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Seafood Delights at Whaley's

12 May

I’m just going to keep this brief and say this: order the seafood tower. No, seriously. Skip whatever plans you had for dinner tonight, head to Navy Yard, procure a table at Whaley’s, and order a damn tower.

Opened by the same guys who brought you the great DGS Delicatessen, Nick and David Wiseman were inspired by the oyster bars of yesteryear as well as childhood visits to Crisfield’s (which we still haven’t been to since moving to Silver Spring nearly three years ago – something that needs to be rectified soon!) and introduced Whaley’s to the District.

Cocktails

And while we visited prior to the opening of their highly anticipated rosé garden, chef Daniel Perron has whipped up a handful of fantastic house cocktails that both wowed us.

We started the evening off with their day boat scallop crudo. Beautifully presented, it was light and refreshing while leaving plenty of room for our next course.

Day boat scallop crudo

And back to that seafood tower. That glorious, glorious tower. It was a sight to behold. While we opted for the small version, Whaley’s also offers medium and large towers, the biggest of which will accommodate up to six people. But still, between the two of us, this was plenty.

Seafood tower

A smorgasbord of treasures from the sea and priced at $65, the tower included smoked catfish, squid salad, clams, mussels, shrimp, artic char crudo and tartar, and last but not least, lobster tail.

So yeah, it was great. Like really great. I can’t remember the last time we’ve split a seafood tower let alone had so much great seafood in one sitting.

Chocolate tart

We closed out the evening with their chocolate tart. Topped with peppermint mouse and hazelnuts, it was a sweet ending to a very satisfying meal.

It’s a shame we’re not closer to Navy Yard because we would be taking advantage of their dollar oyster happy hour on a very frequent basis. But regardless, just go and order that tower already.

Whaley's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rappahannock Oyster Bar

28 Feb

A few weeks ago, Rachel and I made our very first visit to DC’s Union Market. We came with one goal in mind: to have lunch at Rappahannock Oyster Bar. After hearing so much praise from friends and media alike, we were curious what all the buzz was about.

Rappahannock Oyster Bar has perhaps one of the largest vendor spaces in Union Market, complete with a separate dining area in addition to the bar that wraps around the kitchen, which is where we sat. From there, we had a great view of one of the chefs shucking oysters.

Oysters

Speaking of which, we ordered half a dozen oysters which included Rappahannock, Stingray, and Olde Salts. They were arranged, in that order, from sweet to briny and were accompanied with mignonette and cocktail sauce with fresh horseradish. Of course, the oysters were incredibly fresh, but they were just a precursor of what was to come.

Crab cake

And that brings us to the crab cake. I tend to typically stray from hyperbole, but the crab cake served at Rappahannock is perhaps the best in the District. I’m not kidding, this dish was perfect. The kitchen only uses lump and backfin meat, no filler. Served atop a bed of celeriac, the crab cake, which is ever so slightly crisp on the outside, is nearly the size of a softball. Topped with a dab of remoulade, the crabmeat was supremely fresh and just as juicy, a real treat. What’s more amazing was that it only cost $14. A pair of these would easily run over $30 at a restaurant, which makes this one incredible value.

Scallops

Realizing that one crab cake was not enough food to split amongst the two of us, we decided to also order the seared scallops. Once again, Rappahannock tremendously impressed us with this dish. The plate arrived with four large, excellently-cooked scallops that were beautifully arranged with roasted cauliflower and sitting on a bed of chutney. Just like the crab cake, it only cost $14, which is nearly incomprehensible given the size of the scallops as well as the fantastic preparation.

Rappahannock Oyster Bar is a welcome addition not only to the District, but to the already wonderful Union Market. And while it’s not the most convenient location, it’s worth the visit just for that amazing crab cake.

Rappahannock Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

Crab Cakes at Faidley Seafood

26 Jun

As close as Baltimore is to our home in Bethesda, we don’t go there nearly as often as we’d like. I happened to be in Charm City for a work conference and we definitely had some good eats while we were there, from Boog’s BBQ at Camden Yards to Amicci’s in Little Italy to Pazo in Fells Point. But the one place I knew we had to go before we headed back was Faidley’s at Lexington Market for some crab cakes.

