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Persimmon

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I haven't eaten there, but this place seems to get mixed reviews, from the "best in Bethesda" to mediocre. I'm planning to give it a try.
The web site is not very helpful. I notice the same menu has been posted for awhile and the wine list is not there.
Some questions: Opinions from those who have been there recently? Do the on-line menu and prices appear reasonably accurate and up-to-date? Has it gone downhill? Is the original chef still there? What to try, what to avoid?

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  1. Hmm... I can't help you with a recent visit but I think that says a lot about the restaurant. I've been there twice, each time with high expectations, only to be disappointed by odd flavors and food that simply didn't work as a cohesive meal. I think the D.C.-area simply offers too many lower priced alternatives for Persimmon to be a compelling choice, and frankly I wonder why it is still open considering how many nearby restaurants have open and closed over the past decade.

    1. FWIW, my one dinner there was very good, though I'm drawing a blank on what I had. And it is still the original chef.

      1. What an odd coincidence. My family was there for Mothers' Day just last night. All in all, it was a nice meal. Not fantastic, but very nice.

        I had the calamari appetizer to start, then a combination of the mussels appetizer and arugula/fennel salad as my main. I do not recommend the calamari appetizer. It was a huge portion of polenta, three pieces of bruschetta, and a pesto-tomato mixture. There were maybe 5 rings of calamari in the whole thing. The flavors were fine (couldn't taste much more than the pesto though), but it was a gloppy mess on the plate. My mussels, however, were cooked perfectly and the butter/white wine/garlic sauce was very tasty with some bread dipped in it. My salad was crisp, fresh and simple (exactly what I wanted).

        My dad had the crabcakes, which I tried. They had a very mild flavor (no Old Bay there!) and the combination of the corn side dish and underlying sauce actually made it sweet tasting. Not particularly what I want when I eat crabcakes, but certainly was a fine tasting dish. My mom had the rockfish. It had a nice sear on the outside, and the gnocchi on the side were very good. I am not a gnocchi lover -- they are usually pasty or gummy and heavy. But these were light and almost creamy.

        Desserts were actually excellent. The vanilla almond cake was delicious -- my favorite thing of the night. Moist on the inside with a very strong almond flavor. Almost like an italian cookie. It came with a nice orange sherbet on the side. The lemon poppyseed bread pudding was also very good. It also had strong flavors, and was just the right combination of a custardy inside with a crusty outside. My one bite of the chocolate cake was of a rich, deep dark chocolate flavor. Only dessert miss was the "grown up sundae." Absolutely nothing special about it -- definitely skippable.

        Service was fine. A little rushed in the beginning, but as the place filled up it slowed to a nice pace. Considering the disaster mothers' day at restaurants can be, as a whole we were very pleased.

        3 Replies
        1. re: charmedgirl

          I've been there 4 or 5 times and have found it consistently excellent. Their crabcakes are always great, as are their fish dishes and duck. They've got a smoked trout spring roll appetizer that is wonderful. One of the things I especially like about Persimmon is that they have some wonderful and creative side dishes which accompany the entrees. I've yet to try dessert because everyone in my party has always been so full that we didn't order anything. The prices have inched up a bit lately, but it's still great value for the high quality. They must be keeping their customers happy, because I often go past it on weekday evenings on the way to nearby Trader Joe's, and it's usually full.

          1. re: potrzebie

            My husband and I used to eat there regularly. I crossed them off my list when the red wine they served to us (and our French guest!!) was really warm. The waitress indicated that they had problems with this but the owner hadn't done anything about it. I wrote an email but got no response. (And our steaks were way overdone too....)

          2. re: charmedgirl

            Thanks, I just tried it and you were spot on.
            Not fantastic but very nice. The food improves with each course.
            Bread: Mediocre but with a very nice spread.
            Apps: Pea soup not so good, spare ribs overcooked.
            Entrees: Rockfish as you said, maybe just a tad overcooked but very tasty. Gnocchi great, side veggies cooked very nicely though a bit oversalted to my taste - I don't salt at home. Rack of lamb very good.
            Dessert: Thanks for the almond cake tip, it was terrific. The ultra-light cheesecake was maybe even better, and I don't usually like cheesecake. World class desserts. Good coffee, refills.
            Wines: We just had glasses, overpriced.
            Service: Good.
            Ambiance: Nice,