Restaurant Week!

Every summer I think I’m going to miss the food in Tokyo, and every summer I am pleasantly surprised by something in the U.S.  This week is restaurant week in the Bethesda/Chevy Chase area of Maryland, which is essentially suburban Washington D.C.  For this special week, a group of restaurants in one area create menus for crazy prices.  Two course lunches are $15 and three course dinners are $30.  (The restaurants agree on the pricing and set their menus accordingly.)

Today, Marc took me out to a great French restaurant called La Ferme. (Here’s the review from Washingtonian)  Located in the gorgeous village of Chevy Chase, it is set in a copse of trees and resembles what I think of as a French farmhouse.  There’s even a romantic, outdoor verandah which looks quite romantic for a cooler, non-heat-wave day. We sat at a lovely table for two which sported high-backed wooden chairs with arms, making us feel settled and comfortable.

For the set menus, we could choose two courses, either appetizer and main course or main course and dessert.  We both chose the former.  Marc had scallops in a puff pastry to start, and I had beefsteak tomatoes with arugula, pine nuts, and goat cheese.  The tomatoes were crisp, yet ripe and sweet and only lightly drizzled with a balsamic reduction.  The varying flavors of the cheese, nuts and tangy leaves made for a delightful layering of tastes.

For our main courses, Marc chose a cajun-spiced tilapia that was light and flavorful without being overly spicy.  I had chicken breast in a apple brandy and mushrooms, which was juicy, cooked to perfection.

In case you don’t know, in Maryland, if you don’t finish your bottle of wine, the restaurant has to cork it for you and let you take it out.  We ordered a delightful bottle of white wine from a vineyard called Sancerre, which has never disappointed us.  It was slightly nutty, and a perfect pairing for our meals.  I only had a little bit, and Marc had one glass, so we took the remainder home so we can have more of it later.

The atmosphere of the restaurant is simply charming.  They have two tiny balconies above the main floor that each host a table for two and the waiter told us that many a marriage proposal has happened up there.  There are huge urns of fresh flowers strategically placed around the huge room, and every inch of it is beautifully green or white.

Restaurant week is a brilliant idea because now, when I am asked where I’d like to go to eat in the DC metro area, I will respond with this restaurant, and I will pay full price after this low-price introduction.  The atmosphere, service, and of course, the food, are all tremendous and worth much more than the small amount we paid.