Faidley Seafood

As my colleagues and I walked into Lexington Market, we were overwhelmed by all of the vendor stalls. We asked an officer to point us in the right direction and we were quickly shown to the star of the show, Faidley’s. What we saw wasn’t just one stall but a whole corner of the market, complete with a raw bar, an area for cooked meats, and then the crown jewel of crab soup, fish and chips, and of course, crab cakes. You can order a regular crab cake, one with backfin meat, or an all lump crab cake. Obviously, we got the all lump version, which was the size of a baseball when it arrived.

All lump crab cake

On top of the awesomeness of the crab cake itself, when we arrived, the first thing we noticed was a camera crew. Sure enough, there was Andrew Zimmern from The Travel Channel! We were definitely a little star-struck and watched as he ordered both a fish and chips and crab cake platter. According to Zimmern, he was definitely impressed with the crab cake (which he was told was the best ever by both Michael Symon and Adam Richman), but wasn’t sure if it was the best he’s ever had.

Andrew Zimmern!

Well, I have to respectfully disagree with Mr. Zimmern as I was in heaven with each bite. All lump meat, no filler, and a rich buttery flavor – it was just perfect. I have definitely had my share of crab cakes while living in the DC area the last 10 or so years, and this one takes the cake, hands down. It was so good that I had to order two more to go so Brett could try one for himself and that I could enjoy the crab cake awesomeness one more time. Now that I finally know that crab cake heaven is only a 40 minute drive away, we will definitely be back again soon. I can already envision this being our mandatory pit stop on road trips to and from New Jersey.

Faidley Seafood on Urbanspoon

Fishnet - From Corduroy to College Park

9 Dec

When I first read on Don Rockwell that Ferhat Yalcin, the former general manager of Corduroy (and one of our favorite restaurants), would be opening a casual restaurant in College Park, I was very intrigued.

The concept: a casual seafood venue offering grilled and fried fish sandwiches, entrees, and homemade sides. Fishnet officially opened its doors on 11/11/11, making it the easiest opening date to remember.

Hake Sandwich and Spicy Aioli

Situated in what used to house Berwyn Café, Fishnet is located on Berwyn Road in College Park, a few short blocks from the major thoroughfare of Route 1 and walking distance from the University of Maryland. It’s a great location since it’s completely separated from the congestion of downtown College Park, and even more importantly, street parking is easy to come by (no meters!).

Stepping inside, the setup is rather simple. You order your meal after reviewing the blackboard menu, pay the cashier, and then they’ll bring it over to your table when it’s ready. Think of it as a no-frills Tacklebox but with much better food.

Ale-8-One and Boylan's

Fishnet offers a handful of fresh fish selections that can be grilled or deep-fried, plus you have your choice of homemade sauces.  All sandwiches are served on ciabatta with baby greens and tomato. They also offer other items such as a beef burger, fish tacos, falafel, and lobster rolls. Housemade sides range from French fries (hand-cut daily) to coleslaw to potato salad.

Opposite to the register, there’s a refrigerator housing a variety of Boylan’s sodas as well as Ale-8-One, a Kentucky-based ginger ale that I haven’t seen elsewhere in the area. Fishnet also carries some rare Italian sodas such as Spuma and Cedrata as well (again, also new to me).

Fishnet MenuDrink Menu

I went with the grilled hake and spicy aioli, as I prefer a milder, flakier fish, along with a Boylan’s cola. I held off on the fries thanks in part to some willpower, but after glancing at someone’s overflowing cup, I immediately regretted that decision.

As for the sandwich, it was simply excellent. The hake was nicely grilled, moist, and full of flavor. The spicy aioli added a pleasant kick to the sandwich and really complemented the fish. The fresh ciabatta was able to soak up the juices and keep the sandwich intact without getting too soggy.

Fishnet is a wonderful addition to the dining-deprived area of College Park. Between the fresh ingredients and great execution, I only wish this place existed when we went to Maryland. I can’t wait to go back with Rachel since she’s more of a fish fan than myself, plus I’ll have some justification for splitting an order of fries next time around.

