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Feb 15, 2008 10:06 AM

Market Inn, E Street Washington. Reviews?

I just happened to catch the tail end of a an old FN show, Best Of, and they were doing a segment on the Market Inn, Washington. It made me want to hop in my car and drive the 250 miles for one of their crabcakes. But, we will actually be down that way in a few weeks, so I'm wondering if anyone has been recently and can provide some feedback.

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  1. I went last year for lunch, on someone else's dime I might add. The place is not cheap. The crab cake is good, but nothing special. Most upscale seafood places could provide a better one. Their she crab soup however is excellent, with a lot of good crab flavor, but I don't think it's worth going 5 miles out of your way for, let alone 250. There's much better seafood to be had in DC, at Hook for instance. It has an interesting, old school men's clubbish atmosphere that I like, but the food has a kind of cafeteria feel to it. But at upscale prices.

    1. Don't do it! The crab cakes are not good, unless you like a dark brown, heavily breaded cake. The ONLY thing worth ordering on the menu besides the she crab soup is the seafood caesar salad, and unless you like a lot of dressing, get it on the side.

      Like monkeyrotica said, the atmosphere is good but the food isn't.

      1. I think I may have seen the same show, because at some point I was like "oh we've got to go to the Market Inn and get the crab cakes!"

        Once we finally found the place (it's in a very odd, out-of-the-way location) it was a very strange experience, not what I had really expected. The place had this kind of dank, dark feel to it like it hadn't been renovated since the 1960s.

        There is thick, shag-type carpeting and wood paneled walls. There is the stench of cigar and cigarette smoke soaked into the walls from years of chain-smoking patrons.

        The waitresses were, ummm, mostly older African American women who moved very slowly and deliberately and several times plopped themselves down at empty tables just to rest and chat with one another. It was very surreal in a way.

        We both ordered lump crab cakes and they weren't bad, but they certainly aren't worth going out of the way for. Our sides of french fries and vegetables were soggy and bland, but the crab cakes were enough to fill us up.

        I wouldn't discourage anyone from going to the Market Inn once, just to have the experience, but I wouldn't suggest making a special trip for it.

        1. UGGGG. Save yourself the time, money, and disappointment. I used to work for NASA at headquarters, which is on the same block. Went twice, once to try it and once to give it a second chance. Totally mediocre, at best.

          2 Replies
          1. re: CuriousGrrl

            Thanks to everyone from saving me from a less than ideal experience. Both the soup and the crabcakes are actually available from them on-line. I might go with the soup

            1. re: bnemes3343

              Don't go. I was very excited to try it. It's costs a fortune for the terrible quality of food they offer. Lame dinner rolls served with hard, orangy "butter product." Every piece of shellfish in the lobster bake I got was tasteless and/or rubbery. Gf's broiled fishsteak (don't remember if it was tuna or swordfish) was the most overcooked and bland piece of fish I've ever tasted. At $26.95 no list. I'd eat anywhere else before going back.

          2. Market Inn survives largely because it is one of perhaps 3 or 4 food establishments in this part of town that offers full (waiter) service. A perennial favorite for office going-away parties simply because there's no alternative. I'm there only when office politics dictate that it would be a poor career move to do otherwise.

            The last ounce of respect I had for Food Network went out the door when I saw the Market Inn piece a few years back.