Since 1987, Seven Seas has served the Washington metropolitan area with authentic Chinese cuisine, featuring a number of entrees that go well beyond the standard offerings. Browse the lunch or dinner menus for a variety of savory seafood selections, such as the fresh squid, sautéed in a black-bean sauce, then garnished with green peppers, onions, and jalapenos ($12.95). Or try the lightly battered shrimp topped with premium walnuts ($16.95). Those leaning toward chicken can keep leaning, eventually falling face-first into the string bean Szechuan, which features minced chicken stir-fried in a light brown sauce ($9.95). With chefs who have experience with Mandarin, Cantonese, Szechuan, Taiwanese, and American methods of cooking, Seven Seas’ massive menu will satisfy even the pickiest of diners. To drink, Seven Seas offers a hodgepodge of Oriental and Californian wines, plus premium sake, such as the Sho Chiku Bai Organic Nama ($16), a libation that’s as balanced as a tabby-cat gymnast.
It's early in the day when the airplanes land on Virginia soil, bearing fresh seafood from such far-off places as Maine, Hawaii, and Japan. Lumbering trucks transport the cargo to the little town of Sterling, where Hooked Seafood & Sushi Bar chefs await to fillet and prepare the catches for the night's dinner. The sushi chefs carve plump morsels of eel, tuna, and scallops in traditional Japanese style before rolling them into intricate rolls adorned with mango, caviar, and tempura. Meanwhile, other chefs tend to grills of sizzling teriyaki dishes and simmering pans of lemongrass halibut and stuffed trout. The Hooked team has been crafting these fresh sushi dishes and innovative specialties for the last six years, earning accolades from Northern Virginia Magazine and Taste of Reston in the process.
Vibrant photographs of the chef's dishes flash across the flat screen in the sleek dining room, casting a glow on the tall stools that line the sushi bar. Cushy booths surround vibrant red tables, and glimmering curtains dangle above the dining room. On the outdoor patio, a dancing fountain gushes with streams of water alongside a central fireplace roaring with flames. The staff strives to recreate an apropos oceanic atmosphere at the restaurant, lighting up seating areas in shades of turquoise and sea-green and requiring all servers to master basic seal calls.
As ceiling fans cool down the dining room at The Ice House Cafe, plates of American regional seafood arrive tableside, treating tongues to a blend of East Coast, West Coast, and southern recipes fused with French, Asian, and Italian flavors. Across the way, at the chilled oyster bar—flanked by framed vintage photographs and brass and woodworked detailing—chefs ladle out scoops of half-shell clams and oysters, each autographed by the sea captain who caught them. And on Friday and Saturday nights, diners get down and sip on the rhythms and beats generated by live jazz performances.
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.
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.
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.