The good things in life don’t come easy. Either that or the first person to crack a claw was pretty darn hungry! Once you get past the cracking, the picking and the all-around mess, savoring seafood is one of the treats of summer. Following is a list of great spots to catch some crustaceans, from picnic tables to white linen to trucks, there’s bound to be somewhere for the seafood lover in you.
Located in the heart of Arlington, VA, Quarterdeck Restaurant offers a comfortable, friendly and relaxing neighborhood dining experience with an extensive menu featuring numerous, delicious from-the-water selections. Serving the Northern Virginia Crown for over 30 years, Quarterdeck has perfected the classics, such as New England Clam Chowder or fried oysters while re-inventing the seafood wheel with dishes such as Catfish Fiesta, a blackened, marinated catfish filet over a bed of black beans and rice and served with a side of fresh, homemade salsa; and Grilled Mesquite Shrimp, shrimp marinated in Mesquite seasoning and finished over the grill bringing that smoked, barbeque, big Texas flavor to Northern Virginia. If you feel like getting a little more hands on with your dinner, Quarterdeck has a whole section of their menu dedicated to their crab-loving, finger-licking, old-bay-using diners. Whole or half dozen batches of fresh, seasonal Maryland Blue Crabs are a Quarterdeck staple among regulars and first-timers alike. All crabs are cooked to order and ask for a 30-minute wait time, assuring that your meal is cooked fresh and just for you! Quarterdeck only has two stipulations: don’t leave hungry and always share with your friends!
Quarterdeck Restaurant: 1200 Fort Myer Dr. Arlington, VA; 703-528-2722; www.quarterdeckarlington.com
Bethesda Crab House
Family owned and operated, and serving hot, steamed crabs by the bushel since 1961, Bethesda Crab House is a delicious example of “If it ain’t broke- Don’t fix it.” Bethesda Crab House features 12 dishes on the menu and ten of them are variations of the mouth-watering crustacean. The upholstered booths, brown-paper-covered tables and the sea of fellow-crab-lovers in butter and old bay soaked bibs have a way of making you forget the crazy city traffic, the hundred degree days, business suits, and ties and taking you right to the shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Simplicity is the key for this culinary treasure. The Bethesda Crab House lets the juicy, flavorful Maryland Blue Crab stand on its own without the interference of too much seasoning. Sides include generous servings of coleslaw and whole corn on the cob. With delicious, all-you-can-eat crab, friendly staff, and a beach-themed atmosphere Bethesda Crab House has a way of taking you from your business suit to your swim suit- at least for dinner.
Bethesda Crab House: 4958 Bethesda Ave. Bethesda, MD;301-652-3382; www.bethesdacrabhouse.com
Located one block from the Potomac River in the heart of Old Town Alexandria, the Fish Market blends the refined ambiance generally associated with the Old Town Alexandria area with charming and comfortable elements of a traditional fish market or seaman’s bar. Walking past the front entrance, the fresh oysters and fish on ice in the window catch your eye and draw you into the front door. Advertising itself as a place where, “our seafood obsession is a passion for absolute freshness as a way of life,” it is safe to say that you will find the freshest quality ingredients inside. From lobsters to linguine, shrimp to salmon, crab to crawfish, the menu at Fish Market caters to every sea-food lovers desire. Start with the lobster bisque- a creamy bisque with fresh lobster and a touch of sherry; a New England classic brought to Virginia. For your main course try the crab imperial- clam shells stuffed with blue crab meat and hollandaise topped with red pepper served with roasted potatoes and steamed asparagus. Fish Market also offers specials almost every night of the week. Join them for Crab cake Monday’s, Taco Tuesdays, Lobster Night Wednesdays, Cajun Thursdays, and Fish n’ Chips Fridays! Downstairs, POP’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor offers 24 flavors of ice cream that they make in-house. Finish off your meal with a scoop of ice cream…or two!
Fish Market: 105 King St. Alexandria, VA; 703-836-5676; www.fishmarketva.com
Red Hook lobster
Lobster and food trucks are not two concepts that generally go together, but Red Hook Lobster Pound, DC has found a way to make the two go together perfectly. Every day, two Lobster trucks take to the streets to give hungry DC-ian’s their fill of lobster or shrimp rolls. Rolls are served two ways. The Connecticut style roll features fresh lobster meat that is poached in butter while the Maine lobster is dressed with their homemade lemon mayo. The shrimp roll, a more wallet-friendly alternative, is just as mouth-watering. The shrimp roll features Wild Maine Shrimp mixed in with their Homemade Garlic Tarragon mayo on a buttery sub roll. Red Hook Lobster Pound, DC has just debuted the Lobster BLT- a take on the traditional lobster roll with a little bacon-goodness. Quickly becoming one of Washington’s most sought-after lunch destinations, a cool Maine lobster roll, locally baked whoopie pie, and tall, refreshing glass of ginger-mint limeade is a great way to beat the Summer heat! You don’t work or live in DC? Make sure to stop by Truckeroo on August 10 to sample Red Hook Lobster Pound, DC and creations from dozens of other tasty trucks!
Red Hook Lobster Pound: @LobstertruckDC; 202-341-6263; www.redhooklobsterdc.com
Art and Soul
For years, Art and Soul chef’s, Art Smith and Wes Morton, have been taking traditional southern dishes, like shrimp and grits: creamed Anson Mill’s white grits, sautéed spinach, house made andouille sausage, and turning them into, well, art. For lunch, Art and Soul offers their kicked-up version of the southern staple, hoecakes, by adding duck, spring onions, and rhubarb preserves. Located just steps away from the Capital, Art and Soul offers diners a menu that reflects both chef’s southern roots. And now Crab Boil Wednesdays are back at Art and Soul! They are turning their outdoor patio into a summer escape featuring Maryland Blue Crab, a variety of traditional summer sides, and seasonal selections from Flying Dog Brewery. So break out the bibs and the butter and join Art and Soul every Wednesday night this summer for one the area’s most authentic and delectable crab feasts!
