The Chesapeake Room, Barracks Row

For quite a while, Belga Cafe had a toehold on “Best of Barracks Row,” but my recent experiences have me favoring The Chesapeake Room.

During this frigid week, nothing can be more satisfying than ‘Tis The Season ($9), a piping hot cup of house clove rum, Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, hot apple cider, and a dash of cinnamon. It’s exactly what you want when you come in from the cold.

Mussels in restaurants have gotten extremely expensive, and the ones here are no exception. New on the December menu, the Steamed Maine Mussels ($9) offer only a dozen, but the mussels themselves are excellent, and the custardy sauce with a butter and lemon bite is just perfect with a good, tart glass of white wine. The bread, unfortunately, is neither soft enough to soak up the sauce, nor good enough to have on its own, so it just sort of sits there in a little pile.

The House Smoked Berkshire Pork Chop ($25) is double cut, cooked to a perfect medium-rare, and served with an astounding butternut squash-cauliflower purée, seasonal vegetables (squash, etc.), and finished with a pomegranate glaze. It’s a great dish that’s worth every penny.

If you don’t want to spend $25 on an entree, you can do just fine spending $15. Get the Wild Boar Stew – braised boar with root vegetables, served over mashed potatoes with hot gravy around the rim. Imagine a best-case scenario for this dish, and that’s exactly what you’ll get.

A friend also had the Bison Burger ($13), and although I didn’t try it this time (I did last time), it was hand-formed, ample, hearty, and served with Cabernet onions, white cheddar, and house-made ketchup on a ciabatta roll (not to mention a mound of hand-cut fries).

I’ve raised The Chesapeake Room to the number one position in the South Capitol Hill portion of the Dining Guide (available to participating members, and customers of only).

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