My favorite part of The Chesapeake Room is the decor. Everything inside looks absolutely beautiful and hand-crafted. There aren’t many bars I would call elegant, but this one is a beautiful maple color and has some of the highest and most comfortable bar stools.
When Chesapeake Room opened on Memorial Day 2010 I was there just one week later, and the place was still working out the kinks. One year later, I think some of its dishes are just amazing. The restaurant has what it calls a simple mission, highlighting products from Mid-Atlantic farms and waters, so you can taste how fresh all the ingredients are.
Even though the menu changes constantly, I’m so happy the Fried Green Tomato Crab Stack hasn’t disappeared yet, as it’s my favorite dish. The standout has Maryland crab in between two crunchy and hot pieces of fried tomatoes. The crab is cold, and the different textures and temperatures really play off each other. Funny thing is that my eyes kept being drawn to the cherry red tomatoes on the side — they were the brightest I’ve ever seen.
Another great appetizer is the Seared Scallops. The carrot chips on top are delicious, but the presentation is ruined a bit by having them right on top of the scallops, thereby hiding the star of the dish. But the scallops have a killer gritty flavor. I’m definitely not a fan of the Pan roasted Atlantic Calamari; it is just too tough and chewy.
With a name like Chesapeake Room, one would almost think the menu would be filled with just seafood, but you can also choose a Bison Burger, Free Range Chicken, Braised Lamb Leg and more. And the restaurant still boasts “Herbivores have no fear; our Chefs will happily create something you will love.” Always good to know. Still, my favorite entree is a seafood one, Pan Roasted Skate Wing, perfect with a crisp outside and flaky flesh.
Be sure to try the ginger cheesecake for dessert, and Chesapeake’s patio on the days that it actually wants to be warm. If you’re looking to taste something else from Chesapeake owner Xavier Cervera, you can go to the newly opened Senart’s Oyster & Chop House right across the street.
The Chesapeake Room is located at 501 8th Street SE. The closest metro stop is Eastern Market (Orange/Blue Lines). For more information, call (202) 543-1445.