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Tackle Box In Georgetown

Well as Flavor Flave of Public Enemy said, "DON'T BELIEVE THA HYPE". The Tackle Box is a "rip-off." My wife and I have enjoyed our family's Martha's Vineyard cottage in Oak Bluffs, Mass. for years. As a little boy, I can remember the lobster rolls (all the way back to 1965). Today, the best lobster rolls are at John's Fish Market and Sandy's Fish & Chips in Vineyard Haven (on State Road). So when my wife told me about the Tackle Box in Georgetown DC, I got really excited. Well, on June 24, 2008 around 10pm my wife and I took the our standard sized dachshund (Cousteau) with us. I went inside and ordered two (2) lobster rolls, two (2) orders of cole slaw, and two (2) orders of fries (while my wife and the four-legged poocher/chowhound waited outside). The total price came to $63 and change. I'm thinking "gosh daggit" (you all know what I really said), that's really expensive. But if it tastes half as good as the lobster rolls in Martha's Vineyard we will be straight. Well we get home and I realize that the New England style hot dog bun which is holding in the lobster salad is stale and hard as a rock. The lobster salad is mediocore at best, no celery, and not creamy. For the money we spent, I gave those lobster rolls a grade of D(minus). Oh, by the way, I don't know about you guys, but I am a huge fan of cole slaw. The cabbage was not fully cooked and it was old with a slightly brown color. This place sucks! (Big Time). I could open up a better place than these people and run them out of business, just by applying good customer quality ingredients and excellent customer service and food quality processes. THE TACKLE BOX SMELLS LIKE FISH, THROW IT BACK. Go to Martha's Vineyard instead. Just my family's humble opinion.

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  1. I have spent 52 summers in Brewster, Mass., and lived on the North Shore of Boston, where I ate at places like "Freddie's Lobsta-land" in Gloucester. Tackle Box was a big let-down (which I have detailed in another thread). I will reiterate that the chowder is spot-on authentic, but it's not enough to make up for all the other un-authentic aspects of this place.

    1. $63? That's alot more than what's posted on their website. The website had lobster roll and fries at $19. A pint of slaw is $5. I guess if you had another side of fries, you're at $29 per person before taxes.

      Anyway, I'm always glad to read reviews that don't fawn all over everything. However, I do want to try it out for myself and I'm more interested in clams than lobster.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Ericandblueboy

        Hi Ericandblueboy,
        I didn't realize that fries came with the lobster roll. I should have asked. Yet the establishment could have told me. So without the extra fries it would have been around $55 bucks. Guess what , they still suck!

        1. re: DCgourmet

          So in addition to serving you crappy food,they ripped you off?

          For a second I just thought you and your wife really love fries.

          1. re: Ericandblueboy

            I must admit his fries were pretty darn good!

        2. re: Ericandblueboy

          BTW Ericandblueboy- I had the clams the second time we went, I wasn't thrilled with them, they were ok, nothing special. If you want a good experience I would get grilled fish.

        3. Just out of curiousity, you mention the cabbage not being fully cooked in the cole slaw. Cole slaw is generally made with raw cabbage. Am I missing something? Thanks for the report, I have family from Maine visiting this summer and am contemplating taking there.

          3 Replies
          1. re: dcskinsfan

            Hi dcskinfan,
            you are correct, I should have said that the juice from the mayo had not been fully absorbed into the raw cabbage. It just had that "not fully cooked taste to it." But in actuality a portion of the cole slaw tasted like raw cabbage instead of moist juicy fully hydrated cabbage (not cooked cabbage) thanks for clearing up my foggy thought process on that statement

            1. re: DCgourmet

              Their cole slaw is unbelievably bad. I don't know how you can manage to make cole slaw so bad, I make it much better at home and have only just started making it. It almost had a chemical taste to it, although I had no problem with the cabbage itself, just the flavor of the sauce really.

              But I have had awesome fries and really good bluefish there (with a little aioli on the side that I didn't use much of).

              The Mac and Cheese looks really good, I saw it the first time I went tried it second time and it was just under seasoned, if they had salt on the table, I could have doctored it up pretty well, but they only have pepper and other seasoning. But the fresh fish was really good, I think that is where they shine.

              I will be sad if the chef leaves Hook, I absolutely LOVE Hook. I have never had a bad first or second course there. They have some dishes that are just amazing... so I hope they work something out. I would hate to see the menu change or someone come in who couldn't execute the same dishes, as well. Tacklebox I think still has some glitches, but has really good potential.

              1. re: DCgourmet

                Thanks DC, didn't mean to nit pick or anything, I was just curious if there was a new kind of slaw I was missing out on.

                Too bad about Hook and Tackle Box.

