Friday, June 6, 2014

Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club Food Review

Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella Salad

"I went to a Rolling Stones concert, and all I got was this lousy $40 t-shirt." Not exactly my idea of fun. Thankfully that's not what you get, when you visit the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club which hosted Satisfactionthe Rolling Stones tribute band last night (read review here.) Dinner and a show usually means two different venues; but Rick Brown proves it's possible to do both under the same roof, and do it well.

The show was great; but this review is all about the dishes (three in total) with a soda on the side. It began with a gorgeous plate of Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella Salad for $11. The tomatoes are tri-color with little balls of mozzarella, incredibly fresh leaves of basil and a tasty balsamic vinegar glaze. It's not traditional in terms of appearance; but the familiar flavors are spot-on, and still provide the perfect marriage of food. The green tomatoes were especially delicious.

Sweet Potato Coconut Shrimp

Rather than opt for one of their pricier entrees, I decided to order a salad and an appetizer. In this case, a delicious quintet of crispy coconut shrimp over a bed of sweet potato strings and sweet remoulade. They're not quite on the same level as Outback Steakhouse, but the Sweet Potato Coconut Shrimp ($11) is both filling and delicious. The shrimp are big, but could use additional salt or zest. I'd also like to see more remoulade... a lot more. It's rich-tasting, but there's almost none of it (certainly not enough to dip all five shrimp.) Overall, a strong B (if you're grading at home.)

Poached Pears

Dinner is served in front of and all around/through the theater. I especially like the counter-style seating on the sides. Black leather placemats are both the perfect size and smart-looking. The staff is attentive, and water is refilled frequently. Owner Rick Brown is the perfect host, charming and refreshingly unassuming. He speaks with pride and enthusiasm, and instantly makes you feel at home. Bethesda Blues & Jazz is not your average supper club... not by a long shot.

Desserts are served during the performance, hence the poor quality photography above (no flash.) Thankfully, it looked (and tasted) a lot better in person. It's not much (two small pear halves, coconut sherbet, syrup and mint) but it provides just the right amount of decadence and sweetness to wrap up a meal (and for less than a tenner!) The menu changes frequently (I'm still anxiously awaiting the return of chicken wings) and while it remains familiar, it clearly benefits from the many upgrades made by Brown and his team (especially in the kitchen.) Click here to see the current full menu, and click here to see the schedule of events. You don't find this kind of value for your buck in Bethesda very often. Welcome to the neighborhood.