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Hank's Oyster Bar in Washington, DC


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I just read a brief article in today's--Thursday, May 26th edition--of the free daily paper, The Washington Post Express, about a new restaurant opening in Washington, DC. It's called Hank's Oyster Bar and is located on 1624 Q Street, NW. The article said that "chef Jamie Leeds, formerly of 15 ria............." opened this establishment. The cuisine is described as "New England beach food" and will feature lobster rolls, steamed mussels, fish and chips, chowder/chowdah and the like (drooling as I write this). I must admit that I go all weak in the knees for New England style seafood since New Englanders--at least the ones who know what they're doing--have a tendency to try to maintain the integrity of the seafood, IMHO, and not muck it up with a lot stuff. No mention of one of my all time favorites, however: fried clam bellies. :smile:

In light of this article, I have several questions about this establishment and the chef.

1) Is anyone out there familiar with the work of chef Jamie Leeds or her restaurant, 15 ria?

2) Has anyone sampled the food at Hank's Oyster Bar? Opinions? Good, Bad, Ugly?

3) If you have eaten there, what is the price range for brunch/dinner? The article said that they are only open for for dinner Wednesday thru Monday and brunch on Saturday and Sunday.

4) Also, what experience might you have with seafood in New England? My limited experiences date from my long ago college days in Worcester, Mass and various trips to Boston. I had some of the best seafood in both places, in particular lobster rolls, fried clam bellies, and very simply prepared fish, ala baked scrod with only breadcrumbs, a bit of butter, salt & pepper and parsley, broiled and served with a wedge of lemon and some tartar sauce, among other wonderful seafood dishes.

Looking forward to any and all information about this establishment.

Peace, Love and Hairgrease! :laugh:

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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I went the day after they opened. Here's my impression:

The menu and wine list are interesting and reasonably priced, and with time I am sure it will be packed every night. I had the griddled calamari with olives and capers. The squid was perfectly fresh and creamy textured but the olives and capers (chopped as a sauce) slightly overwhelmed the delicate taste of the squid. My main was the fish and chips. The fish was very good but could have been a smaller portion, or at least cut into smaller pieces before frying. It was accompanied by good fries and very good cole slaw with a sweet & sour poppy seed dressing.

They did not yet have their license the night I went, and no desserts. I was impressed enough to want to go back.

Edit: they might not be open late enough for you, Mr. Slater. They are closed on Tuesdays instead of the more usual Mondays.

Edited by hjshorter (log)

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Black Salt also has whole bellied clams which are equal to both Woodman's and the Clam Box. Kinkead's, in addition to their whole bellied clams, has an excellent lobster roll. Both restaurants have exemplery New England clam chowder.

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I went to Hank's last night with a few friends and it was wonderful. The folks there took a grimy, nasty sub shop and turned it into a beautiful, bright space. The place just has a really nice, laid back, comfortable vibe and a great location within walking distance of my home.

And the food is fantastic. Simple, clean, bright flavors. To start, our table tried the oysters of the day (two east coast varieties Blue Point and Chedarsomething, and two Pacific varieties Hood Canal? and Hama Hama), the Artichoke and Oyster Dip and the Fried Ipswich Clams. The dip was nice and the oysters especially the Pacific ones got a thumbs up. But the fried clams, ah, the clams they were something else. In a word, perfect. Very lightly floured and quickly fried preserving their texture and flavor. Just a beautiful briny, crisp, hot mouthful. And the accompanying sauce was the perfect creamy, horseradishy pairing for the clams. We fought for every crumb.

For dinner, we tried the halibut, the bouillabase, the soft shells and the lobster roll. I'm not that crazy about halibut 'cause I think it is kinda blah but this was cooked perfectly and had a nice tomato salsa to give it a little zip. The bouillabase has a generous amount of mussels, clams and scallops and had a nice depth thank to the lobster stock. And plenty of fennel. The only thing I'd do different is serve it with a rouille. I think a good garlicky rouille is essential. The soft shell crabs were two to an order and just quickly pan-fried. No breading. No heavy sauce. Nothing to hide that essential crabby goodness. A few summers back, I went to Maine for a week and couldn't believe how cheap the lobsters were. I devoured lobster rolls like a madwoman. This was better than anything I had in Maine. The lobster roll was overflowing with big chunks of lobster (both claw and tail), studded with celery and lightly bound with mayo. And the bun bore marks from the grill. Love that.

