Ben's Chili Bowl

Address: 1213 U St. NW

With over 50 years in the business, it's safe to call Ben's Chili Bowl a classic. Even a gloomy rainy day couldn't deter people from coming to eat at this D.C. institution.

I ordered Bill Cosby’s Original Chili Half-Smoke with a side of chili cheese fries. The Half-Smoke is half pork/half beef smoked sausage in a warm, steamed bun, drenched with chili and mustard, set off with some potato chips on the side. The chili cheese fries arrived first, a pile of golden fries nesting below the joint's signature chili, nacho cheese enveloping everything from the top down.

The chili has a spicy kick, courtesy of what I suspect was cayenne pepper. The smokey flavor from the sausage gives you that authentic, "fresh from the cooker" feeling. The combination of chili cheese fries and sausage makes for a well-rounded meal, sending you into a comfort-food coma you won't want to come out of.

Putting D.C. on the map as the go to place for chili, Ben's has made me a believer. I mean, how can you go wrong at a place where Bill Cosby has his own chili dog?!