For those who have trouble leaving the district, there’s finally a good reason to venture up the red line. Tucked away off the main Bethesda thoroughfare is Brickside Food & Drink, a sports bar with some upscale dishes that make you think in you’re in one of D.C.’s hotter dining neighborhoods. What’s elevated this periphery eatery from ordinary to extraordinary? The entrance of Chef Matthew Smith, who’s raising the bar on bar fare.
Although a native of Maryland, Chef Smith began his career in Las Vegas at Wolfgang Puck’s Roadrunner Saloon. He then moved to Italy to be the sous chef at critically acclaimed CarneVino, and then dazzled diners when he moved back to the East Coast and helmed the kitchen at Baltimore’s Salt Tavern. After years of experience, Smith has landed in Bethesda to elevate Brickside to a place where “the sports fan and foodie intersect.”
When Hungry Lobbyist checked out the latest menu at Brickside, we found this self-description to be quite true. For starters, the space itself seems to blend foodie and fandom; one half has exposed brick and black-and-white photos adorning booths, while the other holds a bar lined with televisions displaying various sports games. The drink menu boasts plenty of local, craft beers, but also creative cocktails like creamsicle crush and snowcone punch.
Similarly, the menu is packed with approachable options one often expects in casual dining, but each is elevated through local ingredients and unique flavor combinations. While Brickside also serves lunch, brunch and late night bites, here’s some of our delicious dinner dishes.
Smoked Salmon Crostini
Fried Brussel Sprouts with Golden Raisins and Toasted Almonds
Chorizo Beef Empanadas
Dr. Pepper Steak Tacos
Pig and Pickles
Butternut Squash Soup
Brickside Shrimp & Grits
Pork Belly and Kale Pasta
Roasted Beet Carpaccio
Banana and Nutella Waffle with Assorted Housemade Ice Creams
There wasn’t a bite I didn’t like, but the pig and pickles was far and above the best. The entire table basically fought for the last bites of tender, slow-cooked bacon covered in a flavorful glaze. This dish alone is worth the trip to Brickside. The housemade ice creams also deserve a mention, as they were the best, most richly flavored scoops of chocolate and strawberry I’ve ever tasted. Other flavors, like apricot sorbet, were also quite tasty.
Ultimately, this eatery is a hidden gem in Bethesda, where one can order great plates at good prices while receiving exemplary service. Whether a foodie, a sports fan, or both, there will definitely be something for everyone.