Not Quite Show Stoppers

Not Quite Show Stoppers

Met Bethesda, City Perch Kitchen + Bar earn mixed reviews

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DINNER AND A MOVIE just got easier. Within steps of two new luxury theaters are two new restaurants. Stylish spaces with ambitious menus and bar offerings, Met Bethesda (next to ArcLight Cinemas at Westfield Montgomery mall) and City Perch Kitchen + Bar (next to iPic Theaters in North Bethesda) are even similarly situated on second stories, allowing for panoramic views (albeit of the surrounding suburbs).
But there are differences: Met Bethesda has no connection to its neighboring theater, while City Perch is owned and operated by iPic Entertainment. And while neither restaurant puts on a stellar performance, one offers a better show.

At Met Bethesda’s martini bar, patrons can choose from 16 flavorings to customize their cocktails. Photo by Michael Ventura

Met Bethesda

7101 Democracy Blvd., Unit 3200 (in Westfield Montgomery mall), 301-767-1900,

FAVORITE DISHES: New England clam chowder, buttermilk biscuits, tuna and salmon tartare, rice bowl with salmon, Togarashi tuna

BEER, WINE, AND COCKTAILS: 30 beers, including drafts, craft cans and bottles, from $4.50 to $7; more than 40 wines, from $30 to $98; about 20 wines by the glass, from $7 to $13. Extensive cocktail menu features 18 craft cocktails ($11 to $13), plus the Met Martini Bar, offering 16 flavorings to devise your own cocktail ($12) or non-alcoholic beverage ($2). Sangria and spiked grapefruit lemonade available in pitchers.

PRICES: Appetizers, $5 to $16; sandwiches and burgers, $10 to $15; entrées, $14 to $36

SERVICE: Same waiter during  two visits was honest, efficient and personable; at another dinner, new waitress was slow and ill-informed (for example, oysters aren’t harvested in Pennsylvania), but a manager interceded.

Left: Head chef Andrew Kern. Right: The New England clam chowder is thick with clams and potatoes. Photo by Michael Ventura

Located two escalator rides above the new dining terrace at Westfield Montgomery mall in Bethesda, Met Bethesda is a respite from the busyness below. With high ceilings, blond wood, pendant lamps and a soothing color scheme, it’s a handsome spot. What makes it even more appealing are acoustics that allow for quiet conversation, and a comfortable, private bar area, with elevated booths and sweeping windows. Mall rats might prefer the seating near the entranceway, which faces the dining terrace and movie theater.

As for the cooking, it’s sometimes good, other times overly embellished, like a pretty girl with too much makeup. With a little restraint, more of the food could be striking.

The website for the Boston-based Met Bar & Grill chainlet founded by restaurateur Kathy Sidell describes the fare as “classic American,” which in this case means America’s melting pot. Aside from steaks, burgers and New England specialties, the menu sports several Asian options, Italian dishes, a Greek mezze plate, even French onion soup.

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