Art and Soul: 415 New Jersey Ave. NW, DC; 202-393-7777; www.artandsouldc.com
Here, “Luke” isn’t an unknown entity in a catchy title; he is the heart and soul, the backbone, and the passion behind Luke’s Lobster. In 2009, owner and Maine-native, Luke Holden, took his love of lobster and the business knowledge he acquired as an investment banker, and put it towards running one of the best-tasting, locally-loved, and successful groups of seafood restaurants. At Luke’s Lobster, the recipe for success is simple- responsibility, sustainability, freshness, and some damn good lobster! Luke’s lobster takes pride in their avoidance of a middle man. All of the lobster served at Luke’s goes from pier to plate. Thanks to Maine’s strict regulations on fisheries and lobstering, you can trace the crustacean in your seafood sandwich back to the harbor from which it was caught. Luke’s Lobster truly is a family operation; while younger brother, Bryan Holden, manages, Luke’s fathers company is still responsible for all of the lobster, shrimp, and crab sourcing and processing. Luke’s lobster has a classic, simple, Maine-inspired menu with offerings including crab, lobster, and shrimp rolls, chowder, chips, Maine sodas, and whoopie pies. Less is more in Luke’s traditional lobster roll, a toasted, buttered, split-top bun with a swipe of mayo, topped with 4 ounces of pure lobster, a tangy squirt of lemon, and a blend of secret spices, which has been bringing in tourists and keeping locals coming back since the DC locations’ opening in May 2011. Luke is in the process of making a sizeable collection of Maine microbrew, craft beers available with your succulent seafood selection.
Luke’s Lobster: 624 E. St. NW, DC; 202-347-3355; www.lukeslobster.com
Freddy’s Lobster & Clams
There are two things that are certainly not in short supply at Freddy’s; delicious and innovative seafood dishes, and beer- lots and lots of beer. In fact, Freddy’s has 12 beers on tap and over 70 beers by the bottle. The bubbling brews come from across the Country, and across the Atlantic. A variety of malty to modest roasted toned Black Ales, medium bodied IPA’s with a malty backbone, and European-style brews offer the perfect accompaniment to any dish. It is not only the beer that is of international origins. Freddy’s brings a Canadian tradition to Bethesda. One of their most popular appetizers, the Lobster Poutine combines crispy French fries, buttery lobster, and an array of cheeses into one gooey, mouth-watering appetizer! Freddy’s New England- style atmosphere and the delicious food with respect to the culinary traditions of the Northeast are why this little eatery is the place to go for a cold beer and bite on a Friday night.
Freddy’s Lobster & Clams: 4867 Cordell Ave.Bethesda, MD; 240-743-4257; www.freddyslobster.com
With the motto, “No Plates. No Forks. No Rules.”, Chasin’ Tails is bringing the taste of New Orleans to Arlington, VA. Chasin’ Tails opened in 2012 offering numerous delectable Crawfish preparations that take Louisiana natives home and Washingtonians to Bourbon Street. Chasin’ Tails allows their patrons a little bit of imagination when it comes to ordering their meal. First, diners choose their desired catch from a variety of options including shrimp, crab, mussels, clams, and, of course, crawfish. Chasin’ Tails doesn’t stop at crawfish when it comes to offering an authentic Bayou experience. Choose from three different sauces (Lemon-Pepper, Cajun, or Garlic Butter) or choose The Whole Shebang, a combination of the three (Editor’s Choice!). Forget your silverware and your table manners, bring your Mardi Gras Spirit, let your waitress tie your bib around your neck, and come sample a taste of Louisiana!
Chasin’ Tails: 2200 N. Westmoreland St. Arlington, VA; 703-538-2565; www.chasintailscrawfish.com
A local institution, Phillip’s Seafood is a great example of how remembering your roots can be essential to success. Less than a half-mile from the Maine Avenue Fish Market, you can count on the reliability of a family-run business and fresh seafood to keep delivering year after year. Seating 1,400 on two levels this is also one of the largest seafood destinations in the area. Order your meal from an extensive menu with a variety of land and sea creations including jumbo lump crab cakes stuffed chock full of crab, or take advantage of over 30 made-fresh-daily seafood selections, regional specialties, and land-lover offerings at the buffet. Phillip’s has just announced the opening of their new Crab Deck so you and your friends can enjoy a bucket of large, steamed, fresh, lightly seasoned crabs and a Blue Crab Margarita, a blue-tiful blend of tequila, blue curacao, margarita mix & lime, while taking in the breeze and the views of the Washington Channel.
Phillips Seafood: 900 Water St. SW, DC; 202-488-8515; www.phillipsseafood.com
Steamer’s combines the excitement and allegiance of watching the Redskins on the big screen while having some brews, with the laid-back, nautical ambiance of a seafood shack right on the beach. The menu is very land-lover friendly as well as offering a range of seafood specials. The Buffalo Shrimp, large, juicy shrimp tossed in Buffalo sauce served with carrots, celery, and cheesy blue cheese or tangy ranch dressing put an unexpected twist on the traditional half-time snack. Steamer’s offers a by-the-dozen crab feast featuring steamed small to jumbo crabs and a la carte sides like roasted red potatoes, coleslaw, and hush puppies. The atmosphere, dining choices, and abundance of party rooms at Steamer’s makes it a great place to go with friends, people from the office, kids, or for a casual first date.
Steamer’s: 4820 Auburn Ave. Bethesda, MD; 301-718-0661; www.steamersseafoodhouse.com