Note: This review is filled with stereotypes and conjectures. No offense is intended.
Practically every respectable city girl out there now has a gay boyfriend, am I right?
Gays and gals share a lot of similar interests—fashion, brunch, staying in shape, attractive men, and general fabulousity— to name a few. Gay boyfriends fill in where the real boyfriends cannot—they just get it. And, according to a recent article on Jezebel, there’s scientific evidence as to why the gay-gal relationship just works.
My gay boyfriend, Josh, and I have been together for three and a half years; so we’re going steady, if you will. Oddly enough, he happens to be the straightest gay man I’ve ever encountered. In fact, he’s essentially my straight boyfriend, minus the, ya know.
Like a straight man, he’s practical, sensible, and good with finances. He criticizes me for my fiscal ridiculousness, my frivolousness, and my high-maintenance-ness. I shop at Whole Foods. He shops at Safeway. I shop at Bloomingdales. He shops at Macy’s. (Another note: There is nothing wrong with Macy’s. My mother loves Macy’s. Hi Mom, I love you!) He lives in Bethesda, where his rent is literally—and this makes me nauseous—one third of what I pay in Logan Circle.
Like a straight boyfriend, he walks on the outside of the sidewalk. He holds my hand. He tells me I’m pretty without makeup on.
Like a straight boyfriend, he is on time, and he teases me in a good-natured way when I am consistently 15 minutes late.
Like a straight boyfriend, we go running together. We go hiking together. We drink beer together.
It’s basically a typical straight guy-girl relationship right down until we check out the same tall, dark, and handsome stranger and the conversation turns to matters of the heart—and how irritating the current men in our lives are.
So, when I had a Chevy Volt to cruise around in (thanks, GM Northeast!), I thought I’d bop out to Bethesda to brunch with Josh.
American Tap Room is a normal bar-and-grille-style restaurant that caters to the average American. It has a good beer list. It’s family friendly. It’s affordable. It has a huge menu.
I didn’t know much about it when they invited us for brunch. And, as the high-maintenance, often-snotty foodie (see above), I was not expecting much.
When I arrived, Josh was already seated slurping down a Bloody Mary, a bull shot Bloody, to be exact, made with vodka, beef broth and Bloody Mary mix. He said it was strong and masculine (seriously). We sat in enormous leather armchairs, which was cozy and pleasant and allowed me to snuggle in and stay awhile—there was lots of gabbing to done.
Keeping with the average American restaurant, it seems that American Tap Room is run by men named Steve. The manager, who greeted me and showed me to the table, was named Steve. The chef is named Steve. Our waiter was named Steve.
The menu boasts a slew of cocktails: Josh’s carnivorous Bloody, a Chesapeake Bloody Mary, Bloody Maria (made with tequila), a classic mimosa, peach bellini, and a blackberry bubbly.
I ordered a blackberry bubbly, which is made with champagne, pineapple juice, raspberry liqueur, fresh blackberries. I was expecting it to be syrupy sweet, but I really enjoyed it. It was light, fluffy, and just a really lovely cocktail.
My coffee was good. Just plain, good, normal coffee. Served hot with cream. The waiter kept it coming.
We began with the signature Bavarian pretzels and ordered all five dips: marshmallow, peanut butter bourbon bacon, cheddar ale, spicy horseradish, and chive mustard. We were least excited about the marshmallow dip, which ended up being quite good, and most excited about the peanut butter bourbon bacon dip, which lacked flavor and pizzaz. The cheddar ale, spicy horseradish and chive mustard were all yummy, salty, and reliable dips that were used the most for our pretzel endeavors.
Next up, the home-made powdered sugar donuts. Because, Rule No. 1 of Brunch with the Bitches: If there are doughnuts, they must be ordered. Powdered sugar honestly isn’t my favorite thing, nor my favorite type of doughnut, but these were pretty good. They were warm and comforting and less sweet than I expected: three qualities that, in my opinion, made them yummy.
For my main dish, I ordered the roasted mushroom and goat cheese scramble. The omelet was filled with enormous, fresh, yummy mushrooms and chunks of goat cheese. It was served with crispy, greasy, delicious hashbrowns, ketchup and buttery whole wheat toast. A really reliable, delicious, greasy breakfast. If I lived in Bethesda, it would be my hangover cure.
Josh had the chicken and waffles, buttermilk-marinated chicken thighs, maple syrup, and whipped butter atop a buttery, crispy Belgian waffle. He said the dish was good, but not stellar, and noted that the portion size was massive.
We also sampled the lobster and chive scramble, which was probably the weakest point of the meal. The Hollandaise sauce was too salty, heavy, and, in essence, just not that good. The lobster didn’t seem to be of the highest quality—however there was a lot of it. To a less discerning palate, this dish may be delicious. To a judgy Bitch, it was below par.
As if we hadn’t gorged ourselves enough, we ordered dessert. Because the dessert was banana bread pudding with vanilla ice cream. Bread pudding is hands down my favorite food.
I rolled myself out of this very long, very delicious brunch and was so full I didn’t eat until the next day.
The Bitches say: B+. While not gourmet cuisine, American Tap Room does what it does well— affordable, good, approachable food at affordable prices, in a comfy, relaxing ambiance with a large menu and generous portion sizes. It’s certainly better than many of the bar and grilles I’ve been to. The pretzels, scrambles, and desserts are definitely worth the trip.
American Tap Room
7278 Woodmont Ave.
American Tap Room serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays and has locations in Bethesda, Rockville, Clarendon, and in the Reston Town Center.