We’re sure glad Mike Isabella showed up in Bethesda. The former Top Chef contestant, owner of a growing empire of Washington-area restaurants, and perpetual press darling (he was even on the September 2016 cover of Washington Lawyer) elevated the dining scene here with the opening of Kapnos Kouzina last March. The home-style Greek eatery, which focuses on small plates shot with flavor, more often than not hits a bull’s-eye. Among the many on-target dishes: all of the spreads, grilled halloumi, spanakopita, zucchini fritters, swordfish kebabs, fried chicken and anything with smoked lamb. At press time, the restaurant was about halfway done installing sound absorption material on the ceiling to calm the clamor, which we hope will leave all the excitement on the plate.
Kapnos Kouzina, 4900 Hampden Lane, Bethesda, 301-986-8500, www.kapnoskouzina.com