Fishnet is located on 5010 Berwyn Road in Berwyn neighborhood of College Park, MD.

Fishnet on Urbanspoon

A Wicked Dinner at Hook

30 Jun

Editor’s note: Today’s post was written prior to last night’s devastating fire at Hook and Tacklebox. Our hearts go out to the staff and owners and we hope for a speedy recovery and swift reopening.

While running through a list of restaurants to have a pre-theater meal at before seeing Wicked at the Kennedy Center last Thursday, Rachel had the brilliant idea of redeeming our Groupon we bought earlier this year for Hook and eat there instead.

Given its proximity to the theater as well as not having to be tied down to a prix-fixe menu, it was an ideal choice. Our 5:30pm reservation turned out to be absolutely unnecessary as we were evidently the first ones to be seated for dinner. Had we arrived earlier, we could have participated in their happy hour which featured dollar oysters (!!!) and $4 cocktails.

Bread Basket

When we were seated, we soon received a basket of warm, fresh bread. We have dined at Hook before and I simply love their bread basket. Between the focaccia squares, buttery biscuits, and garlic aioli spread, you’re in for a treat before you even receive your first course. Due to time restrictions, we kept our meal straightforward and went right for the entrees.

I ordered the yellowfin tuna while Rachel got the scallops. The tuna, which was served on a bed of lentils, bacon lardons, and a side of kale, was excellent. It was a sharp contrast from the mediocre piece of fish I had at Jake’s American Grille a few weeks ago. Granted Hook is more of an upscale establishment, but there was a substantial difference in quality between the two restaurants and it goes without saying: you get what you pay for.

Yellowfin Tuna

The tuna was flawlessly cooked and was so delicate that a knife was barely needed. The lentils brought a nice balance to the dish, but it was those amazing pieces of bacon lardoons that nearly stole the show. These thick chunks of pork were packed with flavor, so much so that I wish (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) the kitchen held back on the quantity. It was just a tad overpowering when you already have one piece of protein already sitting on the plate.

Rachel decided on the scallops, which came with a carrot puree and a carrot and peanut slaw in the middle. These were definitely a delight as they were some of the largest scallops she has ever seen on a plate. The carrot and ginger sauce was a perfect complement as it didn’t overwhelm the flavor of the beautiful scallops. The slaw added a nice crunch while overall she said they were the best scallops she has had since Corduroy, and that was one of her favorite dishes ever.

Scallops

For dessert, we were torn between the passion fruit semifreddo and the Fluffer Nutter. Because we were already so full from our main course, we went with the former as it sounded like it would be on the lighter side. It turned out to be the right choice as it was sweet, satisfying, and not overly heavy.

We were genuinely amazed by the texture of the semifreddo – it was like a semi-frozen sorbet, but with a thicker consistency, almost like a mousse. The slice was situated above three pieces of white chocolate ganache sitting in caramel sauce which made this dish even more of a treat. Then you throw in the roasted macadamia nuts on top of that and you’re on cloud nine. It was a lovely combination of sweet and salty and was a perfect ending to a great meal.

Passion fruit semifreddo

Overall, we really enjoyed our dinner at Hook. Our waitress was cordial and helpful while every piece of food served was utterly delicious. The Groupon clearly helped as we saved $50 off our bill, but Hook has been consistent each time we have visited, discount or not. While it’s a schlep to get to Georgetown, it’s worth it if you’re looking for good seafood in the District.

Hook on Urbanspoon

First Look: Tackle Box Cleveland Park

2 Jun

After years of vacancy at the former McDonald’s space, Tackle Box finally opened its doors yesterday. Between this and Medium Rare, new life has been injected into the Cleveland Park dining scene.

We had the opportunity to check out the restaurant’s newest location (the original is located in Georgetown, right next to sister venue Hook) for a friends and family event. Tackle Box offered a stripped-down version of their regular menu, at no cost, from 4pm to close. Talk about spreading goodwill to the neighborhood!

