Monday, April 16, 2012

Where to Eat: The Chesapeake Room

One of my friends is a paratrooper. If you follow me on Twitter, you have probably seen us interact. It is no secret that there is a rivalry between the branches of the military and needless to say, as a member of Army Special Forces, paratroop was none too pleased that on Saturday night I ended up on Barracks Row, a place filled with Marines. I would type some of his comical gems here, but I’d rather not get investigated by the FCC. He eventually forgave me for hanging out in “enemy territory,” however, once I explained that I found a place that featured Mid-Atlantic cuisine and specialty whiskey cocktails. He understands my Maryland roots and whiskey obsession and sent me this as a peace offering (photo credit:

I had never tried the Chesapeake Room before Saturday. In fact, most of the times I end up on Barracks Row I am taking shots or pounding beers, very classily, at Molly Malone’s or The Ugly Mug. So on Saturday, after leaving the Nats game, my friends Amanda, Rob, and I wanted to go someplace new for dinner. I suggested walking to Barracks Row; Amanda had never been to this part of town and I knew that since the weather was nice there would be a lot of people out and about. I was right, Barracks Row was packed! As we walked along, Rob suggested that we try The Chesapeake Room. We checked out the menu, I saw Mid-Atlantic cuisine and specialty southern cocktails and was sold. My friends agreed. We put our names down on the list and waited for our table at the bar. (photo credit:

While waiting for our table, we checked out the drink menu. As if I didn’t already think this restaurant was right up my alley because of its name and the use of Old Bay in most dishes, the specialty cocktails were a mother ship calling me home. Not only was there a drink called the “Seersucker Jacket” (Note: The name of this drink made my little heart beat faster thinking about a cute boy I know that loves seersucker just as much as I do), but they had a custom cocktail that was made with Maker’s Mark, as well. I was in heaven. Rob tried the seersucker jacket, Amanda had the Sweet Emily, and I stayed true to my whiskey roots and ordered a Horse’s Neck.

I do have to point out, though, that one of the only downsides of our night at The Chesapeake Room was the long wait time. Since it was such a gorgeous night, tables were moving slowly and we waited over an hour to be seated, despite being told that our wait would be a half an hour, max. However, I can’t say we minded waiting at the bar too much after one sip of our drinks. (photo credit:

After waiting a little while longer, we were taken to a semi-circle leather booth. The Chesapeake Room offers outdoor patio seating, indoor seating, as well as a full bar. While we would have loved to sit outside, since the weather was perfect, there were no tables available. So for those of you wanting to check it out, make sure you call ahead! (photo credit:

Once seated, we took a look at the menu, and Captain Loves Anything With Crab And Old Bay (also known as Red White & Bourbon), took all of three seconds before deciding on the cream of crab soup and crabcakes for my meal. However, Amanda and Rob took their time perusing the menu and we chatted while deciding what to order. Our waiter stopped by to take our order for appetizers - Rob and I each ordered the cream of crab soup and Amanda ordered scallops on a mushroom risotto. Since we weren’t fully ready to order our meals, he gave us a few more minutes to look over the menu.

The appetizers arrived shortly thereafter. The soup was divine. Although a little thinner than I am used to, the chunks of crab meat and just the right amount of Old Bay made it heavenly. Amanda’s scallops and risotto were delicious as well. The scallops were grilled to perfection and the mushroom risotto was the ideal accent.

But, here is where I have one other complaint. We never saw the waiter again until 15 minutes after the food runner delivered our appetizers. I have been a server and understand that things are crazy during peak meal times. The restaurant was extremely busy, but the fact that we had to flag our waiter down just to order our meal was a little ridiculous. Fortunately, we weren’t in a huge rush and were enjoying chatting with each other so this was just a minor annoyance to us, but had we been pressed for time it would have been very upsetting.

Once we placed our orders (crabcakes for myself and Rob, hanger steak for Amanda) we continued chatting and waited for our meals. The waiter brought some amazing cornbread between our appetizers and entrees and soon our meals arrived. First, there was enough food to feed an army. Second, it was delicious. I devoured mine in a very unladylike fashion, I’m sure. The crabcakes were phenomenal. They were made from lump crab meat with very little filler and just the right amount of Old Bay; served with homemade coleslaw and mac ‘n cheese, it was my sown little piece of Southern/Maryland heaven. We also ordered Chesapeake fries to share (yes, they are steak fries covered in Old Bay, yes they are everything I imagined). Amanda really enjoyed her hanger steak as well it was cooked exactly as ordered and tasted great.

Overall, I recommend The Chesapeake Room for dinner and drinks. The specialty cocktails are delicious and the food was wonderful. I will absolutely be back!

Happy Seersucker Season,

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