Chadwick's

American, Burgers
$$$$ ($15-$24)
'

Editorial Review

Chadwick's is the Cheers of D.C. -- it may be nondescript, but it's a nice place to go for a relaxed pint and good bar chow. Ted Danson isn't behind the bar, but whoever is probably knows the name of any patron who has been in more than once.

On those nights when a bar food craving strikes, but you still want a sit-down meal, let the friendly hostess show you to a table. The seating area on the mezzanine that overlooks the bar is a choice spot both for its attentive service and unobstructed view of the TVs for game nights. While you wait for your food, color on your paper tablecloth. Everybody does it, and if peer pressure doesn't make you pick up the crayons, the urge to scribble slurs about your team's rival will.

For libations, start out with a pint of Chadwick's Amber, brewed in Virginia, or the crisp Widmer Hefeweisen, two standouts from the list of draught beers. The wine list is nice, but the brewpub vibe is what makes Chadwick's stand out as the neighborhood place to relax in upper-crust Friendship Heights.

When you order, stick with the bar food. Appetizers are under $10 and you could make a tapas-style meal out of them. The delectable potato skins spill over with bacon and melted jack and cheddar cheeses; fried calamari and the spinach and artichoke dip also deserve a mention, although the tortilla chips verge on the greasy side.

The burgers, which hover between $8-10, are a popular choice with both bar and table patrons. Sam's turkey burger claims "It's the best!" When asked, the waiter didn't know Sam's identity but volunteered to vouch for the dish's reputation. The burger -- plump with sage, oats and brown rice -- certainly looks good, but needed mustard to spice it up a bit.

The New York steakhouse platter was a letdown by comparison and didn't live up to expectations of a flavorful, juicy steak. But the skin-on mashed potatoes on the side and veggie medley were right on. The veggies' colorful presence and perfect crispness saved the dish.

Save room for dessert! As tempting as it may be to fill up on appetizers and Guinness, the house specialty mud pie is worth it. Five dollars buys a gargantuan piece of coffee ice cream and Kahlua swirled together in a chocolate crumb crust, drenched in chocolate syrup and topped with mini chocolate chips. It rounds out a scrumptiously unhealthy dining experience, which is exactly what makes Chadwick's a welcome destination at the end of the day.

-- Connie Heiss (April 2007)