Raw Bar

If you are not already familiar with Tackle Box, they are a casual seafood eatery that offers selections of grilled and fried fish, oysters, lobster rolls, clam chowder, and much more. The Cleveland Park location, however, is not only two stories, but also features an expanded menu.

Friends and Family Welcome LetterShucking oysters at the raw bar

The space sets the tone of a lobster shack, complete with buoys lining the walls while American flags are adorned in several corners of the restaurant. As their website proclaims – “We like summer vacation at the beach. That’s why we decided to open a lobster shack in the middle of the city for those days we couldn’t make the drive.”

Tackle Box Menu

Once we stepped inside, we felt like we were transported to the shore as the place was packed with communal picnic tables along with servers who looked like they were no older than 20 years old. Not that you’ll be looking for elite service with this type of venue as orders are brought out by number with servers hunting you down with plastic trays with meals prepared in paper plates/platters.

The huge bar that runs down nearly the entire length of the bottom floor looks like a great gathering place after work. The best part? They offer Natty Boh on tap!

Natty Boh on tap!

Rachel and I split a half dozen raw oysters prepared at the raw bar by the front of the house. Accompanied with cocktail sauce and vinegar, these were some surprisingly large oysters. They were freshly shucked, very clean, and nicely presented in a wooden bowl (orders of dozen came out on a steel tray).

Raw Oysters

As for our entrees, we both ordered the Maine Meal which comes with a choice of fish, two sides, and a sauce. I ordered the grilled tilapia with lemon-garlic aioli, grilled broccoli, and mashed potatoes while Rachel got the grilled cod with a grilled portabella mushroom and corn on the cob.

Lobster ArtworkTackle Box InteriorAmerican Flag

Rachel originally wanted to order the whole steamed lobster, but alas, it was 86’ed by the time she stepped up to the counter. The fact that they included this on the complimentary menu spoke volumes on their effort to appease new customers though.

Anyway, I enjoyed the tilapia. It was nothing fancy, but for $7 a la carte (the Maine Meal is normally $14.50), one shouldn’t need to complain. While it was a tad salty, it was a decent piece of fish. When my platter arrived, I received a generous portion of grilled broccoli but my mashed potatoes were nowhere to be found. After informing the waiter, he told me that they had run out. Minutes later, he delivered a fresh batch of French fries! Nice gesture (and really good fries, to boot).

Maine Meal - Grilled cod, portabella mushroom, corn on the cob

Rachel’s cod was excellently grilled and had great flavor to it, especially when dipped into the lemon-garlic aioli sauce. The corn was a little cold by the time she had bit into it, but it still had a nice char to it, if not a tad too buttery. The star of the show had to have been the mushroom, which she thought was huge, until she saw a fellow diner’s even larger mushroom. She said that alone could be an entree, and was a great deal as a side.

We also split a brownie sundae which arrived with two scoops of vanilla ice cream. It was a great way to end the meal as the homemade brownie was soft and delicious while the ice cream, which was nearly melted by the time we got around to eating it, was still very rich in flavor.

Grilled TilapiaFrench Fries

We can see Tackle Box being very successful in Cleveland Park given the location, expansive menu, and huge dining space. It’s been a long time coming for that long-vacant space, and we can’t think of a better restaurant to fill the void than Tackle Box.

Tackle Box is located on 3407 Connecticut Avenue in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of DC.

Tackle Box on Urbanspoon

Lunch Break at BlackSalt

23 May

While it’s a little out of the way for a midday meal during the workweek, BlackSalt offers one of the best lunch deals in the District. For $18, diners can choose three items from four categories: a starter, entree, dessert, and an alcoholic beverage. For just $5 more, diners can create their own four-course meal.

We had heard about this special via Metrocurean as we have been dying to try Jeff Black’s standout seafood restaurant for what seems like an eternity. Rachel and I decided to head over last Friday since we both had the day off and wanted to take advantage of this excellent special.

