Had dinner last night at Black's Restaurant in Bethesda and thought that I would pass along a few thoughts. We really liked the atmosphere - casual and comfortable. We had a small table along the divider by the bar, so we were able to store our wine bottle and menus on it and had plenty of room.
My wife started out with oysters on the half-shell and really liked them. She did 1/2 dozen Chesapeake Bay and two Rhode Island oysters that were the special (just to compare). She always comes back to good old Chesapeake oysters as her favorite.
I started with a bay shrimp and tomato bisque that was outstanding. It was served with a chorizo and fried onion relish that set it off nicely. Maybe a tad too salty for some, but it may have just been the sausage. We then split a house salad, which they were kind enough to double plate for us.
Wifey did the crispy-skinned rockfish special. The poblano relish was almost too spicy for her, but peanut butter is too spicy for her taste - I thought it relatively mild. She really liked the presentation and the fish other than the spice issue and managed to down it all other than a little relish. I had the Atlantic flounder encrusted with pototoes and horseradish. it was served on a beet reduction with garlic mashed potatoes. It was not over the top but quite good. We finished with a frozen toffee cake and a latte and coffee. This was all accompanied by a Simi Russian River Reserve Chard ($40.00).
The totally bill was $120.00, this after being compted the dessert. Out waitress noticed that I had about five bones in my flounder. A memeber of the staff came over and apologized and offered free desserts because of the bones, a really nice touch. The service was extremely friendly and competent from our waitress to the servers to the bussers. We will be returning most definately. Certainly not as many choices as McCormick, but a more casual atmosphere. For a moderate night out with easy parking next door and a very well-trained staff, give Black's a shot.