Earlier this fall I was able to take a quick trip back to Maryland for a couple of days. It was pretty last-minute, mainly because we didn’t have a home game and I found a cheap plane ticket. This week I realized I had completely failed on posting the 3 restaurants I went to during my stay, so I’m fixing it and this is the last one.
Emily and I have been friends since she worked in the football office at Maryland as a student and recruiter. We have had so many funtivities together over the years, and she was able to come out and visit last year for Homecoming.
Since moving to Oklahoma, I get back to Maryland every summer for a couple of weeks. I’ve also been lucky enough to get back a couple of times in the fall, usually for a Maryland football game. The first 2 summers I tried to see everyone and do everything. By the time I got back to Oklahoma, I would literally need a couple days to recover. Then I started doing exactly the opposite, seeing a few people and spending most of my time relaxing. I might have taken it too far the other direction now, but that’s another story. I didn’t get to see Emily this summer, and on this trip my flight back wasn’t until late Sunday, so we agreed to meet for brunch. She threw out a couple of options, and we agreed on Black’s Bar & Kitchen.
My first trip to Black’s was with Emily 2 summers ago. The restaurant is in the heart of downtown Bethesda, MD, about 20 minutes from my parents’ house. Black’s is part of the Black’s Restaurant Group, comprised of 8 different restaurants. Sunday brunch at Black’s is pricey, but it’s got a huge raw bar and includes unlimited mimosas.
The restaurant has got a good-sized patio out front. The interior is basically divided in half, with the main dining room on the right, and the bar area on the left, and then the kitchen is at the back. The dining room is very warm and inviting, with a combination of tables and booth seating. On our first trip we sat in the main dining room, and on this trip we sat in the bar area. The bar itself is very large, and serves as the separating wall between the 2 spaces. There’s a long tall table in the middle of the bar seating that I’m guessing are normally used for seating, but for Sunday brunch they are covered with desserts.
You have 2 options with the buffet. With unlimited mimosas or without. Even if you only plan to get just one mimosa, you’re better off with the unlimited. Because chances are, you’re going to get more than one. They’ve got 6 different flavors to choose from, and they are all very tasty. The Kir Royale and Pointsettia are my favorites. On the buffet, I swear they have everything. The hot bar is on the main dining room side, and the raw bar is at the end of the regular bar, just behind the host stand
Emily started with a combination of hot food and raw bar. Me, I went straight for the raw bar. I didn’t want to seem gluttonous, so I just got a little on each plate…and got 2 plates. I had to hold myself back from getting a third.
Not one single negative about anything on either plate. The only place I will eat oysters in Oklahoma is Bodean’s, so I took full advantage of having access to these. I normally would not get calamari or tuna that are raw, but I went adventurous. I’m so glad I did, because the marinade on both added so much flavor. I could have easily gone back and just picked up the bowls of both. The mussels had a wonderful smoky flavor that was not overwhelming at all. The shrimp salad was light and refreshing.
After the raw plates, it was time for the hot food
I love buffets that have bacon. I usually go way overboard, but I’m quite proud of myself for only getting 4 slices. I was tempted to go back for more, but again I held back. The grits were cheesy, creamy, and delicious. I’m not sure what else was in the couscous salad, but it was really good. I don’t normally do eggs Benedict, but I’m glad I got this one because it was excellent.
We were both full, but you can’t sit right next to the desserts and not try them out.
As you see, I was very restrained, only picking up 3 small pieces. But no surprise, they were all chocolate. The one closest to the front was homemade Reese’s cup, and was fantastic. I honestly can’t remember what the other 2 were…yes, I realize that’s a fail. But they were both very good. The one in the back was a mousse, so it was very light.
As we were eating, a professional photographer came in and was shooting lots of pictures of several dishes. I got up to take pictures, and made a passing joke to one of the staff members that mine would never be as good as hers, but I was going to do the best I could. It turned out I was speaking with Alicia, the Asst. General Manager. We spoke for a few minutes, I told her about my blog, and she thanked me for coming.
I had been thinking for a few months that I needed to get business cards so when I run into that situation I can just give them a card. My plan was to get on that as soon as I got back to Oklahoma. Fast-forward to nearly Christmas, and still no cards. The good thing is, I am ordering them this weekend so I can have them for my trip to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl.
Will I go back? Well, of course I will. I really enjoy the atmosphere of Black’s, and I would love to go check it out for happy hour or a weekend lunch on the patio on my next visit. Also, I need to check out some of their other restaurants.