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1 Meat, 3 Sides: Mexican Street Food, Date Dining

This week, a new restaurant from Jackie Greenbaum takes center plate, surrounded by news of the closure of a popular Asian restaurant, the opening of a new restaurant with not-your-average food in Gaithersburg, and where to take a date in Bethesda.

Get caught up with the food scene in Montgomery County and adjacent Washington, DC, neighborhoods with "1 Meat, 3 Sides." This week, Mexican street food takes center plate:

One Meat:

Fans of Silver Spring's beloved , Sidebar and Quarry House Tavern in Silver Spring now have another destination for trying restauranteur Jackie Greenbaum's famous restaurant creations: El Chucho Superior, which opened late last month at 3313 11th St. NW, in Columbia Heights, Washington, DC.

Two years in the making, "El Chucho is finally bringing a street food-inspired Mexican menu, margaritas on tap and a roof deck to the 11th Street strip, a part of the neighborhood Greenbaum says she liked for its 'indie mom-and-pop feel,' " DC Eater reported.

"Expect the likes of torta ahogada, otherwise known as a drowned beef sandwich, tacos, plenty of vegetarian-friendly options and food service that reinforces the casual nature of El Chucho, with much of it to be served in baskets or, in the case of the jicama salad, in plastic baggies like their street food inspiration," DC Eater added.

A stellar drink menu includes horchatas and house-made sodas "like a ginger ale that is ginger lemongrass syrup topped off with soda," DC Eater added. Several beers can be spiked, and the margarita menu is seven drinks long.

Greenbaum is a margarita fanatic, according to the Washington City Paper: "I actually have a super guilty pleasure that I will drink a frozen margarita of the worst sort any place they have it." At El Chucho, "she promises margaritas of the best sort, with half a dozen varieties ranging from sweet to tart to dry and herb-y," City Paper added.

The interior, with its "old-school formica-counter Mexican diner feel," is "both casual Mexican restaurant and neighborhood watering hole," DC Eater added. There is room for 40 seats inside the restaurant, and 40 more on the side wall-enclosed roof deck.

El Chucho is open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays and until 3 a.m. on weekends. Greenbaum said she hopes to add weekend brunches soon.

Read more about the new restaurant at DC.Eater.com and on the City Paper's website.

Three Sides:

, a popular Bethesda eatery at the corner of Norfolk and Fairmont avenues (7710 Norfolk Ave.) in Bethesda, will be closing at the end of the month, Bethesda Magazine reported.

"The restaurant is being shuttered to make way for the construction of a 17-story luxury apartment building that is expected to break ground in early 2013," Bethesda Magazine reported.

"[Owner Fu] Cheung said he hopes to re-open the restaurant in another spot and is looking for a suitable location in Bethesda, Chevy Chase and Potomac," Bethesda Magazine added.

Read more on Bethesda Magazine's website.

***

Gaithersburg's dining scene just got a little swankier with the recent opening of Not Your Average Joe's (at 245 Kentlands Blvd.), . It's the second area location of the Massachusetts-based chain of 18 restaurants.

"The concept is we have chefs in our restaurant. We have from-scratch food. We can make anything to order for people who come in with different allergies or anything like that. We can customize their meals to whatever they'd like," General Manager Erik Larson told Gaithersburg Patch.

The restaurant's menu is gluten-free, but waiters, managers and chefs are trained to inquire about all allergies before taking orders from customers. The bar features 20 beers on tap and many original cocktails.

***

The inaugural column of "Dining and Dating District Style" on the Dining in DC blog focused on .

"While the tapas or small plates phenomenon is not to everyone’s liking, I think it is the perfect concept for a date. Food is one of the easiest conversation starters, and selecting multiple dishes just gives you even more to talk about (not to mention the value added from sharing your small plates). Since Jaleo’s menu is so vast (not including nightly specials), have you and your date pick 2 plates independently and collaborate on a 5th plate," columnist Sean O'Brian suggested.

Read more on Dining in DC's website.

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