It’s a rainy dreary Saturday afternoon and I’m suffering from a cold. I am tempted to pull up the covers and spend the day with the remote control. But I have an invitation to a private tasting at Taste Gastropub in Olney. Let’s face it, I can count on one hand the number of restaurant events I attend that don’t involve a Metro ride downtown. Since I live only a few miles away from Olney, I convince myself to rally. So while my tastebuds are compromised, I can still sense that this is a venue I’m sorry I haven’t visited more often.
Taste Gastropub is located in a shopping center in the center of Olney, at the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Route 108. I pass by this center regularly, and have even dined here under the previous ownership. I found the food to be decent, but I wasn’t particularly compelled to return. Current owner Vic Seested has a new outlook for Taste, and it’s a great one. He is using it as a launchpad for fundraising events, and at the same time stepping up the food and beverage pairings. He has recently partnered with Danny Lledó, who adds his talents as a chef, restaurateur, and sommelier into the mix.
Our tasting begins with an attractive crostini with smoked salmon, salmon roe and goat cheese. This is followed by a satisfying small plate of shrimp with garlic beurre blanc.
Roasted beet salad is accompanied by a shot of mushroom brie cream soup. The entire group goes wild over the earthy, delicate flavors of the soup.
Taste’s menu reflects a variety of cuisines, but the small plates are predominately Mediterranean. Our meal continues with a duo of chicken souvlaki (too salty for my taste), and lamb meatballs which display more balance in the seasoning.
We end on a sweet note with flourless chocolate cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream along with a slice of moist pistachio and lemon cake.
Taste Gastropub features an extensive selection of wine, cocktails, and beer. We have wine pairings with every course, which accent the flavors of the food, and ups the fun factor on a Saturday afternoon. The event succeeds in putting Taste Gastropub back on my radar, where it should have been before now, considering the restaurant’s proximity to where I live.
I’m glad that I ventured out on a cold and dreary day to find something tasty at Taste Gastropub. If you’re in the area, I suggest you do the same.
Taste Gastropub, 3418 Olney Laytonsville Road, Olney, MD
Gazette.net article: “Olney’s Taste Gastropub provides more than good food.”