On Tap: 10 Raw Bars to Keep You Cool this Summer
“When patio weather hits, our taste buds immediately start to crave cold, briny oysters, sweet, chilled lobster meat and bright, zingy ceviches. The clean and refreshing flavors from raw bar menus are just perfect for outdoor dining, so this month we’re highlighting our favorites – many of which have stellar al fresco seating. You’ll want to chill out at these 10 raw bars all summer long.
This pearl hidden inside Alta Strada in City Vista is not your typical raw bar. Michael Schlow’s intimate 31-seat restaurant offers three tasting menus nightly, each featuring intriguing crudo dishes with seafood, vegetables and meats. As such, there’s not a whole lot of actual cooking that takes place in the kitchen, which consists of just a toaster oven, an induction burner and a rice cooker. Though the dishes change regularly, a few highlights have included uni flan with crab espuma and lobster roe powder and razor clam poke with mint, grapefruit, orange, rice masago and chili paste. 465 K St. NW, DC; www.conoscidc.com
Of course, Fabio and Maria Trabocchi’s lavish ode to the sea has a top-notch raw bar menu. It features frutti di mare platters with delicacies like tiger prawns, sea urchin, king crab, caviar, scallops, mussels, langoustine, lobster and more. Diners can also order oysters by the half dozen and four types of high-quality caviar. The restaurant’s beautiful terrace right on the Potomac River will make you feel like you’re dining on the coast of Italy. 3050 K St. Suite 101, NW, DC; www.fiolamaredc.com
Hank’s Oyster Bar
Take your pick from the three DMV locations of this staple oyster bar. The original Dupont Circle restaurant has six seats at the raw bar, where you can watch the oyster shuckers go through about 1,500 oysters a day on average. You could also sit on the 40-seat patio and down a few sake oyster shooters. The raw bar at Hank’s on the Hill is on a raised platform, so every seat in the house has a view. There’s also a small outdoor patio where you’ll want to tackle the seafood plateau with oysters, jumbo shrimp cocktail, ceviche, middle neck clams, Old Bay peel-and-eat shrimp and chilled lobster. In Old Town Alexandria, be sure to try Hank’s proprietary oyster, the Salty Wolfe. Dupont Circle: 1624 Q St. NW, DC; Capitol Hill:633 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, DC; Old Town Alexandria: 1026 King St. Alexandria, VA; www.hanksoysterbar.com
Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab
The namesake stone crab is the signature crustacean at this seafood spot. Joe’s founders popularized these unique crabs in the early 1900s when they began serving the claws on the front porch of their house in Miami Beach. Stone crabs can regenerate their claws, so fishermen harvest one claw at a time and then throw the crab back into the Gulf of Mexico. The raw bar menu also goes beyond the Florida favorite, with jumbo Alaskan king crab, East Coast oysters, jumbo shrimp cocktail, ceviche and more. 750 15th St. NW, DC; www.joes.net/dc
Every meal at this classic French café should start with one of the loaded seafood plateaus. The towers feature several unique mollusks, shellfish and crustaceans that you don’t typically find on a raw bar menu. The petit and grand plateaus feature varying quantities of oysters from both coasts, little neck clams, top neck clams, razor clams, king crab, snow crab, jumbo lump crab meat, lobster, Blue Bay mussels, shrimp, fluke and welks. It’s all served with mignonette, cocktail sauce and French cocktail sauce. For a true Parisian experience, enjoy your plateau on the sidewalk patio while watching the world go by. 1601 14th St. NW, DC; www.lediplomatedc.com“
Read about the other five raw bars HERE!
Featured photo courtesy of Fiola Mare.