Sweet Memories, Underwhelming Food.
Mary Ann Fitzmorris January 23, 2020 12:34 Dining Diary
After Hurricane Katrina our family was scattered The Marys stayed in DC for two school years, and Jude never came home. While Jude lived in the dorm on the campus of his boarding school, the Marys lived at the Whitney in Downtown Bethesda, which I have always called a city-suburb. A most unusual situation, and kind of perfect.
Across Wisconsin Avenue at Georgetown Rd, the Hyatt sits on the corner and inside was Morton’s the Steakhouse. The Daily Grill, a small chain out of California, flanked an outer wall by the Metro station. Tom came to visit periodically, and always on the train. We would walk from the apartment to downtown Bethesda, which had a lot of restaurants, but we would most often just go to the closest - Morton’s.
It was kind of a romantic place in the bar, where Happy Hour was really good. It was fun and unusual to drink and just walk home. And the little sliders were great. So were the crabcakes.
Last Friday after the show, I was uninspired by the long trek through 5pm traffic in the CBD. I pitched instead a short walk from the station to Morton’s in the spirit of the old days in Bethesda. It was about the same distance, which is its only commonality.
We arrived to find a renovated bar space that took all the appeal out of the bar. The affable manager came over to say hello. We go back a long way with him. There are memories here too. We came here for a few birthdays, lured by the unique gigantic onion globe of bread and cozy booths. We saw Jimmy Graham here when he was a Saints superstar and a regular at Morton’s. The food was much better in pre-Tillman Fretitta days.
The bar menu is extensive and looks really good. As usual, we got carried away with appetizers of $7, $8, and $9 each. We started with housemade chips and a blue cheese dip (pictured.) This was pretty good, except the dip was gloppy and a little sweet, Disappointing. The crab, artichoke and spinach dip was served with crostini from the aforementioned onion globe. This was really good, and the crostini terrific. The dip had a lot of crabmeat, which makes the $8 price tag a bargain. The sliders were good but not exceptional. They were thick and came dressed in a set of three. Again, a bargain at $7. The chicken strips served buffalo style were a real miss. These were very Buffalo-spicy, but weirdly thin and stacked, and I couldn’t remember why I even ordered them. Tom always wants french fries. These were not fresh cut, but they were shoestring, and they were crisp and good for a frozen fry, but the seasoning also had a sweetness to it.
While Tom was nursing his Manhattan, I felt a little guilty having him go someplace and eat this kind of food. He has come around to happy hours, but this one was just ordinary, except for the exceptional prices. Having exceptional food as well might just be, well, too exceptional.
I think after all this time I can agree with Tom - we should keep all the good memories and leave this one for the tourists.
Morton’s The Steakhouse
365 Canal St New Orleans
Friday & Saturday till 11