BlackSalt Fish Market

We have always heard about their fish market, which is situated in front of the house, but were taken aback by not only what BlackSalt sold, but by how fresh everything looked. From salmon to oysters to tuna cakes, one wouldn’t typically expect a fish market in the quaint Palisades neighborhood, especially one with such an impressive selection. While we held off on buying fresh fish that day (prices aren’t for the faint of heart), we’ll certainly be back for those tuna cakes.

We made our way towards the dining room in the back and looked over the menu. Both Rachel and I opted to skip dessert and instead focus on the appetizer, entrée, and drink (of course!).

Baby arugula saladLocal vegetable salad

Rachel got a glass of sparkling wine, baby arugula salad, and the cornmeal crusted tilapia sandwich. The salad came with lemongrass-almond vinaigrette, feta, and dried cranberries. The salad wasn’t terribly inventive, but she loves that particular combination and it was a great start to the meal.

Brett ordered a glass of the white wine, the local vegetable salad, and the wood-grilled big eye tuna sandwich. We actually wound up splitting our sandwiches so we each could have a half of one another’s.

Cornmeal crusted tilapia sandwich

The tilapia was crispy on the outside but incredibly tender and flaky inside. It tasted like it was flash-fried which pleasantly made the sandwich not too heavy. It arrived on toasted ciabatta with avocado and pickled red onions. Rachel’s sole complaint was that the ciabatta was a little too tough when biting into the sandwich, and that the fish didn’t really need the bread in order for it to shine.

Meanwhile, the tuna sandwich was excellent. Prepared on housemade focaccia and dressed with olive persillade and smoked tuna tapenade, the big eye was cooked to (at least in my opinion) perfection. The kitchen hit that sweet spot between rare and medium rare, and the quality of the fish itself was first-rate.

Big Eye Tuna Sandwich

While I enjoyed persillade and tapenade, I felt that it was a little excessive as it detracted from the fish and nearly masked its flavor. The bread was able to withstand the dressing as it didn’t get too soggy, but I think I preferred Rachel’s tilapia if I had to choose between the two sandwiches.

Both sandwiches also came with a side of generous portion of highly addictive house made potato chips. While we could have added dessert to one of our meals for five dollars, we instead bought a homemade chocolate chip cookie from the market for a buck. It was well worth the money spent as the entire cookie was soft and gooey and was a nice ending to a fabulous meal.

We can’t recommend BlackSalt’s Lunch Break enough. For the money, it’s seriously one of the best deals you’ll find in the city, period. The quality of the food is beyond fresh, the service is attentive, and the atmosphere is tranquil given the neighborhood surroundings. It’s well worth the trip.

BlackSalt Fish Market - Fresh!

BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

First Look: Freddy's Lobster and Clams

16 May

Freddy’s Lobster and Clams has been on our list of new restaurants in Bethesda whose openings we have been eagerly anticipating. By chance, we discovered a soft opening this past Saturday and quickly made our way over. Right away, we could tell that this place was going to become a new Bethesda staple.

Freddy’s is the brainchild of Grapeseed chef and owner Jeff Heineman, who has always dreamed of opening a lobster and clam shack. He named the restaurant after his grandfather who he used to spend the summers fishing and catching clams with. The idea sounded like something very different in Bethesda and we couldn’t wait to see it for ourselves.

Lobster Roll

Wooden picnic benches graced the outside patio while brightly colored red booths and communal tables welcomed us inside. There weren’t any tables available in the dining room or right at the bar, so we grabbed some seats facing the window in the bar area. All along the walls were signs from New England as well as fishing equipment and memorabilia. There were even a line of t-shirts for sale with the restaurant’s logo in various styles.

While we were waiting to order, we decided to delve into the drinks binder (aka Freddy’s “Booze Book”) which featured an extensive (and reasonably priced – especially for Montgomery County standards) beer list. Brett ordered the Troeg’s Cappuccino Stout while I got the 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon, since I had been meaning to try it and was curious to see how it tasted.

Clam Strips Platter

Drinks in hand, we decided to order two staples for dinner – Brett got the fried clam strips basket (with onion rings) and I got the lobster roll. I’m a huge fan of all things lobster and couldn’t wait to compare this one to other popular rolls in the area. When our food arrived, we could see just how casual this place was. Everything came in red and white paper containers while condiments were already on the tables. We did have to ask our waiter for silverware and waters, but we’ll chalk that up to it being their first day.

