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May 7, 2007 03:43 PM

Disappointing Meal at David Craig, Bethesda

We were in Washington last weekend for a wedding and our children were arriving from different parts of the country. Our daughter arrived Friday night and we had a chance to have dinner with her before her brother and sister arrived the next day. We chose to go to David won't happen again. My husband and our daughter ordered the heirloom tomato salad which they both enjoyed. I was drawn in by the cold English pea soup. Expecting a delicate soup I was disappointed by a thick, fairly flavorless, soup that clung to the spoon. Then there was a half-hour wait before the entrees appeared. My husband and I both ordered the pasta with veal and mushroom ragu. I asked how big the appetizer portion was and was told it would be the size of a bread plate, so I opted for a full portion. It should have been called "Young Bride's First Meal". The pasta was just shy of al dente, but worse, it had been sauced in a saute pan and allowed to dry out. Plus it was heavily salted. The full portion would have been an appetizer anyplace else. We ate without complaint because we were more into the conversation than the food....and we had already waited a half hour. Our daughter's shrimp risotto was better but, rather than a creamy risotto, it was sticky. And it was also heavily salted. Then we ordered the chocolate bread pudding. It was tasty but it was not bread pudding. The base was molten chocolate cake. Later that night it hit me that the full portion of pasta was $26 (!) and I kicked myself for not sending it back. Bad food, rip-off prices. Bye-bye, David Craig.

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  1. I too was less than impressed with my meal there. Had the same reaction to veal/mushroom ragu: Unbelievably salty. My friend's seafood pasta was more tasty -- only problem it was not hot enough. But I have to say I am often disappointed at these "hot shot" restaurants -- the food rarely justifies the price in my experience

    1. Wow, sorry to hear both of you had such bad experiences. It's been (more than) a few months since I had dinner there, but I had a great meal (sorry that I don't recall details) with very good service. I would definitely return based on my experiences; maybe it's gone downhill since then, or perhaps it's just uneven? Don't know.

      1. I had some people in town for a committee meeting two weeks ago and took them to David Craig and was dissapointed as well. We got there early and were the only people in the restaurant, but we were seated right in front of the door to the kitchen. I also had the veal and mushroom ragu. While it wasn't overly salted, it was luke warm. I ordered the appetizer portion and it was tiny. Most of our group was dissapointed in the meal. I do't think I'll be heading back anytime soon.

        1. I had dinnner at David Craig about two Saturdays ago, and had a very good experience. Frankly, the host was exceptionally accomodating. The waitress was professional. While the space clearly lacks any character, and the room shapes are awkward, I think they are doing the best they can with table placements. We started with the pea soup, which I too found to be a little bland, but not overly thick. My half-order of the veal and mushroom pasta was wonderful, and not too salty at all. I found the pasta to be much chewier (but not under-cooked) than other in-house versions I've had, but in a welcomed way. The portion size was fine. As a main course, my scallop special was fantastic, cooked perfectly and expertly sauced, served over sauted spring vegetables. The strip steak was a little lacking, plain and a bit thin, but my wife enjoyed it. Had a great bottle of Pinot Noir, unusual for Bethesda restaurants.

          It wasn't cheap, but I didn't think it was priced inappropriately considering the neighborhood and the competition. While I won't be running back, I consider it to be a great alternative to the over-wheming mediocrity of Bethesda's predominant chain and mini-chain restaurants. I think the characterization of "bad food and rip-off prices" is terribly unjustified. I will also note that I was told the chef/owner was out recovering from knee surgery and his backup, April, was heading the kitchen in his absence. Not sure if it is true or not, and I don't know if it is still the case, but it may be the source of some of the delays (although our service was perfect). They were also 100% full the Saturday I was there.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Pappy

            We ate at David Craigs not to long ago and had a good experience also. We were a party of 12 which I think is always a challenge. One of my neighbors ordered the beef cheeks tht were awesome. I ordered the pasta also and found it better than good, but I didn't cry eating it either. I suspect that with that party size getting everyone's dish to the 'make you cry' stage is hard enough - without taking in to account the electricity went out during the middle of appitizers (raining hard out). Was it pricey - yes, but so is Blacks and other unique Bethesda restaurants. I agree with Pappy that considering it's in Bethesda which is littered with too many chain and mini-chains - it's worth checking out again and the occassional need to pay higher prices than the local Rock Bottom. Our service was fine and Chef even came out of the kitchen to see how things were going at one point.

            1. re: chevychasemdguy

              Went to David Craig's last night with two girlfriends. We liked it. We are not big eaters - shared two appetizers and two main portion-sized entrees: risotto and pasta with asparagus. Two desserts also. For a Monday night, the place was relatively crowded. The co-owner was very friendly. The food was good. Not great but good. Bread pudding was disappointing. It's nice to have another choice for a "nice" restaurant. Gave up Persimmon and Grapeseed awhile ago. How many times can you go to Black's? I think the food at Rock Creek is tasteless. I live in Bethesda so these restaurants are pretty convenient. Has anyone been to Centro lately?