I joined a large group of coworkers at this landmark Old Town Alexandria eatery that could easily be termed a museum of colonial dining. Several dishes on the menu purportedly mirror their 1780's origins so closely, you could readily imagine you're dining with old George W (the FIRST, not the 43d) himself.
While my path was a culinary dead end (I went for the prime rib, which, in my opinion, was flavorful but a bit chewy), several of my cohort found paradise with one of the quaint originals, the Gentleman's Pye. This particular dish, a very tempting bowl of lamb and beef stewed in wine with a puff pastry top crust, received rave reviews, as did the lamb chops, the pork chops, and the filets of beef ordered around the table. The assorted side dishes ordered were also well appreciated, but I noted several plates were cleared still holding large clumps of the "daily vegetables" served with most of the entrees. For my part, I particularly enjoyed the wedge salad, a crisp and refreshing quarter head of iceberg served with crumbled bleu cheese, bacon bits, thinly sliced red onion, a quartered tomato, and a tangy horseradish dressing on the side.
Gadsby's (being a tavern, doh!) has a long and varied wine list along with a good mix of traditional-style ales to quench your colonial thirst; sadly, they are not local beers, coming instead bottled from Philadelphia's Yards brewery. I would imagine Gadsby's of old served more local fare.
Overall, the ambiance is hard to beat; rustic hand-hewn floors, antique glass in the windows, and the matching antique tables. I give them high marks for service -- the restaurant handled our rather large group very well, but I have to say, at those prices, I don't expect to get a chewy prime rib. I'd still go back -- and order the Gentleman's Pye or the filet.
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