            2. Plenty of breaking news today.

              Tackle Box's chef Barton Seaver has left the house...hot on the heels of chef Richard Bechtold a couple of weeks ago. Could explain some of the issues you had last night.

              8 Replies
              1. re: crackers

                Just read that on Washingtonian. He's still under contract. If Pure Hospitality wants to play hardball, they can prevent him from working anywhere else.

                Pure Hospitality is trying to control the damage by saying that Seaver wasn't in charge at Hook anyway. Regardless, Hook and Tackle Box are off of my to do list for now.

                1. re: Ericandblueboy

                  I doubt Chef Barton Seaver will need to work in a kitchen during the remainder of his contract. He was reportedly finishing his cook book & could spend his time doing appearances or a book tour and speaking engagements about his favorite cause, Sustainability. With his looks and talent he could certainly follow his mentor, Chef Jose Andreas into the world of celebrity Chefs, if he wanted.

                  1. re: oldbaycupcake

                    Good for himmmmmmmmm, you can tell him to give me a refund

                    1. re: oldbaycupcake

                      Good Morning oldbaycupcake,
                      What does that have to do with poor customer service? If he doesn't "need" to be in the kitchen he should at least supervise the quality of his kitchen. Otherwise, when the word gets out about the consumers' dissatisfaction, he may "need" to get back in the kitchen.

                      1. re: DCgourmet

                        My comments were in response to Ericandblueboy's comment about Seaver still being under contract & the possibility of Pure Hospitality preventing him from working in another kitchen. I was only speculating on what Seaver might do if he was prevented from taking another position.

                    2. re: Ericandblueboy

                      Hook is (and has been) going strong under Chef de Cuisine Josh Whigham. One would hope that Seaver's departure as exec would not become cause for lemmingish histrionics and unfounded negativity.

                      1. re: crackers

                        such as "oh no, the sky is falling"? okay, maybe I'll go try Hook.

                        1. re: crackers

                          That's what Washingtonian said, hopefully... I hope they continue with the sustainable message though that seemed to be a rub, but was something I really admired and enjoyed about it. Yes it is all about the food, but I want to be able to enjoy that same food for a long time.

                    3. Hi, DCgourmet,

                      I actually went here a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it, overall (though please read on). I got the grilled Tilapia with broccoli and asparagus (yes, I had to battle with myself not to get the fries or the Mac and Cheese!). Everything had a very smoky taste to it, like it was right off the grill, and it was all cooked perfectly. It was approx. $16 total for the fish, two sides, the spicy marinara sauce on the side (though the basil-walnut pesto - redundant much? - was tempting as well) and a soda.

                      HOWEVER, my friend went back to get a lobster roll to split between the three of us and, I have to agree, it was not good. It was quite bland and boring. I just looked on Menupages and, 19 bucks for that...seriously? Best to stick with the grilled items, I suppose. I can see how this item (plus the rip-off factor) would turn you off, but there are certainly items on the menu worth trying.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Melanie

                        Good Morning Melanie,
                        I will definitely take your advice on the broccoli and asparagus, we both love those two vegetables, along with chinese pea pods (not to be confused with snow peas) and brussel sprouts. Also your suggestion of the grilled items truly makes sense, both on food value/pricng as well as the Tackle Box's ability to properly prepare. However, I give credit to your positive experience at the Tackle Box, more to your smart food choices rather than to the Tackle Box's customer service. Again, thank you for sharing the information and your positive experience at the Tackle Box.

                      2. WOW! I am really surprised by all the negative comments. I just had lunch there and thought it was great! Had the fried clams and fries, VERY tastey and the grilled corn was great. My meal came to $16, which is what is posted. As a matter of fact, all the prices are posted, so not sure why so many of you were surprised. I though the place was very cute!! I definitely recommend it and will go back often. The service was great too. This is not fancy food, but great for the counter service place that is it. Definitely go!

                        1. I really regret not doing a search before heading into Georgetown today, because I dropped into Tackle Box today for lunch. What a dreadful dining establishment. Lobster roll bread was stale, lobster salad was extremely bland, and coleslaw was tasteless. I don't usually order fries and love good coleslaw. I've never been to Maine to have a lobster roll, but the first one I had at Elizabeth's Wine Bar in Duck still lingers fondly in my memory. If only they still served lunch. Does anyone have lobster roll recommendations for NOVA/DC?

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: Martha

                            We've been to TackleBox a couple of times and have found it to be okay (on my informal 'terrible,' 'pretty bad,' 'medicore,' 'okay,' 'very good,' and 'outstanding' scale :-)).

                            But, as a former Boston resident and frequent cape-goer, the reviews here make me not want to even try the lobster roll.

                            We've gotten a couple of grilled fish entries and fried clams. The clams were respectable but, again, not at the level of cape, north shore, Woodman's, etc. Oh, respectable probably equals 'okay.' Likewise on the grilled fish. Just good enough to go back on occasion since there's nothing really else around like it at lower/moderate prices.

