a big perk of living in montgomery county is the proximity to several of the black's restaurants. each that i've visited (4/6 so far), i've enjoyed. addie's up wisconsin, black market bistro in garrett park, and black's bar & kitchen in downtown bethesda...it's not a bad scene. i went to the last on a friday night, for happy hour. and i think it's likely one of bethesda's best happy hours, if not its best. an expansive patio, bar, and lounge area offer a handful of half-price bites, $5 wines, and $6 martinis from 4 - 7pm monday through friday. i'm also eager to explore the unlimited champagne cocktail brunch that runs sundays from 11am - 2:30pm. although i've eaten dinner here (it was awhile ago, but i remember it being hella tasty), all i've got (for the moment) is pictures of happy hour, so i'll stick to writing about that until i return for a full meal. and in the mean time, if you're looking for a great bethesda happy hour, i recommend you sit at the bar. ask for jessica and talk food; she's charming and mixes strong drinks.
it seems that a unifying characteristic of all the black's restaurants is the presence of a fantastic bread plate. black's bar and kitchen is no exception. pictured above right is the wheat bread and biscuits, served with perfectly spreadable butter. i probably could've survived the night eating nothing but plate after plate of bread, but there are many menu options begging to be taken advantage of. my first choice? the forest mushroom, smoked leek, and truffled goat cheese flatbread, pictured above right. it was good. so good, in fact, that i dug in before taking a picture. which, if you've read any of my other writeups, does not often happen.
and above, two of the happy hour specials. to the above left, the crispy squid (i've no idea why the menu eschews the traditional "calamari" name) with creole tartar. it's perfectly cooked, with a sauce that packs a tasty kick. and to the above right, the one dish that i think appears on every black's restaurant menu: addie's mussels, with tomato, garlic, shallot and lemon. they've never disappointed, and stuart, the guest who sat next to me at the bar, thinks they're the best in dc. at the very least, they're very tasty, and a downright steal for their $6.50 happy hour price.