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The curse of Caesar

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Et tu?

First, it was Houston's near the intersection of Route 355 and Montrose road. Excellent matchstick fries, very good grilled artichoke, excellent mushroom soup, generous drinks. And, of course, the Caesar salad. While not a "proper" recipe, Houston's "eggless" Caesar was garlicky, always fresh, pleasantly tart and simply delicious.

Gone is that Houston's, gone is that Caesar. The version at the Woodmont Grill (formerly Houston's) in Bethesda somehow does not taste the same.

Then it was Cesco, reliable and cozy, with great grissini, good pasta and infrequent but memorable stewed rabbit. Cesco was one of the first restaurants to introduce burrata to the suburban diners, and I learned the simple joys of fennel salad there. Their Caesar, served in a crispy parmigiano vase, was usually - although not always - somewhere between good and excellent.

I tried Cesco once since the restaurant moved to its huge new location. I honestly don't know what would make me come back.

And now - Addie's. Now, this one is personal. My wife and I, we loved the place. Every establishment in the Blacks empire is good, but Addies was the first one, and it came when North Bethesda/Rockville area was in dire need of an above-average restaurant. For a while Addie's was serving what I considered a perfect dinner - a whole baby rockfish with rosemary and garlic with a side of french fries that were - amazingly - better than Houston's. And Addie's Caesar... Perfectly tangy dressing, Romaine two ways (whole leaves serving as a base for a hill of shredded greens), white anchovies that were actually tasty, just the right amount of croutons... I ordered it every chance I got, and that's what I'll miss the most - because Addie's closed at the end of November.

Who is next? Oakwood Bar and Grill does a reasonable Caesar, but their version is probably not good enough to cast fatal curse on the restaurant. Central Michel Richard with its goat cheese take on Caesar is probably safe. Wildwood Kitchen puts white anchovies on their salad... No, please, oh kitchen gods, let the Wildwood Kitchen not be next!

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