Looking for something new for your lunch or dinner routine? The Bethesda Row area has had a series of new openings over the past few months. Three new spots for quick-casual style fare have debuted, and each offers a unique option which just may become a new go-to depending on what type of eater you are.
For the Sandwich Lover And/or Snacker: 100 Montaditos – 4922 Elm St.
100 Montaditos took about a year to open after its initial announcement, but has been worth the wait. The menu consists of, well, 100 different “montaditos”, which are small Spanish sandwiches, each one costing between $1 and $2.50.
The extensive mini-sandwich menu offers a huge range of ingredients and ingredient combinations, with core options including Spanish tortillas, chorizo, cheeses such as Manchego, mozzarella and brie, Serrano Ham, turkey, and much more, with sandwiches served on one of four specialty housemade breads.
Visit on a Wednesday night and all montaditos are just $1 each with beers, wine and sangria available for just $2. Easy to mix and match and see what you prefer – think about 3 per person to start with – and a good value.
For the Sweet Tooth And/or Chocolate Fiend: Max Brenner – 7263 Woodmont Ave.
Max Brenner, where you’ll find “chocolate from the bald man”, is certainly the most unique and specialized of the bunch. Everything here is chocolate. But it’s not chocolates in a box, chocolate. It’s chocolate fondue towers. Chocolate pizzas. Waffles. Crepes. Hot chocolate. Even “choctails”, luscious milkshakes in more than half a dozen flavors, and the “chocolate syringe”, literally a large chocolate-filled plastic syringe offering quick delivery to feed your addiction. And yes, you can buy stuff in a box to take home with you, too.
When you need chocolate, with no regrets, no excuses, and no imitations or limitations, Max Brenner must be your first stop. While it seems to be a popular first date spot and teen hangout, it’s open until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, where surely a different chocolate-craving crowd emerges, either from the nearby bars, or smoky basements scattered across the surrounding area.
For the Meal in a Box And/or Asian Flavor Craver: ShopHouse – 4820 Bethesda Ave.
ShopHouse is perhaps the best place in town to get sit-down restaurant quality at to-go, casual prices. Drawing on Southeast Asian flavors from several countries, ShopHouse is a make your own bowl, quick-service destination. It’s quite similar in that regard (even in its decor and layout) to Cava Mezze Grill, which is right next door, although with a completely different flavor profile.
You can choose either brown or white rice, salad, or rice noodles as your base, and then start piling on your protein, including grilled chicken satay, pork and chicken meatballs, grilled steak laab, or tofu, a huge spectrum toppings and add-ons, and one of three sauces, green curry, spicy red curry or tamarind vinaigrette. Authentic, deep flavors which will both leave you satisfied, and wanting more, too.
So which of these new spots is your favorite dining destination in Bethesda? Share your thoughts or any other favorites in the comments below.
Jake Emen is a freelance writer based in Bethesda, Maryland, with experience covering local news stories, events , and food and drink, for a number of online publications. You can follow Jake on Twitter @DCJake.