                            Here's a question on the lobster roll though--especially for folks like DCgourmet who I fully believe KNOW lobster rolls. Is the problem with it the ingredients (bad lobster) or prep method in your view? No celery is an issue that could be solved easily. Likewise on creaminess. But, if the lobster isn't right, there's no hope. And, did you speak to the management about it. Maybe, just maybe, they'd want to do the right thing if they knew? Though I know often the feedback isn't valued, sometimes it is.

                            Oh for a great and reasonably priced lobster roll in DC!

                            1. re: nwdchound

                              Not as good as in Maine, but Legal Seafood has a pretty good lobster roll for around here. I usually go to the one at Montgomery Mall or Tysons Corner.

                              1. re: nwdchound

                                After checking out the web site for Hank's Oyster Bar, and seeing a picture of their lobster roll, I think I found the problem with Tackle Box. Their lobster salad is not a light mixture of lobster, but rather has a dense, almost tuna salad-like quality. Still, I've had some pretty good tuna salad. This completely lacked flavor, and what's with the stale role. You're right, I should have talked to the manager; but it was so hot yesterday, I was on autopilot. It was so appointing after the lobster sandwich I had a few weeks ago at Baltimore's Salt.

                              2. re: Martha

                                Martha: When it opened it was being run by Barton Seaver and Robert Bechtold, each of whom was devoted to making it really work. They're both gone now, and by all reports the quality has gone on a steep downhill slide without them -- except for the asparagus, which reportedly is still good!

                                Not a safe investment as of now -- which is a shame, because we could really use a place such as TB when it was good.

                                1. re: MartyL

                                  I just saw this place mentioned in Gourmet mag. Any recent reviews?

                                  1. re: beauxgoris

                                    I finally went here today for the first time after reading lots of mixed reviews here and elsewhere. My friend and I each got the "Tackle Box Special" I think it was called: 1 fish, 1 side, 1 sauce for $9.00. We got grilled bluefish, fried calamari, green beans, cornbread, grilled lemon and lemon/garlic aioli. The bluefish was wonderful, tender, moist and tasting of the grill -- I would have loved a larger serving. The calamari fried with lemons were very good - tender and not at all rubbery. They were perhaps a bit on the greasy side, but still good. The aioli with both entrees was excellent and we were given a generous portion of it. I loved the green beans - they were crisp and very smokey. The grilled lemon wasn't particularly special - but it was nice to have a healthy "sauce" alternative. The cornbread was disappointing -- but I must say that I have very strong feelings about cornbread. I basically never have a restaurant version that I like, having grown up on the southern (non-sweet, non-cakey) variety, served piping hot straight from the oven with butter melting all over it. This cornbread was the northern type - but it was much less sweet than others I've had, which is a good thing in my view. Another thing I liked was that they have lots of self-serve fresh lemon wedges available. All in all, I thought that this was a very good deal for the money and I will go back -- especially if, as was the case today, Amma's Vegetarian Kitchen is closed. Being in Georgetown makes me hanker for a masala dosa!

                                    1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                      I really like Tacklebox, too. I thought the fried clams were good, and the grilled portobello mushrom (huge & meaty) and beets were AMAZING sides! The people who work there are lovely and helpful with recommendations and the atmosphere is perfect for what it is, IMO.

                                      1. re: chicken kabob

                                        Ordered the lobster roll today (sadly, the fried clams were gone) but I thought the lobster roll was good. I am glad I did not read the negative comments about it before hand, or I may not have ordered it. The bun was not your typical hotdog bun, which I also like, but a VERY fresh, buttery brioche bun. The lobster was in chunks w/ a light mayo-more lobster than mayo.

                                        1. re: chicken kabob

                                          I was there last weekend for fish tacos - very tasty I thought, especially with fresh lemon squeezed over. A tad pricey ($8 for 2, $11 for 3) but not for that area.

                              3. I've been here a few times. I like it. They prepare it how you like. Fresh and pretty reasonable for what you get (most items).

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Jacey

                                  I've eaten there several times (proximity to GU), and I'm not going back. Truly mediocre each time.

                                  1. re: eighthour

                                    I went when it first opened and made the HUGE mistake of getting the grilled calamari (on reccomendation by staff by the way) - the squid was not even CLEANED OUT, still having the interior gunk clinging, and was overcooked to boot. Greasy asparagus on the side and I wound up paying over $15 for the diet coke I drank as I could not even touch the food.

                                    1. re: sashab10

                                      You should have complained to the manager. If you don't speak up things can't improve. On a similar note, a friend of mine didn't have the best experience. She ended up telling them a month later when she happened to be in there. They ended up giving her a free meal plus extra.