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Feb 4, 2008 05:25 AM

Good birthday dinner for picky fam in Rockville/Bethesda?

We're doing a combined birthday dinner for my mother and my brother-in-law on Saturday and we're looking for something new. The party will include my father, who's a pretty bland eater due to some stomach issues, and my grandmother, who is of course, 86 and complains about most new places we go to (service, noise, etc.)

My sister sent out list of possible places to try including Rarely Legal Grille, Black's Bar and Kitchen, Pacific Grill, Greystone Grill and Stonefish Grill. I know Greystone isn't too popular on these boards, but are there any other opinions on these places or any similar places we might want to try? I think good service would be important, in case anyone needs any special considerations (or just so that there's nothing to complain about and we can concentrate on the food).


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  1. I second Black's but might think that Addie's in Rockville, a sister restaurant, would be better from the start in terms of menu (for diversification) and on service.

    1. we walked by Rarely Legal Grill on Saturday night (Feb 2) and it was empty. a sign on the door said, they were closed to fix some problems for a few days. so i would definitely call ahead if I were you

      1. I like Black Market in Garrett Park, it's in a charming neighborhood and housed in the cutest building. The service there is tremendous. You can have anything from great seafood to a hanger steak with mashed potatoes and onion rings or burger.

        4 Replies
        1. re: rumple

          Neither Addie's nor Black Market will take reservations and neither one has a comfortable place to wait. How to get an evening off to a bad start when you have older people, and especially older people who are impatient and/or like to complain. Addies has also been very inconsistent as to food quality in recent years. Black's is very expensive, and has high-concept food that people who are picky or who want bland food might not appreciate. I strongly suggest you check online menus before choosing Black's. Based on your description, I would suggest Tower Oaks. They have several rooms, and it can be noisy, so be sure to ask for either the quietest room OR a booth - the booths have very high backs so the noise is minimized. The menu is very broad so you should find something for everyone. Plus no parking hassles - I can imagine your 86 yr old grandmother walking from a Bethesda garage in the cold...

          1. re: Just Visiting

            I agree with Clyde's Tower Oaks for this family. Just a quick question - would the Clyde's in Chevy Chase be an equal substitution? How's the Chevy Chase location with menu, noise, parking and service?

            1. re: Lydia R

              Although Clyde's is a local chain, the individual locations are completely different. For decor, you can't beat the one in Tyson's - it borders on over-the-top (the murals in the room on the right, in particular) but the metalwork and most of the design is really wonderful. So - the menus are also entirely different, too. I have never really liked the menu or the food in Chevy Chase, but it is quieter than Tower Oaks. The food at Tower Oaks is solid - never great, never bad. Parking at Chevy Chase - the website ( might consider googling these places) says that they have an underground garage and they validate

              1. re: Just Visiting

                "completely different' I am assuming is referring only to decor? The menus are nearly identical at Old Ebbitt Grill and Tower Oaks Lodge.

        2. I agree that Tower Oaks would be a perfect solution for this kind of situation.

          Whatever you do, please do not go to Greystone Grill at Rockville Town Center. We were served the worst meal of our lives there a couple of months ago. I say we were 'served' it, because we certainly didn't eat it! I'll spare everyone all the gruesome details, but they included salad greens and vegetables that looked like they'd been fished out of the dumpster! And the 'service' was a joke. The whole thing was such a fiasco that the manager comped the entire thing without our even having to ask!

          1. Double check whether you can't make reservations at Addie's as our family of four had a birthday dinner there and I was almost positive that we had made reservations especially since we were seated within a minute of arriving. Dinner there was great and I highly recommend it!

            1 Reply
            1. re: burgerlover44

              I know that Black Market is now taking a limited number of reservations. I'm not sure why they limit it, but that's how they do it. Addie's may be doing this now as well.