The Chesapeake Room

I’ve been in a stagnant rut, unable to find a restaurant in the District that surprised or delighted me, but that ended this morning with an accidental brunch at the Chesapeake Room in Capital Hill.

I stumbled in with my sister to avoid a debilitating wait at nearby Matchbox, and happily finding an airy, wood-panelled room hung with paintings and a pleasant, open patio. Flatware, cups and even the seating and tables all worked together and betrayed a careful curation.

The food was exceptional: An omelet with seasonal mountain cheese, wild mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, pancetta, green onions and spring peas was incredible — the peas, which I’ve never had in an omelet, offered a texture and a splash of color (esp. in contrast with the tomatoes) that defeated the bane of omelets: blandness. It came with a crispy potato-cheese fritter that is apparently new to the menu but ought to hang around. A Bloody Mary, too, was unusual — vinegary, orange and sharp the same way a South Carolina barbecue sauce is. The rest of the menu is equally intriguing, and I’ll be back again.

The only drawback? Absurdly poor service which could have ruined the meal had not the kitchen been lightening fast in turning around our orders.  Hopefully that’s a one-off.

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