Quick Review of Hank's Oyster Bar
I have a standing "let's try a new restaurant" weekly appointment with a former co-worker. I had read so much about Hank's on Chowhound, so I figured it would be great. We previously had gone to Les Halles and had a great steak and fries there.
The verdict on Hank's? It was great.
It's @ 1624 Q Street NW, and if you get out of the Dupont Metro, take the North Exit.
It puts you right out @ Q. (the walking directions from Metro's site is a little confusing)
After a quick 4 block walks East, I got to Hank's. Incidentally that little stretch of Q street is very nice.
I arrived @ 6:55. My friend was waiting at the bar. We were seated almost immediately, and there were 2-3 tables open. 10 minutes later there was a 45 minute wait.
Neither of us are drinkers, so i can't tell you much about the wine list, other than it exists.
They serve Pepperidge Farm gold fish in a small ingredient bowl to nibble on while you order a refreshment and read the menu.
The menu changes daily, according to the menu.
My friend isn't nearly as adventurous as I was, so i'll have to try the escargot there another time.
She got the fried oysters and a side of old Bay seasoned fries. (18?)
I got the special, which was 2 crab cakes, coleslaw, and old bay fries. ($26)
The crab cakes were perfectly circular and lightly browned. Cracking the crust revealed a mostly crab cake. There wasn't a lot of big chunky filler. Very adequate for my purposes.
But the fried oysters....I'm from Texas, spent time in Louisiana, and these oysters were on that level of goodness. Not overly battered, and the oyster was very "oyster-y". I don't think i've actually had better oysters.
And the fries were great. I may have to invest in a deep fryer and some old bay. (hopefully they both come packed with the defribilator and treadmill)
Service - ok
Dress - a good mix of business casual and business, with the casual folks enjoying a day in the outside seating area.
To end the meal, there were 4 pieces of dark chocolate in a finger bowl. Nice.
total bill - ~47 for the meal
Chowhound knocked it out of the park on this one.
Went to the D.C. branch - thought it was just okay. We got oyster po boys and mac 'n cheese. The oysters seemed greasy (not fried hot enough) and the slaw was just terrible: warm (like it was sitting around for a dog's age under hot lights waiting for the oysters to fry up) and no sauce, no zip, nada. The mac n cheese was so so. I also found it to be a little oily. Don't think we'll go back.
I've only been to the Old Town location and have eaten there several times. I love the menu and I want to love this restaurant. But whereas others report loving their fried food, I have found their fried fare just a bit too greasy -- on every occasion. Just my experience and my opinion.
I tried Hank's for oysters and a martini. Well 2. Maybe 3 or 4 I don't remember. Best damn oysters, better than Oyster Bar at Grand Central. Great martinis. Popcorn shrimp and calamari was great for the first half of the bucket but was soggy at the bottom. Need more people so we can eat it faster! Will be back.
A friend and I tried the Oyster Bar in Alexandria. I "guess" the food was good, but, it was so loud we could barely hear the waiter standing right at our table... we could hear details of everyone elses conversation!! This took away any enjoyment from the food. Not only is it loud from voices bouncing off of brick walls and bare floors, but, Hank's also likes playing music in the background! We probably won't go back.
John, I go to Hank's in Old Town often and I can see how the noise bothered you. I hope you wont let that deter you from going again. The food is excellent and yes, the tables can be close, but it's a small and narrow space so...there you go.
Get there early....around 6pm. I have never had a server that wasn't wonderful and I have lots of favorites at this point, including the popcorn shrimp and calamari, the flat iron steak and lobster bisque.
I second going to Hank's early as it fills up quickly on the weekend.
I tried the Mac & Cheesy, and did not care for it. At first, I had a hard time figuring out what kind of cheese they were using. It was white so I thought it might be white cheddar, but it didn't have any sharpness to it. Just a sort of dull smokiness, runny, and the top of the macaroni was very oily. I asked the server and she said it was gouda. I'll stick with the clams, the fries, and the greens from now on.