Beef ‘O’ Brady’s will do just fine pre- and post-Pentagon events

With an extensive, familiar menu, long, open dining room, a bar area with 11 flat screens, 18 pretty standard beers on tap and some yet-to-be finished outdoor seating, I’d be surprised if the new Beef ‘O’ Brady’s out at the Sanford Sports Complex (and right across the street from the Pentagon) isn’t a hit.

After a ‘friends and family’ soft opening this weekend, Tuesday night was the chain restaurant’s Grand Opening. Located across the parking lot from the new Fairfield Inn, they’re sure to get the business of those staying overnight during events, tournaments, etc. too.

But beyond location, location, location, "Beef’s" (as they call themselves, encourage you to follow and hashtag on social media) actually has some decent food. I didn’t have anything special, but for pregame fare, or apps and a beer after an event, this place will do just fine.

We started with some wings. Beef’s (as I’m going to type them not because of the marketing behind it, but because it’s annoying to type ‘O’ every time) is “known” for it’s wings, and even has its own “Beef’s Signature Buffalo Sauce.” We went for a split basket, half signature, half Blackened Seasoning Dry Rub.

The Signature Buffalo sauce was nothing I’d put my John Hancock on. Lacking in both flavor and heat, it was just sort of there. An orange covering of there. The Blackened Dry Rub, however, was quite good. A nice peppery, spicy-but-not-hot flavor dusted the wings. I’d order them again for sure. The wings themselves were a nice size, and had a great crisp outer. They weren’t that juicy inside, unfortunately, and had a bit of a tough bite to them. Fine, not great.

We also ordered The Dubliner, a sort of hot beef sandwich with Swiss cheese and mushrooms added, and the Cuban - Hot and Pressed sandwich.

The Dubliner was pretty great. While the roast beef was sliced, and not chunky, it still held up well, and the gravy was tasty. It had little bits of roast beef in it, and a full, earthy and warm flavor. I liked this dish the best of everything we ordered. But pass on the steamed broccoli that comes with it. Says fresh, and maybe it was, but it wasn’t.

The Cuban was a fine ham sandwich, elevated by the firm and tasty Cuban bread (they say comes from a 100-year-old Florida bakery) and the linger from the slices of salami in the sandwich. But is roasted pork is a key (I’d say THE key) ingredient in a Cuban sandwich, then this just wasn’t a Cuban for me. Again, a fine-to-good sandwich, and I’m eating the second half for lunch today so I clearly liked it, but I should have known what I was getting from the menu description.

Lastly we ended with a Beignet for dessert. And it was a powdered sugar-covered dough fritter. Light enough and pleasant. But I’ve never really been a big fan of Beignets anyway. I think they are overrated, even at the vaunted Cafe du Monde in New Orleans. I mean, they’re fine, but people swoon over them with the fervor of a Pumpkin Spice Latte junky. (And those are overrated too, btw!)

I can definitely see myself hitting up Beef’s in the future, and I think you’ll like it too. But in the end, it’s exactly what you think it will be. Another place of convenience that will be both passable and make you happy while being largely unremarkable. Despite the now 725-words and counting remarks!

How to get there: I’m including this because it is new and sort of out of the way if you’ve not been heading out to check up on the Pentagon construction. There are three ways to get to Beef ‘O’ Brady’s. Take Russell west from downtown and turn north on Westport. Then follow the signs to Sanford Sports Complex. You’ll see it there on the left side of Bobhalla Drive. Or take the Benson Road exit off I-29 and head east. You’ll cross Westport and take the same left on Bobhalla. OR, you can totally access the entire Sanford Sports Complex off the bike trail! It’s about a 15-20 minute leisurely ride from the Elmen Park Trailhead.