It took almost exactly a year since I first began looking forward to it in October 2012, but the Bethesda, Maryland location of international chain 100 Montaditos has finally opened.
The quick-casual restaurant and bar (pronounce it in Spanish for extra points, as in, “cien montaditos”) is located in the former Green Papaya space, and serves Spanish montaditos – mini bread bites and sandwiches.
The montaditos are broken down into four main different categories – can you guess how many are available on the menu? – ranging in cost from $1 to $2.50, depending on how many, or what types, of ingredients are used.
In the huge, all-encompassing selection you’ll find feature ingredients such as Spanish tortillas, Serrano Ham, Philly steak, chorizo, ham, grilled chicken, meatballs, turkey, tuna, and cheeses ranging from mozzarella to brie to Manchego.
With 100 choices, it means there’s multiple variations of core ingredients, building off a base. For example, chorizo with olive oil; chorizo with tomato and olive oil; chorizo with aioli and Spanish tortilla, chorizo with Manchego and tomato, etc.
Each of the montaditos here is served on a mini roll or baguette, with three different varieties of bread, and all of the restaurant’s bread is baked fresh and imported from Spain.
There’s also a small collection of dessert style montaditos made from sweet ingredients and their chocolate bread. Other menu choices include regular French fries, as well as Brava Potatoes – zesty, seasoned fries with a spicy dipping sauce, several salads, and a few platters, including the Spanish Gourmet platter of meats and cheeses.
The space inside 100 Montaditos certainly looks the part. You may walk in and imagine yourself in a century-old, family-run restaurant in Madrid, with its deep red walls packed tightly with photo frames, white tiling and a large white marble-top bar.
Diners can simply find their own spot to sit, including a mix of short and tall tables with stools, and the bar. To order, a little notepad is provided where you can mark down your montaditos by number, and any other additions you may want. Starting with three to four per person is a pretty good bet.
If choosing between all 100 of their montaditos is simply too stressful for you, you can select to order one of their samplers, each of which includes six montaditos and costs $8 — the meat-lovers sampler, vegetarian, or favorites.
Several beers are available on tap, a small selection of wine is available, and several house sangrias are also served.
Each Wednesday, all montaditos, appetizers and soft drinks will be available just for $1 each, and beers, wine and sangria will be available for $2.
After an initial visit, the Spanish taste and flavor combinations which I love, and eagerly waited for, were mostly on point , although a busy night thanks to their grand opening specials bogged down service. It will be interesting to see how the restaurant develops over the coming months.
They’re within earshot of José Andrés’ Jaleo, of course, not to mention the rest of the bustling Bethesda dining scene. Will patrons come for the Spanish flavors, the cheap prices, the novelty, or what else, and which type of crowd will become the norm?
100 Montaditos is located on 4922 Elm St, around the corner from Bethesda Row. Find more information online at 100Montaditos.com.