Photos: DC Spotlight Newspaper/Joanna Moreno
December 1, 2011
By Alex Barron
It’s surprising that Hank’s Oyster Bar has only been in existence for six and a half years; Dupont’s friendly neighborhood seafood spot channels the aura of an Old New Englandinstitution. This Washington, D.C. delight resembles Boston’s Union Oyster House, which sold itsfirst platter of steamers in 1826. Since its opening, Hank’s has generated an impressive amount of buzz from District residents who previously may have had to travel to the Eastern Shore for fresh seafood in this casual and authentic setting. However, its small dining room and no reservation policy made thelocal bar one of the tougher tickets in town.
After a complimentary bowl of Goldfish to start the meal (kitschy, but fun) a predictably safe bet is a platter of oysters, which your server will be happy to describe with the expertise and detail of a sommelier. Varieties are subject to change depending on the day (prices vary as well), but the BBQ’d Oysters Hog Island Style ($13) are a fixture. Slathered in a sauce of white wine and butter and served hot, they provide a tasty alternative to the bivalves most diners are already acquainted with. Popcorn Shrimp and Calamari ($10), served boardwalk style (in a wax paper cone), are generously breaded and crispy.Extensive renovations have now more than doubled the space at Hank’s and Version 2.0, which opened over the summer, is now bigger and more accessible than its previous incarnation. Located in what were once two adjacent row houses, the restaurant makes the most of its space. It features a lively dining room and bar on the downstairs level as well as nooks and crannies with more private tables upstairs.
As is the case at most seafood spots, the Lobster Roll ($23) is one of the more expensive items on the menu. However, its generous chunks of lobster, garnished with crispy celery, coated with a light helping of mayo, and piled onto a buttery brioche roll make it almost a bargain. Considering its seafood concentration, Hank’s also has more meat options than anyone should reasonably expect. Carnivores will appreciate the short ribs and the steak with chimichurri.
As Washington, D.C. approaches winter, the bar at Hank’s just might be the next best thing to dining at a restaurant near our local beaches. A cone of Old Bay fries and one of mixologist Megan Coyle’s wishfully titled mixed drinks (Getaway, The Sundowner, Hawaii to Martinique) might be as close as to the seashore as any of us will get for a while.
Hank’s Oyster Bar
1624 Q Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
Fall Hours: Restaurant Hours
Monday & Tuesday 5:30pm – 10:00pm
Wednesday, Thursday & Friday 5:30pm – 11:00pm
Saturday 11:00am – 3:00pm, 5:30pm – 11:00pm
Sunday Brunch 11:00am – 3:00pm, 5:30pm – 11:00pm
*Half Price Raw Bar from 11:00 pm – 12:00am every night
ALEXANDRIA, VA – as of November 1st.
1026 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Monday – GONE FISHIN’
Tuesday – Thursday 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Friday – 11:30 am – 4:00 pm & 5:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Saturday – 11:00 am – 10:30 pm
Sunday – 11:00 am – 9:30 pm