I thought my lobster roll, served chilled with mayo, was fresh and delicious. It was mostly chunks of meat as opposed to whole claws or mixed like a salad. The roll was nicely toasted and buttery, but I only wished that there was a little more meat in it as it seemed small compared to competitors such as Red Hook Lobster Pound. Then again, while the two charge the same price for the roll ($15), Freddy’s also threw in a side of fries.

Brett’s platter of clam strips and onion rings resembled something you would typically find at a fish fry, the image Freddy’s is striving for. While the onion rings were huge and crispy, they tended to overshadow the small clam strips. Then again, this was their soft opening so there will be plenty of kinks to be worked out (such as Brett’s aforementioned 3:1 onion rings to clams ratio).

Bar AreaFreddy's Booze BookLive Lobster Tank

We informed the waiter about our qualms and he said that he would pass the word to the chef. Our host was definitely disappointed that we didn’t have as fulfilling of a meal as he had hoped, but we’ll definitely be back to see how the kitchen progresses. It is always difficult to judge a restaurant when it opens, especially during its first few days. The official grand opening for Freddy’s is this Tuesday, but they decided to open early last Saturday for a trial run.

We were definitely glad we got to check the place out. This casual establishment isn’t pretending to be anything other than what’s part of their name, which is lobster and lots of fried food. So while you may leave feeling a little guilty from eating excessive amounts of deep-fried deliciousness, it’s definitely a fun, laid-back venue. And we’ll definitely be back to sit at the bar and explore all the many beers and fun drinks in that binder.

Freddy’s Lobster and Clams is scheduled to open on Tuesday, May 17. They are located on 4867 Cordell Avenue in downtown Bethesda.

Freddy's Lobster + Clams on Urbanspoon

Jerry's Seafood: It's the (Crab) Bomb

24 Feb

We have long heard the stories about the legendary Crab Bomb served at Jerry’s Seafood. After living in the area for more than a decade and having not once been to the Lanham institution, we had to do something about it. It was time.

With our friends Jim and Livya, we drove to Jerry’s last Saturday night to finally experience what some have deemed the best crab cakes in the entire DMV.

Crab Bomb

Despite all the praise Jerry’s receives, you wouldn’t know it by judging from the exterior, let alone the interior of the restaurant. If you’re looking for ambiance, you best turn around. Nestled next to a liquor store and beauty supply shop, people come to Jerry’s with a purpose: to enjoy some of the best seafood inside the Beltway.

While the restaurant does not take reservations, we had lucked out as several large parties left just before we arrived, so there was no wait time at all!

Our friendly waitress greeted us, took our drink orders, and served us some warm, delicious rolls.

Rachel and I decided to start the evening off with a bowl of their crab bisque. We knew we were in for a treat upon tasting the first spoonful of it. Simply put, it was heavenly. While there’s no denying the kitchen does not show restraint on the heavy cream, the intoxicating combination of crab and sherry makes it nearly impossible to put the spoon down.

Crab Bisque

As for the entrees, well, that was an easy decision: CRAB BOMB! The Crab Bomb isn’t really a crab cake per se (although they do offer them on the menu), but simply ten glorious ounces of baked jumbo lump crab, Old Bay, and a smidgen of mayonnaise to hold it together.

It is practically the size of a softball. A delicious, crabby softball.

It’s so large in fact that they serve a smaller version appropriately dubbed the “Baby Bomb”. It’s only four ounces less than its predecessor, but just as amazing.

Rachel and I each ordered a Baby Bomb and made every effort to savor each bite. It was that good. In fact, it was so good that we both deemed it the best crab we have ever had. That’s saying a lot given that we have had our fair share of crab cakes.

Lightly crisp on the outside without a scratch of filler to be found inside, the Crab Bomb is worth its $34 price tag (the Baby Bomb is $26). While the price might be daunting to some, rest assured, you are getting A LOT of crab meat.

