Ladies, do I have a guy for you. My babe of a cousin, Mikey, just moved to Baltimore. He’s tall (6’5″), handsome (one of those All-American boys with a perfect smile), works in finance (financially responsible!), and has a heart of gold. Feel free to leave your numbers in the comments.
Mikey used to pull my hair when I was five and make my life miserable by stealing my teddy bear, but I didn’t hold that against him when I invited him to brunch. That said, he goes by Mike now—but he’ll always be Mikey to me.
He came in town for the weekend, and we spent the weekend carousing on U Street Bars, and then headed over to Barracks Row to explore a new part of town, for brunch.
We began with coffee. A coffee aficionado, I appreciate that you can order an individual French press, a French press for the table, or cold brew coffee, which I love regardless of season.
Additionally, the Chesapeake Room has several coffee cocktails. We sampled the cold brew mint mojito. Compass offers a Mint Cold Brew during the summer, which was spectacular. You can have the mint iced coffee—but with rum—all season at Chesapeake Room. Mikey was initially hesitant about coffee and mint—but agreed it was refreshing and a unique, delightful flavor pairing.
The second coffee cocktail was a Maple Bourbon coffee toddy. Served warm, it was cozy and rich, with flavors of maple, coffee, cinnamon, and spice. It was the perfect fit with chicken and waffles and I’d like to drink this cocktail all winter long. Chesapeake Room also serves the classics, a Bloody Mary (mild or hot), a peach Bellini, and a Mimosa. The cocktails are $7, but the mimosa is priced at $5. The brunch menu is comprehensive without being overwhelming. There are a few healthy options—two salads, and a yogurt, granola, and apples option. The rest of the menu is heavy—plenty of meat and Southern comfort food. It goes with the cozy, masculine décor. For our appetizers, we tried the deviled eggs with bacon—a favorite appetizer of mine—and the Hominy gratin. The deviled eggs were flavorful, made with a lot of Dijon mustard, and topped with little crunchy bits of bacon. They were absolutely great, and a generous portion of four eggs.
The Hominy gratin was a memorable, unique dish. For reference, Hominy is made from dried maize kernels, it’s essentially squishy chunks of corn. It’s gluten-free, made from corn, but not exactly healthy. This dish, served in a skillet, was a creamy, cheesy baked goodness made with Frito crumbs, chunks of bacon, and topped with a fried egg. It was basically mac-and-cheese, but made with corn, loaded with bacon, and topped with fried egg. It was delicious—and a unique dish worth the visit to Chesapeake Room. If you’re a Southern belle, you’ve got to try it.
For our entrées, we both wanted the same two dishes, which made it easy to share. First up, the chicken and waffles, which we chose to be spicy. The hot and spicy chicken was served atop moist, fluffy waffles with Sorghum butter instead of syrup, though you could hardly tell the difference. The chicken was incredibly moist, and the breading crispy and spicy. It didn’t need the Sorghum butter sauce—but the sweet and spicy combo with the moist chicken and waffles was incredibly satisfying.
Our second entrée was less impressive. We ordered the three fried eggs with Andouille sausage and hash browns. The eggs were prepared correctly, over medium, atop the style of hash browns I hate—those little square cubes. It was a beige dish, as we were hard pressed to find any sausage amid all the eggs and potatoes. Fortunately, we had enough hearty food on the table that it didn’t matter much.
Abiding by the Bitch rules, we ordered beignets for dessert. Because, if there are doughnuts (or their distant relatives) on the menu, the Bitches must order. “These are like fluffy clouds of cinnamon toast crunch,” said Mikey. He was right. Served warm in a batch of four, the beignets were coated in cinnamon sugar, with a moist, fluffy dough inside. They were served with a cinnamon sugar glaze for dipping, which added more moisture, cinnamon and sweetness.
The Bitches say: A. A really beautiful space with great cocktails, passionate service, and hearty brunch dishes. The eggs and sausage was just so-so, or else it would have earned an A+.
The Chesapeake Room
501 8th St. S.E.
The Chesapeake Room serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.