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Chesapeake Grille, Crystal City Hyatt - Closed


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For reasons that defy a simple explanation, my husband and I had dinner last night at the Chesapeake Grill inside the Crystal City Hyatt. When we read the website and saw that it had been named "Best of the Best" multiple times by Phyllis Richman at the Taste of Arlington Food Show, we knew it was going to be an experience. Up 18 stories and overlooking the river and national airport, it lives up to the reputation of DC area restaurants with a great view.

As we got off of the elevator, we were relieved to find that a handful of guests were dining. (We were quite worried we would be alone.)

Our meals began with a glass of Cava for me and a glass of Shiraz for my husband. We were also served a warm bread basket. It contained both sour dough and rye bread. It appeared to be nuked sandwich bread. That came along with butter, pesto, and olive oil. None of which tasted particularly fresh but wasn't bad.

To start, I had the organic mixed greens with pomegranate vinaigrette, and my husband had the hearts of romaine. My salad was doused in a pinkish colored oil. It seemed they had forgotten to shake the bottle of vinaigrette. The hearts of romaine were dressed with a commercial quality Caesar dressing. Both were served on ice cold, dewy plates.

For dinner I had the house specialty- 98% crab crab cakes. Perfectly ice-cream scooped, they were broiled and served with fingerling potatoes and grilled asparagus. The crab cakes had more mayo than would qualify them as “98% crab” by weight or volume which makes me think they actually meant the crab portion of the crab cake was 98% crab and 2% “other”. They were nothing special, they tasted fine. The asparagus wasn’t over cooked. This plate was by far the best food we were served that night. In contrast, my husband’s meal was the worst thing we had all night. He got the sundried tomato crusted halibut, served with buttermilk polenta and a spinach and wild mushroom hash. I thought the fish dish sounded gross when he ordered it and it looked even nastier when it arrived. The fish was cooked beyond the point of being classified as overcooked. As Tom Colicchio would say “they did not respect the ingredient”. The polenta was gummy and had a texture that reminded me of those pillows filled with little silicone beads.

All of their desserts except for the ice cream and sorbet are made in house. We shared the flourless chocolate cake. It came ice cold and rock hard with 3 half-dollar sized polka dots of Hershey’s strawberry syrup and a teaspoon sized dollop of whipped topping with three tiny blueberries on top of it. It reminded me of what is served at a wedding or Bar Mitzvah when they need to find an fancy sounding Kosher pareve dessert.

The service was friendly and attentive. For example, when our appetizers arrived our waiter took the pepper mill from the empty table next to us and offered freshly ground pepper for our salads. His commentary on the difficulty of assessing which customers he needs to card was hilarious. Our table had a stunning view of Arlington, Alexandria and Reagan which added to the already romantic ambiance. It is probably safe to assume that the food we were served is the same as what they serve at the events hosted there. It both looked and tasted like the worst kind of corporate banquet food.

With tax and tip: $115. Conclusion: The perfect restaurant to take your professional escort when you don't want your wife to know you are not actually on a business trip and you want to be sure you won't run into anyone you know.

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"With tax and tip: $115. Conclusion: The perfect restaurant to take your professional escort when you don't want your wife to know you are not actually on a business trip and you want to be sure you won't run into anyone you know."

An absolute pleasure to read this review with an interesting summation of a possible evening's activities...at the restaurant.

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An absolute pleasure to read this review with an interesting summation of a possible evening's activities...at the restaurant.

Agreed, mmusiker - a fun read!

I know it's a common misspelling, but I'm surprised that a Hyatt - even when trying to be whimsical - would write "Lite Fair" on their lounge menu. Then again, take a gander at those wines by the glass just over to the left, and you may conclude that they don't give a flip about much of anything.

Coincidentally, this is the second time in the past week I've noticed the Cristom "Louise Vineyard" misspelled as "Christom" on a wine list (I think the other may have been Little Fountain Cafe, but I can't quite remember). It makes me wonder if places are simply cutting-and-pasting from a distributor's misspelling, not that that would be any great crime.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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