No desserts yet but I strongly suggested to the serve that they add a lemon tart or perhaps a summer berry trifle layered with lemon curd. Anything lemony.

Only beer and wine for the moment but my feeling is that a cold beer is the best pairing with Hank's simple, beach-inspired seafood anyway so I didn't miss the booze.

The only thing I would change is the oyster bar itself. It is a bit, err, bijoux. Really small. After all, the place is called Hank's Oyster Bar and I think it would make more sense to make that a more prominent feature. Maybe place it in the window a la J.Paul's. Dunno. Just my $.02.

Anyway, go. It's good.

"Well, there's egg and bacon; egg sausage and bacon; egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam; spam bacon sausage and spam; spam egg spam spam bacon and spam; spam sausage spam spam bacon spam tomato and spam; spam spam spam egg and spam; spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam spam or Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam. "

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I went to Hank's last night with a few friends and it was wonderful. The folks there took a grimy, nasty sub shop and turned it into a beautiful, bright space.

Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey...Trio's Sub Shop served tasty food to the kinds of people who can't afford lobster roll -- cabbies, immigrants, laborers and myself -- for many years. It's cheesesteak was legendary in some circles, and the pizza was not half bad. The sub shop's loss is yet another sign that a once-varied and diverse neighborhood is becoming another yuppie ghetto. Inevitable, perhaps, but unfortunate.

I'm sure Hank's will be wonderful, I am eager to try it. I know, alas, that Time Marches On.

But you can love Hank's without hatin' on Trio's. :wink:

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Easy now with the yuppie bashing. And the class warfare talk. I am an exceedingly underpaid prole who made my home in the neighborhood for years, way before it became so posh.

And I loved Trio's too. There were many nights I wound up there after too many vodka tonics at Fox & Hounds or Mr. Eagan's. However, my love did not blind me to its ugliness! Admit it. It was, at best, a homely little place.

As for the argument that the sub sign was some sort of historic landmark well, erm, I miss the sign too but you lost me there.

Besides, every townie knows the best bad pizza is to be found at Millie & Al's.

"Well, there's egg and bacon; egg sausage and bacon; egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam; spam bacon sausage and spam; spam egg spam spam bacon and spam; spam sausage spam spam bacon spam tomato and spam; spam spam spam egg and spam; spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam spam or Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam. "

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Easy now with the yuppie bashing. And the class warfare talk. I am an exceedingly underpaid prole who made my home in the neighborhood for years, way before it became so posh.

And I loved Trio's too. There were many nights I wound up there after too many vodka tonics at Fox & Hounds or Mr. Eagan's. However, my love did not blind me to its ugliness! Admit it. It was, at best, a homely little place.

As for the argument that the sub sign was some sort of historic landmark well, erm, I miss the sign too but you lost me there.

Besides, every townie knows the best bad pizza is to be found at Millie & Al's.

I confess that its interior design was, ahem, substandard. I've never argued that the sign was a historic landmark -- though I'd love to see Hank's get one up --it was, however, a lighthouse-like beacon for me on many a foggy walk home.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Sorry. Bad writer. I meant THE argument not YOUR argument. Apparently, I need a nap. Anyway, some community folks were up in arms when Hank's was being built and tried to get the sign granted some historic landmark protection or something.

"Well, there's egg and bacon; egg sausage and bacon; egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam; spam bacon sausage and spam; spam egg spam spam bacon and spam; spam sausage spam spam bacon spam tomato and spam; spam spam spam egg and spam; spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam spam or Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam. "

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Thanks everyone for the feedback. I really appreciate having some idea of what the food is like before I try a new establishment. Obviously sometimes I do try a new place without the benefit of buzz. But no one I know is giving away money and my money is precious, so that when I do go out I would like at least decent chance of feeling that I will receive good value for my hard earned dollars.

monkey2000, your experience has me salivating over my keyboard right now!!! I'm especially looking forward to trying the fried clams, softshell crabs, and the lobster roll. Great idea for adding lemony and berry desserts. I think that this kind of restaurant needs those kinds of desserts and not any elaborate, overblown flight of fancy type stuff. And yes I am quite capable of eating all of the above at one sitting!!! :laugh:

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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