review: one fish, two fish, three fish, goldfish…

Hank’s Oyster Bar, Washington, D.C.


Pepperidge Farm Goldfish is what they give you to snack on while you look over the menu at Hank’s Oyster Bar.

I’m assuming they do this at both locations.  I was at the original location near Dupont on a recent Saturday for brunch, drawn by a sudden yen for a lobster roll.

Ex-Danny Meyer, ex-Myriad Jamie Leeds is the chef here.  Her menu is easy, simple, and good enough.

The place is cute; a Georgetown-on-Cape Cod outfit with exposed brick walls and slick, blond wood floors.  I bet the servers here all have masters degrees.

House-made Corned Beef and Potato Hash
Corned Beef and Potato Hash
Hank’s Oyster Bar, Washington, D.C.

Houston and I met up with my old college friend, Regan, whom I hadn’t seen in years.  Gosh, it was good to see her again. After a flurry of introductions and a quick recap of where we were in our lives, we ordered.

Houston asked for a pint of Tröegs “Troegenator” and a “Lobster Bisque” ($7), neither of which I tasted.  The bisque looked thin, which was Houston’s main complaint. It came with a baggie of oyster crackers.

Bread, Jam, and Butter
Bread, Jam, and Butter
Hank’s Oyster Bar, Washington, D.C.

Regan ordered the “Housemade Corned Beef and Potato Hash” ($13), which I also didn’t try.  It looked good enough, heavy on the meaty dices of corned beef and light on the potatoes.  The egg seemed nicely poached, the yolk was runny.

I did, however, try Houston’s “Fried Oysters” ($11), which were plump, with a thin, flaky, and impossibly light crust. Heaped into a shallow bowl, the ones on the bottom went soggy, the crust, greasy. The accompanying dip, a creamy hybrid of tartar and remoulade, was delicious.

My “Lobster Roll” ($23 – yes, $23) was pretty good – a well-buttered and toasted bun stuffed with a generous portion of lightly dressed lobster salad (tiny bits of celery – and mayonnaise, of course – being the only company for the lobster). The lobster had been nicely diced – there’s nothing worse than ill-chopped chunks still strung together, one bite pulling out the entire filling at once.

Sadly, the accompanying tangle of fries were limp, though well-seasoned.

Lobster Roll
Lobster Roll
Hank’s Oyster Bar, Washington, D.C.

But I found consolation in a delicious side order of “Coleslaw,” which was more sweet than tart ($5).  And the “Marinated Beets,” which were tender and clean-tasting, were also very good.

Dessert?  Not that we were looking to indulge, but we couldn’t have even if we wanted to.  There are no desserts at brunch (I’m not even sure they offer dessert at weekday lunch or at dinner).  But a little ramekin of dark chocolate nuggets – replacing the Goldfish – arrived with the bill.  It was just the sweet cap that we three were quietly craving.

Sides: Marinated Beets and Coleslaw
Marinated Beets and Coleslaw
Hank’s Oyster Bar, Washington, D.C.

Service was efficient and friendly, surprisingly attentive for a casual establishment.

Although we beat the “rush,” I’ve been warned that this place can fill up quickly.  They don’t take reservations, but they do accept 20-minute call-ahead seating requests. I called ahead, but arrived at a half-empty restaurant.  By the time we left, all the tables were full.  Had it been twenty-degrees warmer, you would have found us out on their patio.

CLICK HERE to see all of the photos from this meal.

Hank’s Oyster Bar
1624 Q Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20009
202-462-HANK (4265)

~ by ulterior epicure on April 2, 2010.

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