Wednesday, September 10, 2008

luscious at LIA's (Chevy Chase ,MD)

We had the pleasure of taking out Samuel's two babysitters since he came home 5-1/2 years ago and their family last night. We wanted something halfway between us and them, and chose LIA's in Bethesda, the sister or cousin to Chef Geoff's DC dining spots and it is a class above and truly fine spot. From the white or black napkins offered as you sit (depending on your clothes color) to the soft salmon walls, faux gray steel ceiling and soothing decor all around, it is a place to consider...often.

Luciano, our Brazilian server, was a gem and even offered to translate the menu for a relative who knew little English!

Keep in mind that when going to LIA's ( there is an option of $6.00 valet or some 50cents an hour using the garage underneath (special rate requires validation).

We started with some varied olives and dried/cured meats...don't miss the olives stuffed with garlic and capicolla!! Our wine choices were a TOLOSA "No Oak" 2006 Edna Ranch Chardonnay from Edna Valley which we loved bringing the chard fruits out and leaving the oak behind and an "Old Vine Cuvee" 2005 from TRINITAS in Contra Costa that was fairly big and bullish and tasty, though I have no idea what the blend was.

Starters were the yummy CRACB CAKE with Roasted Corn Salsa and my a bit-too-small-if -you-ask-me CITRUS CURED SALMON "TAQUITOS." There were three mini tacos each stuffed with a superb slither of cured salmon and some creme fraiche drizzle; a fourth would have been nice. They were oddly suspended upright on the plate by being embedded in cold mashed potatoes, which are really not worth eating.

The entrees were all magnificent from the WILD MUSHROOM RAVIOLI and ROASTED SALMON, Herb Crsuted with Sauteed Rapini, Sweet Garlic Confit and Saffron Oil to the HANDMADE BLACK PEPPER PAPPARDELLE with VEAL Bolognese. My huge portion (to make up for the small starter?) of VEAL LIMONE with olives, rapini (somebody really likes sauteed rapini in the kitchen) and sweet peppers was a dream with nice light batter on the veal scallopini and a light lemon sauce.

Samuel opted for the PIZZA, which is a big choice item on the menu here. I was not too impressed with it, but perhaps with toppings the individual pizzas are better. He loved the Blueberry Sorbet for dessert and we tasted a nice TOASTED ALMOND Gelato (more like ice cream) and a superb PEACH UPSIDE DOWN CAKE with Fig Vinicotto, Peach Clear Caramel, Candied Almonds and Vanilla Gelato. Alot of thought went into this work, which had a resemblance to a rum-soaked baba and
was superb.

We look forward to a return engagement! And don't forget their specials: 1/2price wine on Sundays and from 4-630pm there is a $19.95 3-course deal with very restrcited choices.