Friday, April 11, 2014

The Chesapeake Room

From the owners of Lola's and Molly Malone's, the Chesapeake Room on Barracks Row brings an organic, sustainable and free range dining experience while highlighting a passion for all that our beautiful Mid-Atlantic waters has to offer. Closest Metro is Eastern Market.

June 2010: On a balmy 100 degree summer afternoon, we decided to check out the Chesapeake Room for lunch. The only seats available were outside on the patio, and although it was very hot out, it is at least covered with some outdoor fans blowing. Inside, the large bar overwhelms the already narrow layout so I would most likely prefer to sit outside on future occasions. The brunch menu is limited, yet showcases their classic seafood dishes. Our server was friendly and did not rush us, yet only offered us more water after we had finished our meal. The food was very flavorful and fresh, however slightly smaller portions than expected, especially for the price. Overall, the food was good and having another restaurant option along Barracks Row is always welcomed.

Picture via Chesapeake Room website
May 2011: Went back for dinner and we were seated out on the covered patio again, which was nice since the weather was so pleasant and inside was a bit loud. Keith noticed a new local beer on the menu and decided to try the DC Brau. He liked it, although it was a little too heavy for my tastes. We both ordered seafood and everything was very fresh with seasonal flavors. Not overcooked which allowed the clean flavors of the fish to sing, yet the preparation of Keith's entree was a little plain. Again, the only downside is the portions are on the smaller side. I was not stuffed after sharing an appetizer, having a full entree and a glass of wine. All in all, the Chesapeake Room continues to be a success along Barracks Row.

June 2012: After spending several hours walking around and enjoying Artomatic, I was in the mood for some snacks and drinks and wanted to enjoy the gorgeous weather we were having by finding some place with outdoor seating.  We headed towards Barracks Row and noticed most everywhere was packed with diners who had the same idea as me. The Chesapeake Room had a couple open tables on their covered patio, so we settled here.  As usual, service was relaxed and not pushy, allowing us to enjoy a drink before ordering any food.  We settled on a couple appetizers, thinking this was all that we would need, but stayed long enough that our appetites grew a bit.  The fried oysters were creamy and tasted very much like their brother restaurant's preparation, but with only 4 pieces was pretty scarce.  The shrimp and hummus dish was surprisingly light yet overwhelming full of garlic.  So much that it almost burned my tongue and left a strong after taste hours later, even after brushing my teeth twice! As mentioned, these two items would have been enough hadn't we stayed longer.  Keith then ordered the bison burger and although it had great flavor, the meat was slightly overcooked. Also, he was not the biggest fan of the ciabbata roll.  I snagged a couple of the Chesapeake fries and really liked the thick cut.  I just needed a little something extra, so ordered a side of the macaroni and cheese.  I regret that I did, because even though it came presented in a mini black cast iron  pot, it was lukewarm at best and runny giving a more macaroni salad feel rather than a thick and homey baked macaroni and cheese.  Disappointing.  Regardless, the food, chill service, outdoor ambience, and easy accessibility give the Chesapeake Room a slight edge over others.

April 2014:  Finally, some decent 70 degree warm weather has arrived in DC.  The cherry blossoms are at peak bloom and Spring is fully 'turning out'.  It was a Friday, and Keith had the day off, so when I got home from work I suggested we go out to eat and enjoy the evening.  Loving the covered patio at the Chesapeake Room, we headed there.  It was early enough that we were the first ones seated.  We looked over the drink menu and Keith ordered a 'house libation' - the Moscow Mule.  Their version is made with orange vodka and ginger beer, and was the perfect bright cocktail for this warm evening.  I settled on my go-to glass of wine, Riesling.

We decided to start off sharing a couple appetizers.  First, we picked a light salad of Shrimp & Avocado.  Pieces of marinated lime shrimp, avocado, watercress, and cilantro were tossed with spinach and a light citrus vinaigrette.  It was a healthy starter, but nothing that exciting.

Next, we shared the Crab Corn Jalapeno Fritters that came with a zesty avocado cream.  These little bites were pretty tasty and full of the crab filling.  I was debating ordering actual crab cakes, but these hit the spot just fine.  A bright twist on the classic seafood starter that paired well with my crisp white wine. 

Keith chose one more starter - the Duck n’ Cheese.  A macaroni & cheese dish made with white cheddar, duck confit, sliced tomatoes, spinach, and shiitake mushrooms.  The macaroni was very hot and comforting, with the duck giving an extra gamey flavor.  It was not my favorite, but I liked the vegetables in the dish.

After finishing the appetizers, we ordered another round of drinks and just relaxed a bit.  More people had arrived to fill out the patio, and we enjoyed chatting and hanging out.  Our server did not bother us at all, so it was very pleasant.  After an hour or so, we decided we could order one more thing to share.  We settled on the Hot Virginia Ham & Brie Sandwich.  The ham was thickly sliced and had a nice sweet flavor accented by a grilled apple chutney.  The apple chutney also perfectly paired with the melted brie.  The roll was great as well, and the side of fries was just enough to fill us both up.

Overall we had another enjoyable evening on the patio at the Chesapeake Room.  The seasonal menu is ever changing and always presents something interesting.

Total Rating: 4.05
Food: 4, Price: 4, Service: 4, Ambience: 4, Accessibility: 5
What Micky Eats...

What I ate:

Cherrystone Clams
with ramp pesto, pistachio bread, and orange preserves

Scallops and Shrimp
in a lemon butter clam sauce with zucchini and new potatoes

Shrimp and Grits
Atlantic shrimp in a Sherry-lobster cream sauce
served with a stone-ground grit croquette, house pancetta, tomato relish

Buttermilk Soaked Fried Oysters
with herb aioli

Smoked Shrimp and Chickpea Hummus
extra virgin olive oil, paprika,crispy lavash, Mediterranean olives

Macaroni & Cheese

Plus Keith ate:
Pan seared Flounder
in a lobster sauce with shredded squash and fingerling sweet potatoes

Chilled Seafood Bliss Salad
clams, mussels, Atlantic shrimp, bay scallops, squid
served over a bed of mixed greens with a Champagne and citrus vinaigrette
Gunpowder Farms Bison Burger
Virginia cheddar, shaved onion, Chesapeake aioli,
fried green tomato, with Chesapeake fries

The Chesapeake Room on Urbanspoon

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