Brickside Food and Drink - much more than bar fare!
I never really think of Bethesda as a dining destination and almost never venture out there. But just away from the main Bethesda downtown is Brickside Food and Drink - a sports bar with upscale refined food that had me wondering why I didn’t make the visit earlier!
Chef Matthew Smith has come in and elevated Brickside to a place where “the sport fan and foodie intersect”. Chef Smith, who has previously worked at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant in Las Vegas, in Italy as the sous chef at critically acclaimed CarneVino, and then moved back to his native Maryland to oversee the kitchen at Baltimore’s Salt Tavern, has really raised the bar on the food at Brickside. I really don’t want to call it “bar food” since it’s so much more than that!
There are large screens and TV’s as expected in a sports bar, but also lots of refined details – black and white photos in cozy booths and exposed brick, a prohibition theme, stuff you’d find in hot new restaurants! It was lively, but not super loud, although I can see it being really popular on weekend nights.
The drink menu includes the requisite extensive list of local and craft beers, wines and cocktails, but also some really fun and inventive additions. There’s an entire section devoted to crushes and punches. YAAAAS! The creamsicle crush was a favorite at the table, and I enjoyed the Pimm’s punch – with Pimm’s, vodka, oranges, strawberries and sprite.
We kicked off with some bar bites. The first was a series of wild mushroom crostini, a smoked salmon crostini, Brussels sprouts served with golden raisins and almonds, and super delicious empanadas! While they were all delicious, my absolutely favorite was the pig and pickles, which is a standout! The house cured maple glazed bacon is unbelievably tender and the glaze is delicious. We were literally fighting to grab the last bite! Given the time and effort investment it takes to make this dish (days!), this is a prime example of the chef’s commitment to delivering quality food.
The high standards stay on the larger format plates too. The pasta with pork belly ragout and kale is delicious (and hey, the kale balances out the pork belly, right?) and the portions are huge! But I loved the shrimp and grits too – it will make you do a double take on where you really are!
But please, save room for dessert and try one of the house made ice creams. The day I went, we tried the strawberry, chocolate, and the apricot sorbet all of which were tasty, but the strawberry was incredibly flavorful!
Brickside is a solid spot to grab drinks with friends, watch a game, or just a casual start to a night out, when you also want good food alongside. It would be great for groups, families and the "sports fan -foodie" type :)
Check out their website HERE.