701 Wharf St. SW
Washington, DC 20024
The wharf neighborhood in Washington DC’s Riverfront area has been modeled after a few other notable boardwalks around the east coast, complete with high end housing and boojy dives. So too though, is this a city where good seafood thrives and there are many restaurants that cater to East Coast tastes. Such is the case with Hank’s Oyster Bar. Well the prices are a bit higher than you might expect, part of what you’re paying for here is the ambience. And when they’re working with ingredients this fresh it’s hard not to find something to like.
So this bar is an upscale oyster bar with a number of seafood specialties. Some of the things to try:
- Crabcakes: A sandwich stuffed with a thick cake full of crab meat and a warm mayo type sauce. The real determining factor is how much filler is in the crab cake? And the answer is not that much. The meat shines through.
- Lobster roll: another case of a delicate kind of fish that needs a medium to convert well, the lobster roll relies heavily on good helpings of lobster meat with just a little bit of mayo and other vegetables to even it out, and served on a bun that doesn’t overwhelm and flavor. Mission accomplished, the muted flavors of everything Else really allowed lobster to shine. Butter, toasted bread is a natural fit and something like coleslaw or fries also provides a nice simple medium to enjoy the food without crushing that delicate crab flavor.
- Oysters on the half shell: the shop or tea in the carries a variety of these for $2.50. On this day it had varieties from Maryland, Washington State, and Virginia. The Maryland varieties tend to be my favorite because they are brainier and are served in a flatter shell that allows you to stock them full of cocktail sauce. Delicately prepared and served with a pomegranate sauce that lets you honor the simplicity of the oyster.
The enormous outdoor boardwalk makes for a very comfortable experience, you can stand at one of the tall tables if you prefer or find a seat. Inside things him get a little bit crowded or a little bit noisy but that’s not too much of a problem, really at the heart of it this place is about honoring the seafood.
Prices are high, which makes sense given that this bar is located in one of the upscale neighborhoods of Washington DC and the folks who come here to eat and enjoy the drinks tend to be high earners.
No matter, so many of the dishes that you try tend to be focused on a really fresh really high quality seafood product but then everything else in them is kind of forgettable. I suppose that’s the point, to focus on the seafood at the expense of all else, the relatively speaking there are a lot of good seafood places in the city.
- Oysters are a wonderful appetizer.
- The outdoors or ideal here when the weather is warm.
- Pay attention to the beer wine and cocktail menu.