Tasty Mussels, Good Wines at Grapeseed in Bethesda

Did you know it was Restaurant Week in Bethesda?  Three courses for $30, a great deal, and at Grapeseed, you could choose from four courses – beginnings, middles, ends and desserts.  For this weeknight evening get-together with my college roommate who was in town for work, we each chose a starter, soup/salad and dessert.  It was the perfect amount of food, paired with good and generous pours of wines.

For each dish, the menu listed the wine that inspired it, which meant a Chehalem Inox chardonnay with a very large bowl of mussels, subtly flavored with a light cream sauce and bits of pancetta.  The menu describes the sauce as mustard, but that must have been over my palate.  And while I’m usually not a huge chardonnay fan – don’t love the overly oaky vanilla flavors that are typical – the Inox was crisp and zingy, a great match.

My friend had the tenderloin tips to start and seemed very happy with her Australian Shiraz pairing.  I later tried the Vina Robles Red 4, a Rhone blend, which was good, but a tad vanilla-y for me.

The restaurant’s space was welcoming and warm, but also spacious enough for private conversation.  We were seated in a booth across from the larger of the two glassed in private rooms.  The  smaller room, which seated about 10-12, and was surrounded by part of the wine cellar, looked like the perfect venue for a future food and wine tour.

As it was, Grapeseed was the perfect place to shelter from the cold wind, unwind and catch up.  I’m only sorry it’s taken me so long to (finally) get there.

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