interesting and descriptive sounding moniker to a boring and nondescript one.
All-in-all, it was a pleasant evening. It’s nice to get out once in a while. Of course I could eat out several times a week, but with college looming we need to be a little more frugal. Eating in Bethesda — heck, just living in Bethesda, is not inexpensive. Having a free and open area to wander around in after dinner is a treat that we don’t take advantage of often enough.
*speaking of Bush, his sister lives around there somewhere…according to AARP Magazine and my Aunt Ginny’s Internet sleuthing.