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Visiting an old friend: Federal House Bar & Grille

| January 22, 2017, 04:16 PM

When I dine out, I try to frequent different places. Of course, I have my go-to places for my “comfort food” like Caliente, Sin Fronteras, Main & Market (formerly Main Ingredient), and McDonalds (JK); but last night my girlfriend and I visited an old friend–Federal House Bar & Grille.

First off…it is winter, and Fed House has absolutely THE best hot chocolate in town. Period. End of conversation.

But back to dinner. My girlfriend and I had not been to Federal House together and last weekend we decided to give it a shot…and we’re glad we did.  We rolled in on a Saturday night around 7pm without reservations and were able to find a table in the semi-crowded dining room–this is a plus and bodes well for them. We passed another restaurant on the way and it was empty except for four Mids sharing a pitcher of beer.

The service was prompt and Victoria, our server, was right on top of things. Their beer menu is extensive. Really extensive. If you are a beer nerd–this is a very solid choice for bottles, cans, and draughts.

We ordered a plate of wings to start and they were good–solid. There are better in town, and there are a lot worse. You won’t be disappointed.

For the entrees, my girlfriend went with a single crabcake dinner which included a mixed vegetable side, and rice pilaf.  I do not do seafood (with one exception) and the report from across the table was that it was “really, really good.” It had a lot of crab meat with little filler. Flakey, and very flavorful. We did not ask but assumed that since the Chesapeake Blue Crab is out of season, this was likely imported.  A solid win on the crabcake. $18.99.

For my entree, I was conflicted.

There was a special called Baseball Sirloin–and I am not sure of the reference but it was a 10 oz center cut certified Angus beef served over roasted fingerling potatoes and smothered in a house-made blue cheese butter. $18.99.

And then there was a house specialty, the Chicken Diablo.  Rosemary grilled chicken breast tossed with penne pasta, tomato, herbs, and Parmesan cheese in a spicy teriyaki sauce. 16.99. Now I like spicy and some heat in most of my meals, so this was a contender as well. In the end, I could not decide, and Victoria, our server, insisted both were great…so I left the choice up to her and told her to surprise me!

The  Chicken Diablo it was. The pasta was served up in a bowl with a plentiful portion of sliced, charred chicken on the top. The sauce had the kick to it that I like. Not overpowering but very good. The description said it was a teriyaki sauce, but I could not pick that out in it.  The dish was served with a side of bread and there was nothing left in the end.

At the end of the night, the tab was $60 which included a shared appetizer, 2 beers, and 2 full entrees. You can certainly escape for quite a bit less if you opt for the signature sandwiches or burgers.

The only critique I might make is that the chicken dish lacked any type of vegetable or green. A small house salad would be a great addition to include with the entree.  One caution. Federal House is a late night bar as well. We left around 830pm and the bar was just starting to get a bit loud and that sound came over into the dining room. Not oppressive by any means, but potentially a distraction if you are looking for a quiet dinner. The solution is to eat a little earlier and then maybe head over to the bar for a nightcap.

On our way out, we chatted with some friends that were dining there as well. They said they are regulars anbd raved about their favorites as well–Mac N Cheese with Chicken and a specialty sandwich called Hogans Hero (both of which look great to me).

But we left full, happy, and looking forward to coming back to explore the menus a bit more! Fed House–we’ll definitely be back!

Oh, and one last thing, the owners of Federal House bar & Grille also own Main & Market which is one of my favorite breakfast spots in the area. Definitely check them both out!

Category: Businesses, LIFE IN THE AREA, OPINION, Post To FB

About the Author - John Frenaye

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for nearly 25 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news–and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009.

John’s background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with

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