A few weeks ago, I had lunch with my friend Lee at Redwood Restaurant in downtown Bethesda and have to rave about the butternut squash soup. If you've never ventured out here, I highly recommend it. The area has been gussied up with with high end boutiques, reliable brands (Le Crueset, Blue Mercury, Apple, among others), and fantastic eateries ranging from quick-dining restaurants to a gelato shop. Along Bethesda Lane -- a courtyard saddled by an apartment building -- also sits Redwood Restaurant, which is owned by Jared Rager, who also started Mendicino Grille, Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar, and Blue Ridge.
I've dined at Redwood a handful of times since it opened and always wish I had more time to spend there. Redwood promises fresh, organic, locally grown ingredients. But in addition to the delicious food, the space is open, peaceful, and warm, and conducive to lingering with good wine. Whenever I've shown up there for dinner, it's packed. The large bar area is filled with people who I am guessing wanted a table but were happy to settle for a small space to get a bite to eat.
The restaurant also has a bar area tucked away behind a wall where people can eat on a first-come, first served basis. Eric and I have eaten in this area several times and I have to say, it's really nice. Romantic even.
During my lunch with Lee, I started with the butternut squash soup. I got a cup, which was a mistake. I should have ordered a bowl, a few slices of bread, and called it a day. The soup was not too thick and was topped with truffle butter (swoon) and chives. And -- are you ready? -- beautiful, gorgeous, delicious chestnuts. I loved each bite into each chestnut. I've eaten a lot of things in my life that were chestnut flavored or eaten food with ground chestnut, but never an actual chestnut. I know: it's crazy. But now, I'm sold: whole chestnuts.
And had I not had a pile of work waiting for me after lunch, I would have had a glass of red wine with my meal. Alas, work.
Gastronomic Goal No. 1 for 2011: Make time to linger at Redwood.