Shops at Wildwood
10223 Old Georgetown Rd.
Bethesda, MD 20814
Wildwood shopping center is a strip mall at the corner of Old Georgetown and Democracy in Bethesda. I go there once in a while when I'm trying to source a particular ingredient or quality of ingredient that only Balducci's carries locally. It is home to Oakville Wine Bar, where you can always get a quality piece of fish and glass of wine or some good pizza at Geppetto. There is also a Starbucks and a few other places, but I don't go there often.
There is a small restaurant down towards the end of the strip though, that might entice me to make the journey more frequent. It's Wildwood Kitchen.
If you live in the DC Metro, or the east coast of the U.S., you've probably heard of the owner. Robert Weidmaier. He owns several concepts, most notably Marcel's in DC and Mussel Bars scattered about the area. Marcel's is a favorite of the critics and is fine-dining while Mussel Bar is casual place to have some great mussels and exotic beer. Brasserie Beck is also under his umbrella and has seen some great chefs come through it's doors.
All that being said, Wildwood Kitchen is a neighborhood joint that happens to have some terrific food being put out by Matt Newland, Chef de Cuisine.
Let's get on to dinner though,
I'm never one to turn down a good smoky rye drink with a big ice cube, this one was called the Smoking Rye Boulevard and had Campari and cherry. This version was good without being smashed with smoke. That happens sometimes...not sure if it's what's being used to create the smoke or the length of time it's in there, but this one was good.
The bread is torn, brushed with olive oil and mildly singed. It's a perfect format for dipping in the sauces and soups to follow.
Speaking of soups, the potato soup with goat cheese was the soup of the day. One of the nicest I've ever tried.
Duck Rillettes were nicely done. Tender and flavorful with a good bumpy mustard on the side.
I'd like to get Chef Matt's recipe for his confit...if he'd give it up. Literally the best texture I've ever had in a confit.
I had the hanger steak. It was topped with a compound butter and served atop a puree of parsnips. The veg rocked.
The finale was a grapefruit with sabayon and meringue morsels with some grapefruit sorbet if memory serves me correctly. It was light, citrusy, and a great way to end dinner.
This restaurant is a true neighborhood gem. If you go, make sure you get your reservations at least a week or two out if you prefer prime-dining hours. It's a small place. Go with friends and enjoy. You won't be disappointed.