Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Hank's on the Hill

Catching up on some culinary adventures, we take you to Hank's Oyster Bar on Capitol Hill.  You may be familiar with the Hank's near Logan/Dupont or the Old Town Alexandria location.  Hank's on the Hill is the youngest sibling in owner Jamie Leeds' mini-chain. 

The space is narrow and dominated by a large bar on one wall.  DC's master mixologist Gina Chersevani (of Buffalo and Bergen fame) has partnered with Hank's to create "Eddy Bar" featuring a wild menu of cocktail creations.

On this visit with a group of friends, we shared a plate of fried oysters for the table.  If you can't get down with the slippy slidey-ness of raw oysters, these lightly-coated fried bivalves are for you.

Hank's has a chalkboard that lists where the raw oysters are from that day.  Since we know approximately nothing about oysters, we let our waiter choose a selection.  He explained which ones were brinier and which had a smoother finish.  I dump cocktail sauce and horseradish on them and they taste pretty much the same to me.  An oyster expert I am not.

I've never met a lobster roll I didn't like, so I couldn't resist ordering the Hank's version.  I was pleased with the large lobster chunks and light touch of mayo.  The onion rings were a big disappointment.  They were bland and two of the four (yes, four onion rings) were made from the stringiest part of the onion, making them very hard to eat.

Since apparently B didn't have enough oysters for the appetizer course, he ordered the oyster po boy.  Though it was oyster overload, I think he liked the sandwich version of the fried oyster appetizer.

One of the coolest things about the Dupont Hank's location, the half price raw bar from 10pm to midnight every night, does not appear to have made its way to the Capitol Hill location.  This late night happy hour is what makes Hank's stand out in our minds, so I hope they'll consider adding it to the Hill location. 

Even without the late night discount, Hank's makes a nice addition to Pennsylvania Avenue SE and I'm glad to see their recent roof fire didn't keep them closed.

Second Thoughts from B

I've written the latter half of nearly 400 blog posts under the heading, "Second Thoughts."  The title is simply an allusion to our TwoDC theme that provides two perspectives on all the wonderful, and sometimes not so wonderful, things to do and eat in Washington.  In this post, however, "second thoughts" takes on a more traditional meaning... regret.

Any loyal reader knows that I enjoy eating almost anything and that allows me the flexibility to order the "best" thing on the menu.  Sometimes this is determined by the masses (i.e., Google), sometimes a waiter/waitress gets an assist, and sometimes the answer is written in giant letters over my head.  In other words, when I go to Hank's Oyster Bar, I'm ordering oysters.

The problem with that strategy is that on this particular night, I got a bit carried away.  I'm sure some of you love oysters enough to have them featured on three different plates.  I'm not one of those people.  By the time my po boy showed up, I was oystered out.  Don't get me wrong, they were good.  Really good.  But I had enough of the rich, salty, sliminess and was wishing I ordered a salad.

So to the good people of Washington, learn from my mistake.  Skip the third straight oyster dish, but don't skip a trip to Hank's.
Hank's Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon


Mr. Cheap Eats said...

I have been to both Hanks and Pearl Dive. I can't speak for the expert mixologists (beer on tap is all I need), but as far as the raw oysters, I preferred Pearl Dive. I also had the greatest crab cakes of my life at PD.

J said...

We agree with your assessment. Pearl Dive was really amazing.