It was an Old Town weekend. After a long night of tapas eating, salsa dancing, and hookah smoking at Las Tapas (a dimly lit, sexy little hole-in-the-wall on King Street), I dragged myself back said neighborhood for an 11 a.m. birthday brunch.
We let the birthday girl, Liz, pick the spot, and she chose the laid-back hideout Chadwicks. But, first, everyone had to find it.
The restaurant is off Union Street towards the water. Its definitely off the beaten path, and as I was directing people to it, I realized I was yelling “Just walk towards the water and the big empty lot!” into my phone from the middle of the restaurant.
It was a cold, clear day. One of those days when there’s not a cloud in the sky but the air is simply frigid. The freezing wind was whipping off the Potomac’s water. I felt bad for my lost Bitches, wandering around the back roads of Old Town looking for this joint.
Brooke and I arrived early, so we plopped ourselves at a big round table on the second floor and ordered what looked like the best option to soak up our headaches—the beef brisket sliders.
Maybe it was our hangovers, or our hunger, but those sliders were delicious. Three bite-sized burgers, thick with meat, and succulent. They were piled high with pulled pieces of beef and covered in sweet barbecue sauce. The buns were slightly toasted buttered brioche, and there was a horseradish aioli on the side. Amazing.
OK. Now that we had some food in our stomachs, we could focus on our surroundings. The restaurant itself is dressed up like an antique ship. It’s all dark wood and nautical-themed knick knacks.
It’s been there since 1967, which isn’t really old compared to the rest of ancient Old Town, but it tries to be—down to the gold plaque by the front door that indicates the high water mark of the last historic hurricane. That would be Isabel in 2003.
There’s a converted alley to the side of their restaurant that they’ve turned into a sun room with tables. It’s got potted plants and windows, and the walls are exposed brick. Like the side room at Columbia Firehouse down the street, it’s a sunny alternative to the dark bar inside.
Sidenote: There’s a sign on the door that says “Sorry pardners. Unless you’re the law, please leave your side arms in the car,” that I found rather hilarious.
The server was laid back, and looked hungover himself. His hair was in a pony tail and he was scruffy. He quickly brought us water and coffee, and then handed us the enormous brunch menu. The menu is huge, really, but well-organized into sections: soups and starters, brunch classics, burgers, sandwiches, salads, comforts, chefs specialties, and sides.
There are some Cajun influences on the menu (the Jambalaya scramble), some Mexican influences (the burrito), even some New England influences (clam chowder—a house recipe for 32 years—and crab cakes). Hell, there’s even bangers and mash from jolly old England and a smoked Scottish salmon bagel from even further north. Either this chef is a worldly man or he’s having an identity crisis.
Once the birthday girl arrived, decked out from head to toe in her favorite shade of purple (really. Even down to the Michael Kors signature bag in purple. Where do you even find that?!), we started popping bottles like a G6.
Chadwick’s has a decent deal for brunch beverages: mimosas, Bloody Marys or screwdrivers for $3 a piece. Or bottles of cava for $9. The cava tasted pretty cheap, though, and on top of my hangover I couldn’t stomach much. But, it was ideal for toasting the birthday girl, Miss Liz.
We ALL wanted the burrito. It sounded perfect: three scrambled eggs with Andouille sausage, onions, cheddar jack cheese and salsa fresca. Then, the server said they were out of the burrito. We all cried loudly. “How do you run out of a burrito? Do you mean you are out of the tortillas? Or are you out of eggs? Because if you’re out of eggs we might be leaving.” and so on went our whining.
In my disappointment I ordered—what else?—the Benny. But this time I went with the steak Benedict, just to mix it up a bit. At Chadwicks they call it the Eggs Omar, and it’s two poached eggs on top of grilled tenderloin steak strips, which are on top of an English muffin. It’s topped with a Bearnaise sauce, which honestly didn’t taste of much. I gobbled up the dish because I was starving, not because it was awesome.
The croissant sandwich was greasy. It had baked ham inside, cheddar cheese, two eggs, and home fries on the side. It was one big plate of grease, and not so tasty.
Liz’s husband ordered off the “comfort” section of the menu and went for the fried chicken. The tiny, pathetic little piece of fried chicken was presented next to a buttermilk biscuit and a small dish of mac and cheese. I laughed pretty hard at this dish. All the pieces were sliding around.
Another Bitch ordered the three egg omelet. Along with three eggs, you get your pick of three ingredients, from peppers and spinach to sausage, bacon, and a variety of cheeses. You can also get toast or home fries on the side, but this bitch got a bagel instead. Meh.
Overall, the food was mediocre but the company made it a fun brunch.
The Bitches say: C. Subpar food, average service, an average drink deal, and a hard-to-find location.
203 The Strand