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.
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.
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.
Bright murals of fish swim across the walls of Steamers Seafood House, where diners sit at tables with black-and-white-checkered tablecloths—or enjoy the scenery from a large, outdoor deck—and chomp crabs, steamed-spiced shrimp, salad, and burgers. An aquatically themed menu celebrates crab with snow-crab legs, crab-cake platters, all-you-can-eat Maryland blue crab feasts, and mysterious choruses of “Under the Sea” every time diners turn it over. When not slurping oysters and mussels from the shell, tearing into a crabmeat burger, or dining on ribs, patrons watch sports on HDTVs stationed throughout the restaurant.