At one table, a diner enjoys a forkful of flaky crab meat, dipped in a pool of butter. Across the room, a steaming plate of crawfish challenges eaters with nimble fingers and an appetite for seafood. Crafting each of these succulent dishes are the chefs of New Orleans Cajun Seafood, who help bring the sea to each table—salted and spiced to taste, of course. The restaurant's menu features all the highlights of Southern-style shellfish, including shrimp, blue crab, and clams, as well as catfish and flounder. Diners can request those denizens of the deep be fried in batter, stuffed into a po' boy, or Cajun boiled, and an experienced chef will cook up a fresh batch—except when the live crabs are busy reenacting scenes from "Jaws."
"Provocatively spiced seafood" is the specialty at Sea Side Crab House, according to a review in Northern Virginia Magazine, which calls Sea Side's crab fried rice "intoxicating." Relying on Vietnamese and Asian cooking techniques, the chefs toss tilapia and calamari in a wok until they sizzle, then serve them alongside steaming mounds of rice. The main draw, however, is the shellfish, including crawfish, crabs, clams, and conch, which diners order by the pound.
Guests dig into the seafood at picnic tables outside on the patio, which features portable space heaters and twin plasma TVs, according to the magazine. The patio is covered to protect guests from the elements, birds, and Eye of Sauron.
McLean 1910’s executive chef, Gregory Webb, prepares elegant American dishes that emphasize the natural flavors of his ingredients. Dinner diners can nibble on the chilean sea bass ($31), one of many sustainably fished seafood options, or chew through hormone-free meats such as a full rack of baby-back ribs in a savory rub of spices ground in-house ($26). For lunch send teeth crunching through a thick turkey club sandwich ($12), or challenge steamed jumbo mussels ($15) to a feat of gastronomic strength. When the dessert saxophone sounds, diners can gorge on key-lime pie or analyze the multiple levels of cake, hazelnut, and anxiety of influence in the chocolate mousse.
Located 17 stories above the ground, The Vantage Point Restaurant serves each dish with a side of breathtaking views. Walls of windows overlook Washington D.C., allowing guests to gaze out at the Potomac River, historic Georgetown, and the place where the president's private zeppelin used to sit. Its chefs forge American cuisine from several different menus. Customers at the bar can nibble a crab cake sandwich, while dinner guests devour chicken parmesan served over a bed of angel-hair pasta. The kitchen also beckons to taste buds with aromas of prime rib and shrimp scampi. Inside the eatery, sunlight spills across stained wood tables and brick accents, completing the warm experience of The Vantage Point.
Saigon Saigon's immersive Vietnamese menu features pho noodle soups, spicy curries, and entrees of lemongrass chicken or roast pork. Diners sip wine while nibbling small plates of shrimp-topped baguettes, mushroom-stuffed spring rolls, or skewers of marinated chicken satay. Main courses appease appetites with stir-fried noodle dishes, or Chef Vu's specialties of rice topped with Saigon sausage and lemongrass pork, flank steak in sizzling hot pots, and filets of ginger-infused salmon. Chefs garnish dishes with colorful fresh veggies and fragrant herbs, and diners enjoy their feasts amid the warm-colored walls and sprigs of bamboo of the interior or in the open air of the patio.
There's something unmistakably Italian about Toscana Grill. Maybe it's the white marble and ebony wood accents in the dining room, or maybe it's the hospitality with which the servers greet each guest. In all likelihood, it's probably both of these things?plus a menu of northern Italian dishes crafted with local produce and herbs.
All of the traditional favorites are here, including eggplant parmigiana, spinach ravioli alfredo, and chicken marsala with mushrooms. But it's not all classics. There are also plenty of genre-bending pizzas, such as one topped with shrimp, white-wine sauce, butter, and garlic. A bottle of wine from the bar makes a perfect companion to any meal, especially if you dress it up like a person and pretend that it can talk.