The first restaurant review covers one of the WMA’s best: the Black Market Bistro in Garrett Park, MD. Tucked away in a beautiful neighborhood behind the Strathmore music center in North Bethesda, the Black Market Bistro provides a perfect setting for either a weekend dinner as the sun begins to set or a Sunday morning brunch as the sun begins to shine at its fullest. Amanda and I were lucky enough to have the opportunity to experience both dinner and brunch (never mind that it was in the same weekend… hold your judgment), and we highly recommend both. However, if you have to choose, go with brunch – it’s tough to beat.
What makes this place so special is its picturesque setting. The bistro resides in a charming, Victorian style building that formerly served as a home, post office, and general store (all three at the same time for a number of years) tucked away beneath the trees of Garrett Park. The sun finds its way through the trees in big beams and hits – what I would call – a quintessential southern-style porch that makes you want to sit in a rocking chair and never get up… except to get more food. To top it all off, the building is located next to a still-operational cargo rail line, so if you’re lucky, a train will ride through and provide a nostalgic, “Choo, choo!”
While this alone makes for a unique experience and a worthy-enough reason to visit, the Black Market Bistro staff creates a truly friendly environment and couples it with top-of-the-line service. Wine and drinks are also served at a very fair price point, so you can have one of your fuller experiences without leaving with an empty wallet.
Last, but certainly not least, the food is outstanding. Dinner serves delicious Thai-style Prince Edward Island mussels and cornmeal crusted fried oysters with a house-made tartar sauce to start, and finishes it off with entrees like the roasted duck mole – which comes with heirloom sweet potatoes and an ancho mole that almost beats Amanda’s 😉 – and the Bistro’s well-recognized barbeque shrimp and grits (Boom goes the dynamite!). Let’s not forget that all bread and desserts are made from scratch in-house; the freshly made bread is so good it makes you want to pull a Jim Gaffigan and say, “Hey can I cancel my entrée? I kind of just want to load up on the delicious free bread.” While dinner is great (although it doesn’t quite beat its sister restaurant Black’s Bar and Kitchen), the brunch is out of this world. It includes dishes like freshly made New Orleans-style beignets, Eggs Benedict served on buttered biscuits instead of an English muffin (Hell yes!), Croque Monsieur, and some truly fine hot jack grits. That is just to start, but need I say anything more? Yes, actually, only one thing, “Seconds, please.”
In case you don’t want to take this amateur’s word for it, go try for it yourself. “How is this place so good,” you might ask. Well, because it’s one of the establishments owned and operated by the WMA’s premier Black’s Restaurant Group – a brand that speaks for itself, so enough said.
- Perfect setting
- Southern-style porch
- Superb brunch – be sure to be there at 9:45 am to be in front of the line
- Catch the choo-choo
- Just don’t miss this place
Webbie’s Wisdom (or lack thereof):
Great food and memorable experiences go hand in hand… and hand to mouth.