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“Fun but uneven in service”
Review of Gadsby's Tavern

Gadsby's Tavern
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Ranked #6 of 759 Restaurants in Alexandria
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$30 - US$30
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Local cuisine, Special Occasion Dining
Dining options: Lunch, After-hours, Dinner, Breakfast, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Cameron Street
Description: Gadsby's Tavern has been offering fine dining since 1770. Enjoy lunch and dinner in one of the elegant Colonial dining rooms. The one-of-a-kind Gadsby's Tavern experience awaits you.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 6 Contributor
578 reviews
230 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 315 helpful votes
“Fun but uneven in service”
Reviewed 29 September 2013

Gadsby's can be a romantic place for dining because it has maintained the 18th century look of a tavern. There are several rooms and the waiters dress in costumes of the period. A strolling minstrel Mr. Hall on Friday night has been playing the part of a colonial lute player for 25 years, complete with the language of the time in his patter. All very enjoyable. The food was good but not outstanding, though the peanut soup was rich and the Baked Brie en croute was huge and tasty--though much milder than the Brie I'm used to. The Gentlemen's Pye is very much a heavy Shepherd's Pie; the lamb chops were tender. That said, I got a negative impression of the place in the beginning when it took over 5 minutes for anyone to come to the front to acknowledge our reservation and then we were made to wait 10 minutes even though there were many tables empty. When I asked if they were short waiters, I was simply told "no" and given no explanation. Then our waitress disappeared for almost 15 minutes after serving our water--something may have been wrong because when she came back, she apologized "Sorry about that." After that, things looked up considerably, especially when the minstrel strolled by. It was pleasant and I would take visitors here for the experience but probably not return myself.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank cfuller603
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Ocala, Florida
Level 6 Contributor
637 reviews
211 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 278 helpful votes
“Keeping with Tradition”
Reviewed 12 September 2013

Alexandria seems to have a load of excellent restaurants and Gadsby's is one of them. With a number of menu items supposedly pulled from George Washington's days the selections are unique for such an upscale eatery.

I enjoyed the beef and lamb stew which was, supposedly, George's favorite. Not surprising as it was hearty and filled with tender meat and a luscious gravy.

Service was above average, allowing for a somewhat green waitress, but not bad for a Tuesday night. Fun authentic colonial roadhouse ambiance. Would definitely return.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Kairho1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Level 6 Contributor
60 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Excellent dinner, slow service”
Reviewed 3 September 2013

Had a very nice dinner here over Labor Day with family. Three of us had the prime rib, which was excellent. And huge. Neither I nor my son (who had the kid-sized portion) could finish the plate. The other two people had the Gentleman's Pie and the chicken, both of which were also very good. The only problem was the service. It was exceedingly slow. No one brought us our bread for about 20 minutes (though the server did bring us a second basket after we devoured the first one). Service to refill our waters was also very slow. And by the time we were done with the dinner, we didn't want to bother waiting around for dessert.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank eloracm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Center Moriches, New York
Level 5 Contributor
92 reviews
68 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Hear Ye, Hear Ye, A Perfect Meal Had By All”
Reviewed 29 August 2013

We're in the area for vacation and we're stepping outside our food comfort zones. I just had a good feeling about this place, despite some mixed reviews. Let me start by saying I'm picky. A food snob. There is rarely a time when I have a flawless dining experience. Rarely? Almost NEVER. In fact most restaurant managers duck and cover when the see me coming. Not that I'm unreasonable. But being a Brooklyn chick, if there's something I'm not happy about, they're gonna hear it. That being said, this was sheer perfection.

We made a reservation through open table. Got there and were seated immediately. Servers are in period clothing. We found out the historic building was going to be demolished but was saved. The fireplace as you walk in is the original. You could feel the history. Quaint, yet elegant. I can easily imagine George Washington dining there. The table was set with a lovely candle, pewter plates and decorative small plates for bread.

The ONLY downside was a musty smell (which you get from older buildings). We quickly got used to it. Our server was absolutely lovely,speaking in period language. She was extremely helpful in our selections. We began with tasty bread and butter. I ordered the biscuits with ham and mascarpone cheese small plate. It truly is a small bite, 2 biscuits each cut in half and made into small sandwiches of ham and mascarpone accompanied by a side of raspberry jelly. These were melt in your mouth delicious. The best biscuits that have ever passed through my teeth. Tender. Buttery (drooling). I don't even like raspberry jam, but this was heaven in a bite. If I could make biscuits like this, I'd weigh 300 pounds. These were no Pillsbury out of a can biscuits. These were home made fresh out of the oven.

I had the filet mignon. It came with asparagus, mashed potatoes, and a melange of veggies (carrots,broccoli and cauliflower). Let's start with the steak. Like butter. Juicy and cooked perfectly. I didn't even need a knife to cut it. THE most tender steak I've ever eaten. (and I've eaten in the créme de la créme of steakhouses). The mashed potatoes - creamy, buttery perfect texture. The reviewer who said they looked like powered is nuts. Unless they prefer lumpy, pasty potatoes. These were, without a doubt, fresh. Creamy deliciousness. Eat until you burst wonderful. I don't like cauliflower but I even ate that. Everything was farm to table fresh. I'm going to be dreaming of this meal for a long time. If I could marry this meal, I would. That's how good it was.

Son had the pork chop. It was a triple thick bone in, tender and juicy. If only I could make pork like this we'd be the Homer Simpsons. It was topped with apples and had a nice mixture of spices. Also accompanied by mashed potatoes and the veggie medley. He devoured it. DH had meatloaf (yeah you read that right). He just about licked the plate clean. MIL ordered prime rib. All dishes had the same accompaniments and all were superb. Water glasses were filled regularly and our server checked back often enough to ensure we had what we needed. Although filled to the gills from the ample portions, the coffee smelled amazing. The adults each had a cup and we shared the flourless chocolate cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. Chocolate bliss is a better name. Tender, chocolate buttery goodness. Not too sweet (which is what I prefer) light, like a brownie cloud. We fought over the last morsel.

It was pricey, so not the type of place you'd go every day, but if I lived in the area, this would be my go to place for special occasions. On our way out, we chatted with Brian, who regaled us with wonderful stories and history about the building and restaurant. He clearly takes great pride in the history of Gadsby's. He recommended we go around the corner and look at the ice well that was dug to keep food cold before the advent of refrigeration. Really cool.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank radiiochick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 6 Contributor
125 reviews
99 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Relying on history for its draw.”
Reviewed 22 August 2013

I gave this restaurant higher marks strictly for its historical value; Many of our forefathers ate here. I had the mixed green salad with chicken on top. The chicken was very dry and I'm not even sure it was prepared the same day.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank vandpstewart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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