Friday, September 06, 2013

Bowie Restaurant Project: (72) Chessie's Chesapeake Grille

For an explanation of the Bowie Restaurant Project, look here.
For a list of all the Bowie Restaurant Project reviews, look here.

Chessie's Chesapeake Grille, 4500 Crain Hwy. (inside the Comfort Inn)
Most Recent Foursquare Check-in: 9/4/2013
Total Foursquare Check-ins: 2
Pre-Foursquare Visits: Not unless I ate breakfast there while staying at the Comfort Inn in 1996
Rating: 1/2 out of 5 stars

I said that Carolyn Quinn's is "what you'd expect of a home-cooked meal if you visited a friend's house who was a good cook." Chessie's is what I'd expect of a home-cooked meal if I visited a friend's house who wasn't a good cook, but I had to eat it anyway to be polite.

After I read the Gazette's article that talked about the dinner menu, I figured I would visit once for the lunch buffet and take Christina once for a nice dinner. After my visit to the lunch buffet with colleagues, I determined that Chessie's didn't deserve a separate dinner visit, and Christina didn't deserve to have to eat there.

The one good thing I can say about the buffet is that $6.99 is a low price for a buffet that includes a beverage. The day we visited, the surprisingly small selection was barbeque themed. The barbeque pork was somewhat tasty, but everything else just made me a little unhappy to eat. Maybe something you'd get in an institutional cafeteria.

When I went back for a second look (as dictated by my rules of reviewing), I was shocked to find the parking lot packed. The restaurant was equally busy. I did a quick web search to see if there was a big meeting that day (my high school actually had its ten-year reunion there), but instead I found that a lot of "lunch bunches" -- Masons, churches, firefighters and whatnot -- have outings to Chessie's on various days. Most of the patrons looked like they were on such outings, and they were disproportionately elderly. If thirty years on, I am with a group of retirees eating such uninspired food, I shall be very sad.

I just wanted to check the box of my second visit and skedaddle, but it took a lot of imploring from the wait staff to cough up my check.

In the end, I wavered between a half-star and one star. Nothing about the experience was awful. Just not good. But I return to my opening post on this project, "Rather than rating solely on quality and value, I am also going to judge how much the restaurant contributes to the Bowie restaurant landscape." As far as I can tell from my visits, Chessie's causes people to eat there rather than at some better establishment in or around Bowie. So half a star.

Bowie Restaurant News

Irie Cafe interior, September 1
I snapped the photo at right of the Irie Cafe while visiting the similarly-named Chesapeake Grille & Deli last weekend. They seem to be making good progress.

It turns out I was mistaken to say that Hunan Delight is takeout-only. They have a small dining area that I somehow missed the last time I was in there. I have to add them back on the list.

So I now am down to eight reviews to go. As I near the end of this project, I've started turning my eye to more restaurants outside of Bowie. (I also am looking to recommend places to co-workers who don't care whether something is in Bowie or just nearby.) In my continued quest for good Thai food, we visited the recently-opened Thai at Waugh Chapel. From one visit, I would say it was very good. Well-decorated, good service, tasty food. Not the best place for kids, but the staff was friendly to them. I would say it noses out Lemongrass in Crofton for best local Thai food. I may do a "Beyond Bowie" post there, if it holds up after subsequent visits.

I was sad to see that the Sly Horse Tavern in Crofton closed down. While I have only been there once in the past fifteen years, I thought it was nice for Croftonites (I once was one) to have a walkable dinner option.

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