The Daily Dish: When Local Means Local

The Daily Dish (photo from

I attended my first DC Food Blogger event last week.  When I told my friend this, she innocently asked “There are other restaurant bloggers in DC?”  Yes, there are.  Possibly hundreds of them.  Most have been doing this far longer than I, and some have followings in the thousands.  Many are well acquainted with each other as a result of attending these happy hours, restaurant openings, and other noteworthy events.

As my one year blogiversary approached, I decided it was time for me to meet some of the other bloggers.  I bravely take the Metro downtown, by myself, and walk the few blocks to J & G Steakhouse, where the event is being held in the wine bar.

I am a bit nervous at first.  It can be intimidating to walk into a room where you don’t know anyone. But then I begin conversing with people about restaurants…and blogging…and restaurants!  This is something I can talk about with some degree of confidence. I breathe a silent sigh of relief.

I meet Zena Polin and Jerry Hollinger, who tell me they are co-owners of The Daily Dish in Silver Spring.  This used to be Red Dog Cafe, a restaurant I have been to on a few occasions and liked as much for the cool neighborhood vibe as I did for the food. I had forgotten all about the cafe, and didn’t know it changed hands two years ago.

I wonder how I missed hearing about The Daily Dish, and the only thing I can come up with is that the somewhat generic name escaped my attention.  I am intrigued by their description of the food (locally sourced comfort food) and Zena and Jerry are engaging people, so I decide to dine there a few nights later with my husband and two other couples.

According to the website:

The Daily Dish is a play of words that reflects the passion of its two owners, Jerry Hollinger and Zena Polin, who believe in serving comfort food with a twist — food that is seasonally inspired, locally sourced and made from farm fresh ingredients.

The Daily Dish maintains the comfortable vibe of the previous incarnation.  It now has a bar featuring some innovative cocktails. I begin with a blueberry pomegranate martini.  It is delightful and not too sweet.  My friend has a “Dirty Betty” martini made with a local vodka and hand stuffed olives with blue cheese.  These are so good, we ask for more and are truly dismayed when we realize one has dropped to the floor.

Sloop Betty vodka made in Maryland

We begin our meal by sharing white pizza with house made crust, parmigiano-reggiano, and fresh mozzarella.  The crust is not as crispy as I like it but the flavor, which has plenty of garlic and gooey cheese, makes up for the lack of crunch.  We declare it “killer good.”

white pizza

I’ve chosen fresh lobster and corn ravioli with a sundried tomato cream sauce as my main course.    This is a delicious dish with homemade pasta, made just a mile away.  It has the potential to be too rich, but it’s not.   The sundried tomatoes add texture to the creamy sauce.   It is a winning combination and one I would eagerly try again- perhaps as a first course.

lobster and corn ravioli

Two people have rockfish with shrimp broth and julienne of fennel, carrot, celery, and roasted onion.  They agree that the first bite is quite good but this is a dish that gets better with every bite.

The same goes for my husband’s salmon ripieghi (which is described as an Italian foldover sandwich) made with organic, farm-raised, Black Pearl Salmon with arugula and remoulade sauce. At first he says it is bland.  But once he delves deeper and reaches the sauce, he is a happy camper.

Another friend has steak salad with blue cheese and buttermilk dressing.  The steak is well prepared and flavorful and the portion is plentiful.  It is a satisfying selection.

Throughout our dinner we are visited by Zena and Jerry, as well as Executive Chef Michael Chretien.  My friends joke that they are dining out with someone famous, as we clearly are getting some attention. My sense is that anyone who takes the time to become a regular at The Daily Dish would get the same treatment.

Our server brings us an array of desserts with an apology for my husband being served his dish a few minutes later than the rest of us.  He doesn’t mind, as it results in it being served piping hot.  I won’t deny that this may be due to my known status as a blogger.  Whatever the reason, they are all worth the calories:  molten lava cake (which we decide is the best), limoncello marscapone cake, and a trio of locally-made ice creams: black raspberry, bittersweet chocolate, and smores.

The Daily Dish desserts

There are some factors that make The Daily Dish a standout for me.  The prices are reasonable.  The menu selection includes items for a truly casual dinner out (pizza and salad) or something more upscale such as the creative fish dishes.  There are special offers such as three course dinners for $30 on Thursday nights, and buy one/get one half price pizza or burger on Wednesday nights.  These have make an impression on my friends, who are eager for a return visit.  Me too!

I am glad that I conquered my fears and made by way to the DC Food Bloggers happy hour, because I may never have stumbled upon The Daily Dish.  While it is not so uncommon to have locally sourced food these days, it is rare is to have such an appealing dining option that is less than twenty minutes from my house.  That’s my kind of local.

The Daily Dish, 8301 A Grubb Road, Silver Spring
My rating (on a 1-5 scale): 4.4

The Daily Dish, A Restaurant & Catering Company on Urbanspoon


  1. I agree 100%. Wonderful experience.

  2. I was near the Dish and remembered your report.
    My niece and I had a very satisfying lunch. The fresh salmon on my salad was cooked perfectly…….just as I'd ordered. The veggie pizza my niece ordered was mighty tasty. The Flying Dog on draft didn't hurt either. Perhaps the best part was the ease of parking in the lot right in front and just walking in. Take that downtown Bethesda.


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