Melina, from the team behind the fast-casual Cava, is already one of Montgomery County’s best

Image courtesy of The Washington Post

From The Washington Post, December 21, 2021 at 8:00 a.m. EST

By Tom Sietsema, Food critic

Unrated during the pandemic

Aris Tsekouras never had to audition for the top cooking slot at the new Melina in North Bethesda. His bread, which he promoted on Instagram, did the job for him. One taste of the chef’s koulouri, or sesame sourdough, was sufficient proof of talent for the restaurateur who ended up hiring him at the modern Greek establishment.

“So much love into something simple,” says Dimitri Moshovitis, among the founders of Cava, the Mediterranean fast-casual brand. “This is the guy I want to run this restaurant.”

Melina joins Julii, an upscale French-Mediterranean restaurant, also from the Cava creators, in the high-end Pike & Rose complex. The fresh face borrows the name of Moshovitis’s 12-year-old daughter and honors the influence of matriarchs in the owners’ business, says Moshovitis, whose co-founders include Ted Xenohristos and Ike Grigoropoulos. Created in 2011, Cava has grown to more than 150 stores. Introduced in November, Melina is already one of the best restaurants to alight in Montgomery County in recent memory.

You can taste what I mean by asking for the tuna tataki. Slices of raw tuna are nothing new, but they seem novel when they’re fanned over a base of crumbled cauliflower jump-started with pickled mustard seeds, enlivened with lemon dressing and ringed with shimmering chive oil. A quick encounter with a blow torch gives the tuna a rosy complexion.

Raise your hand if you’ve seen beef tartare on a menu. Is that a sea of hands going up? No appetizer has had more exposure during the pandemic, partly because it’s a smart use of meat trimmings when restaurants are trying to be as frugal as possible. Melina rewards takers with raw beef shot through with minced pickled cabbage, pickled mustard seeds, cured lemon — ingredients associated with Greece’s beloved stuffed cabbage, but topped off here with a crisp rice cracker.

Octopus makes almost as many appearances on restaurant menus as beef tartare. The version at Melina is Greek to the extent the grilled seafood arrives with balsamic vinegar and fava bean puree, along with luscious caramelized onions. The elusive floral note wafting from the dish, which is brightened with a parsley emulsion enriched with the octopus-braising liquid, turns out to be vanilla, which the chef adds as contrast to the salinity of the centerpiece.

Read the rest of this stupendous review at

Melina. 905 Rose Ave., North Bethesda. 301-818-9090. Open for indoor dining 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Prices: Mezze $12 to $20, main courses $20 to $44. Sound check: 70 decibels/Conversation is easy. Accessibility: No barriers at entrance; ADA-compliant restrooms.

Two closings at Pike & Rose


Pike & Rose gift shop checks out

Gift shop Olive & Loom will close its doors in the next few weeks after nearly three years at Pike & Rose. Owner Ferzan Jaeger says she’s moving the business to Kensington, where it will share space with her candle-making company Kin & Care

Goodbye Taylor Gourmet… again

This week we also bid adieu to Taylor Gourmet at Pike & Rose, a restaurant that’s been cursed with some truly terrible timing. This location opened in May 2018 and closed just four months later, after its parent company went out of business (more here). The restaurant reopened under new ownership in October 2019, just a few months before the start of the pandemic.

The Pick-Up at Pike & Rose

Introducing a brand new, convenient way to buy online for same-day pick-up at your favorite Pike & Rose stores. Whether it’s a last-minute hostess gift or you’ve walked out of the house without mascara on, download Pick Up – Pike & Rose from the App Store and start shopping today!

The Pick-Up, a contactless curbside service, is here! Place your orders with your favorite Pike & Rose shops and restaurants, park in a designated pick-up spot, and let them know you’ve arrived. Click here to view a map that highlights each pick-up area at Pike & Rose.

NoBe Market opens loft apartments

NoBe Markets’ brand-new LOFT APARTMENTS are pre-leasing! And they’re offering a Look and Lease Special with a WAIVED amenity fee if you lease your apartment home within 48 hours of your first tour.

NoBe’s brand-new and luxurious studio, one-, and two-bedroom loft apartments are guaranteed to upgrade your lifestyle. Every sophisticated loft boasts distinctive wood-style flooring and an oversized open-concept living area, forming an unparalleled blank canvas. Go ahead, sculpt your home’s interior to perfection as you reach new heights of enjoyment with soaring 13-foot to 18-foot ceilings and the striking aesthetic of floor-to-ceiling windows that provide a swanky look that delivers an abundance of natural light and airflow. Exposed ductwork and concrete add visual impact and character to your space. Authentic Italian doors and cabinetry offers stylish design made of the finest quality, while designer-inspired kitchens feature GE stainless steel appliances and chic granite countertops. Enjoy the energy and water efficiency of a personal front load washer/dryer while filling your oversized walk-in closets with your fabulous wardrobe. Marvel at the comfort and convenience of smart home technology. Your new Nest thermostat promises to keep the temperature consistent with its self-learning features. A complete list of loft amenities is listed below. Representing a peerless addition to North Bethesda’s high-end apartment scene, NoBe’s lofts offer an airy oasis above the urban landscape below. You’ll quickly see, its the little touches of luxury that set these residences apart in a BIG way.

Contact the leasing office to schedule a tour at 301-907-3817

Letters to the North Pole Package at the North Bethesda Marriott

Bright shiny red mailbox for children to mail letters to Santa Claus

Need to Know

  • Breakfast for two daily
  • Surprises and Enchantment
  • Promotional Code: ES1 
  • Valid Stay Dates: November 14, 2021 – December 28, 2021


Letters to North Pole Package enjoy a stay filled with fun and surprises.

Let your little one write their own personal letter to Santa on stationary and mail it to the North Pole from our special mailbox in our lobby. The Bethesda North Marriott Hotel brings enchantment to your little one with our Letters to North Pole Package our package includes-

Guest Room – 1 King or 2 Doubles
Surprise Milk and Cookies in the Room
Breakfast for two in The Corby Kitchen ( Children under 10 dine free)
Stationary for you to mail your letter to Santa in our North Pole Mailbox.

All Aboard the Polar Express at NoBe Market

Join NoBe Market on the Plaza December 4th at 5:30 pm for a FREE magical movie screening of the Christmas classic, The Polar Express!

Arrive early to claim a spot by one of the outdoor patio heaters and to grab yourself a hot chocolate or hot espresso from Maui Wowi food truck before departure.

Bring your own blankets, cozy lawn chairs, and get ready for a magical night under the stars.

This is a free event for all ages but an Eventbrite ticket is encouraged to secure your ticket to the North Pole. Register here.