Monday, July 11, 2011

Bowie Restaurant Project: (3) Chesapeake Grille & Deli

For an explanation of the Bowie Restaurant Project, look here.

For a collection of all the Bowie Restaurant Project entries, look here.

Chesapeake Grille & Deli, 6786 Race Track Rd
Most Recent Foursquare Check-in: 7/7/2011
Total Foursquare Check-ins:7
Pre-Foursquare Visits: No
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Christina has a rule about restaurants -- don't eat anywhere that spells "grill" with an "e" -- that's what you find on a car, not in a kitchen. The Chesapeake Grille is good enough to make us break that rule.

Salem enjoys their sweet potato fries.
As someone whose mom brought me to Hilltop Plaza for shopping in the 1970s, it's kind of amazing that it's turned into such a great little shopping center. But we find ourselves coming here all the time. As someone who can't stand Whole Foods, MOM's Organic Market is the perfect place to shop for tasty foods without a lot of weird ingredients. And the Kid's First Swim School is a great place for "Mommy & Me" swim classes (or as we parents of twins call it, "Mommy & Daddy & Him & Me".)

After swim class, we invariably find ourselves heading over to the Chesapeake Grille. Everyone is always great to the boys, but their "no tipping" policy always leaves me a bit uncomfortable as they turn our table into a minor disaster area.

But no matter, because it's off to the counter to order our meal. Most items have been hits, including the tuna melt (made with real slices of tuna), the turkey melt, and the fries (both the Old Bay-laden ones and the sweet potato ones). They bring it to the table, and are usually good at identifying places to put down the food that the boys won't disrupt.

The Chesapeake Grille has only been open in Bowie since late May, but it already has attracted quite a following. We run into the same "regulars" on different visits, and if we are there during peak meal hours, most tables are filled. They've already got 235 fans on Facebook, and it took me 6 visits to grab the mayorship on Foursquare -- both signs they have devoted customers on-line and off.

So why don't I give it five stars? Well, I'll knock off half of a star because not every item on the menu has been a home run. I don't think I'll get the hamburger again, and Christina wasn't thrilled when she ordered a hot dog. (On the other hand, on our last trip, I got the crab cake sandwich and she got the Chesapeake Salad with salmon, and we were both delighted.) I'll deduct another half a star because it doesn't really enhance the variety of Bowie's restaurant landscape.  Nearly every dish they serve I could imagine being served at some other place -- the only real theme is the extensive use of Old Bay. But what they do, they do well. If any place can become a neighborhood institution in a month and a half, the Chesapeake Grille has accomplished it. I'm sure we'll be going back again and again.

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