American Tap Room (Bethesda)

The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire! Like gentrified moths we fluttered below the beckoning torches and into the American Tap Room, which recently replaced Austin Grill as resident local chain restaurant at the Woodmont-Elm intersection. I’m not a big AG fan — Uncle Julio’s Rio Grande Cafe a couple of blocks away is much better — so this seemed like a potentially good trade.

And I guess it was, though I don’t think I’ll hurry back to ATR either. It’s a little too slick for me, like they’re trying too hard.  We started with quesadillas and “Phoenix Wings,” which they really push, but although the chicken was fine, the spice rub was as bland as I’ve ever had on a wing, especially one they claim will have some heat.  The quesadilla was actually pretty good, though Mrs. Me liked it less than I did.

We thought we liked the cheeseburger, until we found one of those plastic toothpicky things buried in the middle of it.  I should say, I found it, when I bit into it and it splintered in my mouth.  Fortunately the splinters were soggy, no injury, not a huge big deal, except — yuck.  Maybe should have said something to a manager or the server, but didn’t. Aside from that, a solid enough burger. Okay salads.  Overall, not really our style, and unimpressive food at those prices.

A couple of pluses: we liked our server a lot, and the beer list is excellent, they clearly take that seriously.  I had a Goose Island IPA, which is tough to find over here (and which was apparently a late addition to the list and does not appear on their online menu).  I’d go back for a drink (though no happy hour situation listed on their website, dunno if they have one or not), but that’s about it.


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