Bethesda just got an exciting new option for spicy beef noodle soup, “shrimp and toast,” and pork kimchi potstickers with the arrival of Chiko, a casual Chinese-Korean counter that’s won a lot of local recognition in D.C. Chiko’s fourth location to date — and first in Maryland — replaces chef Michael Schlow’s fast-casual Italian place, Prima. Fried Rice Collective founders Danny Lee, Scott Drewno, and Drew Kim debuted the brand on Capitol Hill in 2017, followed by subsequent outposts in Encinitas, California, and Dupont Circle. Chiko Bethesda (7280 Woodmont Avenue) operates from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., with takeout and delivery to start. The opening menu includes dishes like “orange-ish” chicken and bulgogi or cumin lamb stir fry. An abundant gluten-free section includes double-fried chicken wings, smoked brisket and rice cakes, and hot smoked blue catfish with cured egg yolk and bonito flake.
Bethesda’s dining scene will get additional boosts this year with the debuts of Cava’s “fine casual” Greek eatery Melina and an offshoot of José Andrés’s Spanish Diner, a hit for egg-centric comfort food in NYC.
In other news...
- Local Italian chain Mamma Lucia just opened its seventh area location, in Chevy Chase (5504 Connecticut Avenue NW), for carryout and delivery lunch and dinner.
- Beloved Brookland pizzeria Menomale announced a long-awaited location in NoMa will open Wednesday, February 3, at the base of the Belgard building (33 N Street NE).
- Fast-growing soul food chain Milk & Honey is teasing a new business called Milk & Cheese DMV that will focus on cheesesteaks, cheesecake, and milkshakes. Chopped winner Sammy Davis replaced H Street NE’s three-story Smith Commons last year with a new Milk & Honey outpost serving shrimp and grits, deep fried salmon hash, and seafood burger croissants.
- Hamilton Hotel’s regal wood-burning restaurant Via Sophia DC is back in business for the first time since the pandemic hit (sort of). Guests staying at the hotel can now order room service for its Neapolitan-styled pizzas and Italian wines.
- Days before President Joe Biden ate a sesame seed bagel from Call Your Mother, healthful chain Urban Plates catered to Presidents and First Ladies Obama, Bush, and Clinton. A representative for Urban Plates says it catered lunch for the high-profile group ahead of an Inauguration Day ceremony at Arlington Cemetery.