The charm and simplicity of the Maine lobster shack is heaved ashore at Georgetown's Tackle Box, which popped onto Bon Appétit's radar as one of the Best Seafood Restaurants of 2008. Just inside the door on a pocked brick wall, a weathered Old Glory greets diners as they stand before the counter's chalkboard menu to check on the day's fresh catch and wonder if sailors wear their ties in a figure-eight knot. Since Tackle Box shoulders a steadfast commitment to sustainability, each meal can vary, as cooks fry or grill the bounty of fishermen's nets that may swell with haddock or catfish.
Diners can choose smoked trout to pair with hand-cut fries or mac 'n' cheese, all of which they can enjoy at a fire-red picnic table. For an extra kick, fingers may dip fare or put out a burning dynamite fuse in a classic tartar or spicy marinara sauce.
Inspired by local ingredients and bistro-style flair, Nage's executive chef crafts contemporary American dishes that range from pan seared strip loin with roasted potatoes and squash to Chesapeake crab cakes with sweet potato gratin and pumpkin soubise. Nage enhances the American classic mac ?n? cheese with chunks of lobster, a three-cheese mornay sauce, and english peas to create one of their most popular dishes. To ensure a guaranteed table, Nage would greatly appreciate patrons making a dinner reservation.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, Robert Frost, and Calvin Coolidge were some of the first inhabitants of the walls of Occidental Grill & Seafood, where their autographed photos have since been joined by more than 1,500 statesmen, power brokers, and celebrities. Throughout the restaurant’s nearly 110 years in business, its various menus have served as a mirror to the major events of the 20th century, from the conserved portions that addressed the food shortage during World War I to the 1924 victory banquet for the World Series–winning Washington Senators. Today, following a massive renovation in its 100th year, executive chef Rodney Scruggs achieves the difficult task of paying homage to the past in forward-thinking dishes. Scruggs himself boasts quite the history in the culinary realm. His first job after studying culinary arts at Newbury College was—perhaps not so coincidentally—the Occidental, where he worked his way from a line cook to an executive sous chef. His career led him through some of the area’s most notable eateries before he returned to the Occidental, where he furthers simple combinations of fresh, local ingredients with refined touches and careful preparation. To wit, crispy soft-shell crab is accompanied by a sweat-pea puree, and roasted virginia rack of lamb hails from Border Springs Farm and sits beneath a coating of demi-glace. In addition to American craft beers and wines from around the globe, diners can honor the eatery’s legacy by sipping classic cocktails such as a rickey from Washington circa 1883 and a sidecar from 1920’s London. Surrounded by the aforementioned autographed photos, the main dining room exudes old-school elegance. From high, recessed ceilings, ornate bowl-shaped chandeliers dangle over white tablecloths in front of burgundy leather booths and windsor chairs. The wine room has a slightly darker décor, as the wine bottles lining the walls reflect the rich-chocolate color of high-backed leather chairs.
Jimmy’s Grill, located at Washington DC’s Maine Avenue fish market, is a below-sidewalk-level food dispenser dishing out crab cakes, fried catfish platters and more to hungry customers. Oddly located inside a white structure that forms one end of the seafood shopping area, the process for ordering at Jimmy’s is anything but standard. Instead of receiving a menu, or sitting down at a table where waiters come by to refill the waters, this faster-than-fast casual eatery sports an outdoor menu of the day’s offerings. Once you’ve chosen your meal, bend down to the shop’s open window to place your order, then queue up with everyone else again to await your bag of goodies. A curious way to grab lunch? Definitely. But the fresh seafood options and relatively cheap prices make it more than worth it for lots of folks.
Drawing on years of experience in the kitchens of Nobu, Nine Steak House, Nove Italiano, and Ampm Restaurant, Chef Tony assembles a host of fresh ingredients to craft his artisanal pizzas. He enhances the crispy prosciutto pizza with artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil and layers provolone cheese and yukon potatoes over the marinated chicken pizza. Additionally, gourmet salads provide an opportunity to sample house-made dressings and roasted-garlic vinaigrettes without the awkwardness of ordering them “on the rocks.”
Some of Jeff Heineman's earliest memories involved scouring sandy beaches for clams that he and his grandfather "Freddy" would then bake together. These formative culinary experiences instilled in Jeff a deep love for New England–style seafood, inspiring him to become a chef and eventually open his Mid-Atlantic take on a northeastern lobster shack, which he named Freddy's Lobster & Clams in honor of his grandfather.
The menu's Maine lobster rolls, fried clam strips, and ocean-fresh steamer clams exemplify this passion and help create a pleasantly anomalous eatery that Bethesda Patch described as "a seafood shack you’d typically find in Bar Harbor or Nantucket." However, the menu doesn't stop at the shoreline. The cooks also grill half-pound sirloin and short-rib burgers, and they load plates with crispy chicken paillard, grilled asparagus, and rosemary roasted potatoes with sage gravy.
The laid-back, casual inspiration behind the menu also influences the restaurant's décor, which features simple wooden booths and picnic tables amid walls lined with nets and fishing bobbers. This cozy setting creates a neighborhood vibe where visitors can feel comfortable lingering long enough to enjoy one more beer—and there are plenty to choose from, as Freddy's offers more than 100 ranging from hoppy IPAs to dense stouts made with malted black holes.