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  • Writer's pictureCraig Stoltz

Charley's a little crazy. And that's good

Has the Charley of Charley Prime Foods in Gaithersburg, Maryland had a mental health assessment? I ask because things seem to teeter on the edge of crazy.

A truly nutty dessert

Take this "everything" sundae, as big as a football and encircled by small offerings of Heath Bar, Oreo, sprinkles, sugar-dusted nuts, and a bunch of other whack treats, including gummies (presumably cannabis-free, but like I mentioned about Charley...).

The ice cream itself has a lovely salty edge, the whipped topping sturdy and not overly sweet.

More crazy: Bavette steak on the happy hour menu.

If you haven't had the pleasure, Bavette is known as the "chef's cut," since that's what the smart set knows to order. It's adjacent to the flank steak on the cow, but deeper inside the belly and therefore more tender. Spectacular, beefy and soft, served with a load of slender frites crisped light brown.

Crazier? Sixteen cocktails on tap, all mixology quality.

I had a Mai Tai to test them -- it's a drink often done horribly wrong, sweet as one of those gummies. Charley nailed it, with real orgeat (a kind of almond cream), two rums, and juice from actual limes. They also have prosecco on tap. My lovely wife found it bubbly and sharply dry.

The decor's a little nutty too, a hash of bad floral wallpaper, contemporary upmarket bistroware, and randomly placed artwork.

Final crazy: It's located at Rio in Gaithersburg, Maryland, which is paved with middling chains and whelmed over by movie-goers and families with naggy kids. Charley could thrive downtown. It's been open a month. Whether it'll make it in deep-middle suburbia is anybody's guess.

Anyhow, my whole point is, you'd crazy not to pay Charley a visit

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