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Quick but yummy dinner destinations near Bethesda Row theater?

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What are some good choices for a quick weeknight dinner near the movie theater? Not fast food, but we probably won't have more than an hour for dinner. Restaurant must have nonspicy options for one of us, otherwise we're open to suggestions ... Asian, middle eastern, etc.

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  1. Thai Corner, no doubt. On Bethesda Avenue. From the theatre doors, head toward the street, go towards the building painted with giant colorful veggies and around the corner. Next to it, down a few stairs is Thai Corner. Managed by a great guy with thick-rimmed glasses who loves indie fims (I used to be a projectionist at Bethesda Row, and would eat lunch there once a week). Architecture is of the "cool and crisp" variety, but despite that it's small enough to be considered intimate; a great place to take a date.

    For starters, the chicken satay (my litmus test for new Thai restaurants) is GENIUS - always hot, more oil than most places but it's peanut oil and keeps the chicken from drying out. And the sweet cucumber chutney that comes with it is pretty damn good, too. I'm sure anything for entree is good there, but don't expect mega-spice... even if you request it, you won't get much more than a paprika-level kick. The real savor to their food, like any Thai food, is subtlety and nuance. Pad Prik King, Pad Thai, drunken noodles, pra ram long song... all good choices, but try what interests you. And wash it all down with a nice thick Thai iced coffee to keep you awake through the film. Now that Oodles of Noodles is long gone, I don't recommend going to Bethesda for any other reason, chow-wise.

    For a quick dinner, just don't order anything too complicated - pad thai or pad prik king or something. Just ask and they'll give you recommendations.

    1 Reply
    1. re: aesdanae

      That doesn't sound too authentic. Chicken satay is a Malaysian dish (yes, they do happen to serve them in Thailand as well).....generally not a good litmus test for Thai cuisine.

      An alternative for non-spicy, more authentic Asian cuisine on Bethesda Ave. would be Panang.

    2. Tastee Diner. Beats the pants off any fake Thai joint. And when was the last time you were in an authentic greasy spoon?

      1. There's a Jaleo a block away. I've never had a problem there getting in and out in an hour before a film at the Landmark. Levante's for Middle Eastern food is also a good choice.

        1. That's funny -- I'm on record as raving about Jaleo. To me, it's the obvious and overwhelming choice in the area, as long as you can get seated right away.

          Levante's on the other hand, has been atrocious every time I'm gone -- which is, admittedly, not in the past few years.

          1. Thanks to all for the recommendations. Although I lean toward Thai, I have been outvoted by my dinner companions and we'll be trying Jaleo.

            Any specific recommendations for nonspicy choices at Jaleo?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Mallomar

              There are tons of nonspicy options at Jaleo! The menu is fairly extensive, but I've been very happy there.
              In addition to the other items mentioned, I like:

              - garlic shrimp
              - skewers of watermelon and cherry tomatoes
              - endives with goat cheese, oranges, and almonds
              - etc :)

              I love the white gazpacho with grapes and lump crabmeat btw. It's made with almond milk, which gives it a wonderful creaminess.