My husband, Will, had the pleasure of working with Chef Gene Sohn many years ago when he was at Saveur in Georgetown, where we regularly visited. He moved to Adam's Morgan, which was a bit harde to get to, but now we are thrilled that he is celebrating his one year anniversary this month at SUMA in Bethesda. It's a small cozy intimate storefront space with small bar and the menu is much bigger than the space, not to mention the wine and beer list, as Chef Gene has always prided himself on that aspect of dining. A charcuterie & cheese plate arrived with Camembert, Amish Cheddar, Humboldt Fog, Bresaola, Prosciutto, Chicken Liver Parfait as well as some kicky pickled veggies (I adore the spring onion) and fig jam. Even the four adults and 2 kids found it huge as we knew more was coming, but I managed to try everything and the quality was top notch, especially the creamy parfait that had me from the first bite.
Since we had just come home from Spain we ordered a nice Verdejo from Duquesa de Valladolid 2014 in Rueda, right near where we visited north of Madrid. Our red wine was a punchy 14.9% alcohol 2013 Zin-phomaniac from Lodi.
I loved the menus made of cork which were quite original, but I have to say one thing: I only noticed the list of specials on the blackboard on the way out, and nobody ever mentioned them to us!
Size here is HUGE; maybe it's a suburban thing. I started with a very large and super tangy Romaine & Kale Salad with Caesar dressing, Bacon, Anchovies (the yummy white ones we loved in Spain), shaved egg and crostini.
The Deviled Eggs with Chipotle Aioli, Bacon, Chives & Goat Cheese are extremely rich and really should be shared rather than attempted as a single appetizer as they are indeed so over the top rich.
Others loved the Duck Spring Rolls, Grilled Octopus with Smoked Chorizo, Potato, Tomato, Capers, Olives, Shallots, garlic, White Wine & Harissa Aioli (next time for me!) as well as the Tomato Bisque with Basil and Crispy Calamari with Marinara, Arugula & Parmesan.
The main courses were even bigger ranging from Grilled Flank Steak (10 oz. Creekstone Farms), Maple Glazed Salmon Fillet with Carrot, Ginger Puree, Sugar Snaps and more of that yummy pickled Spring Onion. Fettucine was made with kale for texture and more sugar snaps, red peppers and a tangy Puttanesca Sauce.
Bison Reuben Burger is topped with Corned Beef for indulgence as well as Gruyere, Sauerkraut and Russian Dressing, but sadly came a tad past medium rare, but they did not charge us in the end!
I think this is one I need to give a go on the next trip as well.....after Passover.
My Challah Fried Chicken was three huge pieces battered and fried to perfection and still juicy as could be with tasty Kale Greens, a side of Mac 'n' Cheese and Tarragon "Gravy." I ended up taking two of the three pieces home.
Creme Brulee here is a winner with a perfect crust and crunch as well.
Considering it's about 15 minutes from our home and parking on the "other" side of Bethesda is a bit easier, I think that Suma will be in our future.