West Virginia comfort found in upscale diner Ted’s Bulletin

Large diner plates covered in fresh, made to order from scratch classic comfort foods are a hallmark of the DownTown Crown Ted's Bulletin restaurant

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Ted's Bulletin - Downtown Crown, Gaithersburg, MD \Image by Jacquie Kubin @CommDigiNews

DOWNTOWN CROWN, Maryland – Ted’s Bulletin, located in the Gaithersburg enclave of Downtown Crown, delivers a satisfying home-style dining experience where legacy recipes are faithfully recreated from scratch, paying homage to WWII veteran and Huntington West Virginia home chef, Ted Neal.

Returning from WWII, the Navy sailor planted a garden to ensure plenty of fresh food to use in his recipes, and share with his neighbors, friends, and family.  The restaurant is owned and operated by Ted Neal’s sons, Mark and Ty, as on of the Matchbox Food Group eateries that include Ted’s Bulletin, Matchbox, and DC-3 restaurants and they say that Neal saw food as a way to bring people together.

This philosophy is obvious at the Downtown Crown location in Gaithersburg where, when walking in from winter’s arctic blast, the greetings are warm and the smells are a combination of freshly made pastries and simmering soup.


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Images from old “I Love Lucy” TV episodes are displayed in the main room. Distressed wood stools line the front upholstered soda-and-shake bar.

Art deco-inspired fixtures, a tin ceiling, and wood wainscoting take guests back in time.

At Ted’s Bulletin, the always simmering tomato soup and grilled cheese quickly warm one up from the winter chill. The soup is thick, almost meaty, without a hint of acidity, just good warm, comforting flavor served alongside a crisply made grilled cheese sandwich that encourages multiple trips to the restaurant.

Ted’s Bulletin Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese | Image Jacquie Kubin @CommDigiNews

The large heavy dinner plates are completely covered in classic diner foods created by executive chef Frederik Talavera. Mr. Talavera loves to cook, and his face lights up when he speaks of the joy he feels when he recognizes return guests.

Chef Frederick Talavara | Image Jacquie Kubin @CommDigiNews

He says that his favorite thing about cooking at Ted’s Bulletin is “when the plates come back clean.”

For those diners who adopt Ted’s as their go to diner, the favorite thing about Mr. Talavera is the skillful manner in which he uses the freshest ingredients to create homemade dishes.

The Buttermilk Country Fried Steak, for example, is a representation of a classic Southern dish attributed to immigrants who brought Wiener Schnitzel, very tenderized meat cutlets that are dredged in buttermilk and flour and fried before being smothered in white salt and pepper gravy, from their homes in Germany to the hills of Texas.

At Ted’s, a thick piece of round steak is pounded until very tender (an important manual step that keeps many a home cook from bothering), dredged in buttermilk and flour then fried in a skillet before being covered with white gravy that retains its consistency and flavor to the end.

The buttermilk is an important step in creating country-fried steak as the tanginess balances out the savory of the gravy and meat.  The buttermilk also helps to further tenderize the meat and the gluten in the flour, keeping it crisp but tender enough to absorb the gravy and stick to the cutlet in the frying process.

The steak is complemented by a side of mashed potatoes made from a combination of Yukon gold and Russet varieties. While mashed potatoes are often little more than a conduit for gravy, butter and salt, these spuds needed none of those things.

Chicken Fried Steak | Image Jacquie Kubin @CommDigiNews

 

The secret is heavy cream simmered with black pepper, the dark granules then sieved out, allowing the flavor-enhancing spice to not overpower, or mar, the gravy’s creamy whiteness.

Chef Kevin Burgh | Image by Jacquie Kubin @CommDigiNews

Whipping potatoes smooth with plenty of high-grade butter ensures nothing else is needed.

Where opening a can of corn might make the grade in other eateries, not here. Mr. Talavera combines fresh corn from the cob that is crisp and sweet, even in cold January; chopped red and green pepper; red onion; and then finished with a hint of poblano chili, cilantro and fresh lime that balances the mild heat of the capsicum, a nod to the chef’s Mexican heritage.

Chef Kevin Burgh delivers the restaurant’s signature breakfast plate (served all day), “The Big Mark,” named for Ted’s son. “The Big Mark” is a challenge for the heartiest of appetites, but diners will appreciate all of it.

Three eggs are served any way (but choose the perfection of sunny-side up for plenty of yolk gravy to mop up with the fresh bread and hash browns), served alongside crisp bacon, pork sausage and one of Ted’s homemade pop tarts.

Ted’s Bulletin Big Mark breakfast | Image Jacquie Kubin @CommDigiNews

The tarts, made daily in the store with strawberry, salted caramel, brown sugar, and cinnamon or blueberry cheesecake fillings, are pastries worthy of taking home for a later snack.

Tarts at Ted’s Bulletin | Image Jacquie Kubin @CommDigiNews
Ted’s Bulletin Crab Eggs Benedict | Image by Jacquie Kubin @CommDigiNews

Mention you are going to Ted’s Bulletin and fans of the restaurant will quickly tell you to try the crab eggs Benedict .

Lump crabmeat is piled over toast topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce made daily in the kitchen using fresh egg yolk, lemon juice, cream and butter.

Once again whipped to the perfect consistency, the tangy sauce, savory egg and sweet crab, as Mr. Talavera says, is a combination of Maryland and good food.

Lump crabmeat is piled over toast topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce made daily in the kitchen using fresh egg yolk, lemon juice, cream, and butter.

Banana Foster with Chocolate Pie | Image by Jacquie Kubin @CommDigiNews

Once again whipped to the perfect consistency, the tangy sauce, savory egg and sweet crab, as Mr. Talavera says, is a combination of Maryland and good food.

No diner meal is complete without a sweet, and the chocolate pie, made from scratch. The pie is made using heavy cream and melted chocolate topped with freshly whipped cream supported by a flaky crust.

It is literally a throwback to those hard-to-find 1940s-style cream pies.

Accompany that pie with Bananas Foster shake, made with or without banana rum and garnished with caramel, and you have a sweet treat to finish your meal.

IF YOU GO

Ted’s Bulletin

Downtown Crown

220 Ellington Blvd.
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
(301) 990-0600

 

 

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