It also helps that each entrée comes with two sides. Rachel went with the stewed tomatoes and a side salad while I ordered the steamed broccoli and a baked potato. Next time I’ll make sure to order a side salad as it could have been a meal in itself.

The stewed tomatoes were a nice change of pace from what other seafood restaurants traditionally offer while the broccoli, lightly coated with butter, was fine. The baked potato was a bit too dry but given how the Baby Bomb overshadowed everything else, I didn’t seem to mind.

Jerry’s certainly lived up to its billing on Saturday. The crab was to die for while the service was fantastic. While it may not be in DC, trust us, it is worth the trip. We cannot wait to go back.

Jerry's Seafood on Urbanspoon

A (Post) Valentine's Day Dinner at Kinkead's

18 Feb

Having traveled the last few weekends in a row, and simply turned off to the idea of going out to dinner for Valentine’s Day along with the rest of the world, Rachel and I postponed our plans until two days after the Hallmark holiday.

It could not have worked out better.

With Groupon in hand (by far one of the better deals the website has offered), we made our way to Foggy Bottom, but not before partaking in some Happy Hour first. Kinkead’s kicked off their bar specials earlier this week, so the timing was perfect.

Lobster medallions, lobster "knuckle" sandwich, onion rings

And how could one not resist half-priced oysters? Certainly not us. With Bass drafts for $5, a glass of their wine of the day for $8, and not to mention a very friendly bartender, it was a shame we only had a short time to enjoy it since happy hour only lasts till 6:30.

After we paid our tab, our reservation was ready and we made our way to the upstairs dining room. We started our meal off with their fresh bread basket which included some very warm and delicious pieces of cornbread, soda bread, and whole wheat.

Shrimp Bisque

For the first course, Rachel ordered the lobster medallions, served in an asparagus stew with a lobster “knuckle” sandwich and crispy Vidalia onion rings. While the presentation was gorgeous, it was the medallions that really stole the show. Flavorful and tender, it was hard to ration the lobster given how large the medallions were.

In fact, it might have been the dish’s only downfall as the medallions were too difficult to cut away at as we eventually wound up eating them too quickly. It might have been better if the soup was served in a shallow bowl so that one could cut the lobster instead of it being served in a deeper, smaller bowl.

The “knuckle” sandwich was a nice touch and felt like a seafood takeoff on grilled cheese and tomato soup. Rachel also had the great idea of throwing the onion rings into the broth which gave it a subtle, crunchy texture.

Sesame Seared Rare Tuna

I went with the shrimp bisque, but had we known beforehand that Rachel’s appetizer was also primarily a soup (we overlooked that when reading the menu), I probably would have ordered something else. That’s not to say the bisque wasn’t good. In fact, it was fantastic!  Hearty but not too rich, it was the perfect dish for a winter’s eve. We just did not realize the texture of both soups would be so similar.

For our main course, I ordered the sesame seared rare tuna, served with seaweed salad, soba noodles, wasabi, and a soy dipping sauce. It turned out to be a generous portion as the tuna was perfectly cooked while the seaweed salad and noodles were fitting sides for the Asian-inspired entree. The sauce was very salty, of course, but at least it was served on the side so I could add just the right amount onto the fish.

Skate with lemon sabayon, grapefruit segments, and jumbo grilled asparagus

Rachel decided to try the skate since it’s a fish she has never had before, and the crispy wing balanced out well with a lemon sabayon, grapefruit segments, and jumbo grilled asparagus. It was a beautiful presentation and she enjoyed the dish, but I could tell that she was eyeing mine more than her own. I think the sauce was a little too overpowering, and while she debated ordering the skate versus the whole black bass, the latter may have been the better choice. At least now she knows what skate tastes like.

Overall, we had a great meal, and combined with the $50 discount from Groupon, it was an even better value. Kinkead’s might be part of the “old guard” in DC, but as evidenced on Wednesday night, it has held up rather well throughout the years.

Kinkeads is located on 2000 Pennsylvania Ave NW in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, DC.

Kinkead's on Urbanspoon