Good deli is hard to find. There’s no better cure for a chilly fall afternoon than a steaming bowl of matzo ball soup. And then, of course, there’s the pastrami. Biting into a well-made, hand-carved, melt-in-your-mouth pastrami on rye is a serious experience. Owner and chef Guy Brandt’s dream was to recreate a Jewish-style deli from Brooklyn in Potomac. Although he was trained in French techniques and worked in some of the better restaurants in Baltimore, his heart cried out for traditionally prepared brisket, latkes and knishes. After working at several local delicatessens, he opened Brooklyn’s Deli in 2010.
“At the core of our menu are our meats, all prepared in-house,” Guy says.
The diner atmosphere with walls covered in black-and-white photography sets the tone and the anticipation for anyone who has been lucky enough to eat New York delicatessen. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served and include beautiful Nova smoked salmon and corned beef hash.
“While I am proud of all of our dishes, our signature dishes include homemade chicken soup, oven roasted turkey and hand-carved pastrami,” Guy says. “We bring to you a menu and ambiance which we hope will bring you back. Enjoy.”
1089 Seven Locks Road, Potomac, Maryland, 301.340.3354, BrooklynsDeliMD.com
Lock 72 Kitchen & Bar
If you’re looking for something a little more upscale without being fussy, try Lock 72, a charming neighborhood spot designed for “regulars.” A large bar invites lively conversation paired with craft cocktails, while the intimate dining room is perfect for a romantic dinner for two or a special family gathering. Chef de cuisine Karen Hayes took over the kitchen in January, and her work has received rave reviews from customers, according to general manager Nicholas Weber Buck.
“I like to create a seasonal menu, approachable, with some surprises here and there,” Karen says. “I use influences from everywhere, not one specific cuisine.”
Karen did not attend culinary school; rather, she learned on the job and climbed the ranks.
“It was the one thing I did that made me happy all the time,” she says.
Karen has worked as a server, bartender and manager but always ended up talking to the chef, she says. Then she would try out their techniques at home with friends and neighbors.
While Karen has stuck to the modern American menu including items like New York strip steak, crab cakes and risotto, she’s always looking to add her own twist or refinement to a dish. The bar menu is particularly inviting, including Kentucky lemonade, lavender bee’s knees and a classic old fashioned. The happy hour menu is competitively priced and even features white wine and garlic Prince Edward Island mussels.
“We want to be a different choice for this area. It has a lot of potential,” Karen says.
10128 River Road, Potomac, Maryland, 301.299.0481, Lock72.com
This list would be incomplete without Normandie Farm, a Potomac landmark that has been the site of celebrations and date nights since 1931. The sprawling property features four dining rooms and an expanse of lawn where many couples have said their wedding vows. Dance floors, fireplaces, chandeliers and a Tudor architectural theme further its historic charm. Chef Cary Prokos took over the kitchen in 1983 and became sole proprietor in 1991.
“I grew up in the early 1960s cooking for myself as both my parents worked,” Cary says. “I always enjoyed the kitchen as the best parties are usually centered around the kitchen. That said, I didn’t want to work just anyplace, so I went to the Culinary Institute of America.”
Live music and dancing are always on the menu as is traditional French fare like escargot, brie almandine and beef Wellington—complemented by fresh seafood from the Chesapeake Bay. Offerings include a brunch buffet, afternoon tea service, an excellent wine menu and family meals prepared to go from the “on the run” menu.
“Truly one of the highlights [of being chef here for so long] is the clients we have met over the years and the relationships that we form,” Cary says. “We know their anniversaries, their birthdays, their children’s events and their grandchildren’s events. [We’ve] even held memorial services for loved ones who have passed.”
The restaurant’s rich history and consistent quality are a refreshing break from the head-spinning rate of opening and closing eateries in the D.C. area.
“We try to keep it warm and charming,” Cary says. “It’s the personal touch that my longtime staff and I try to offer.”
10710 Falls Road, Potomac, Maryland, 301.983.8838, Popovers.com