HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >
What's your latest food project?

Hank's or Tacklebox?

ulterior epicure Mar 17, 2010 01:02 PM

For brunch, which would you choose?

n.b. I would very much desire a lobster roll, though that is not the only consideration.

  1. m
    mjhals Mar 17, 2010 01:32 PM

    Never been to Hanks, but I've been to Tacklebox and had their lobster roll. Loved it, but must confess I'd never had one before, so nothing to compare it to. That said, I wouldn't pick Tacklebox as a brunch spot if you're looking for a relaxing, sitdown, lingering experience. Tacklebox is more of a to-go spot (although they do have tables, it's jut that they're communal and sometimes really crowded). Hook, their "sister" restaurant, is right next door and better for a relaxing brunch. Just my take on it,

    1. w
      weezycom Mar 17, 2010 02:07 PM

      Have not been for brunch, but was at Hank's on Sunday evening for dinner. Tablemate had the lobster roll. It was good, but more of a lobster salad style than classic tail-butter-roll. Very tasty, though I had the oyster po-boy and we both thought I got the better of the two dishes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: weezycom
        Elyssa Mar 23, 2010 05:39 AM

        I guess it depends where you are from for what you consider a classic lobster roll. For me (being from Boston) the roll at Hank's is very classic. They don't use as much mayo as would be in a lobster salad.

        While a lobster roll served warm with just drizzled butter is delicious, for a lot of people (at least in the Northshore of Boston) wouldn't consider this a "classic" lobster roll.

      2. ktmoomau Mar 17, 2010 06:32 PM

        I really like Hank's for brunch. Their hash is very good. So is the chowder. I haven't really had anything there I didn't like.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ktmoomau
          ulterior epicure Mar 17, 2010 09:12 PM

          Thanks so much for your advice all.

        2. ulterior epicure Mar 22, 2010 12:00 PM

          Is a reservation needed for either? This would be for a weekend lunch/brunch.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ulterior epicure
            ktmoomau Mar 22, 2010 12:49 PM

            Tacklebox doesn't take reservations- it is order at the counter- communal seating. I don't know if Hank's takes brunch reservations... you could call.

            1. re: ktmoomau
              ulterior epicure Mar 22, 2010 02:41 PM

              @ ktmoomau: In case anyone is curious, Hanks says they take a 20-minute call ahead, but otherwise, no reservations.

          2. p
            petercoolz Mar 22, 2010 01:41 PM

            Tacklebox happens to be the deal of the day today on livingsocial. Get 50% off -- $15 for a $30 gift certificate.

            Ends in about 12 hours.


            Set down that fishing gear and listen up: Today's deal gets you 50% off Tackle Box, our favorite in-and-out seafood joint in Georgetown, or DC for that matter. Where else can you sidle up to a buoy-bedecked bar, order a lobstah (with a side of fried clam strips), and eat it all with your fingers (or a fork) at a picnic table? Maine, duh, but not 90-feet away from the Coach store or across the street from J. Crew. After your exhausting day of reading mark-down tags, there's nothing better than plowing into a fisherman's feast of sustainable seafood...and a gooey slice of blueberry pie. Only thing missing? Those lolling Winslow waves.

            1 Reply
            1. re: petercoolz
              ulterior epicure Mar 22, 2010 02:40 PM

              Thanks for the link.

            2. e
              Elyssa Mar 23, 2010 05:37 AM

              These are 2 very different restaurants in terms of style and atmosphere.

              I personally would chose Hank's Oyster Bar if you were basing it on the lobster roll only. For me Hank's is pretty much the best lobster roll in town. It's a little pricey but it's worth it. For this Boston girl, it's the closest thing to the real deal.

              I was really disappointed with the bun on the lobster roll at Tacklebox. It was not buttered and grilled properly. It also tasted old. The lobster roll at Hank's is also larger.

              Hank's Oyster Bar
              1026 King St Ste 1, Alexandria, VA 22314

              1. ulterior epicure Mar 29, 2010 08:40 AM

                Ended up at Hank's. I'll report further anon with more detail. Thanks everyone for your help!

                1. ulterior epicure Apr 4, 2010 09:37 PM

                  As promised (the full story and photos can be found on my blog).

                  I was at the original location near Dupont on a recent Saturday for brunch, drawn by a sudden yen for a lobster roll.

                  The place is cute; a Georgetown-on-Cape Cod outfit with exposed brick walls and slick, blond wood floors. I bet the servers here all have masters degrees.

                  One friend asked for a pint of Tröegs “Troegenator” and a “Lobster Bisque” ($7), neither of which I tasted. The bisque looked thin, which was her main complaint. It came with a baggie of oyster crackers.

                  My other friend ordered the “Housemade Corned Beef and Potato Hash” ($13), which I also didn’t try. It looked good enough, heavy on the meaty dices of corned beef and light on the potatoes. The egg seemed nicely poached, the yolk was runny.

                  I did, however, try one of my friend's “Fried Oysters” ($11), which were plump, with a thin, flaky, and impossibly light crust. Heaped into a shallow bowl, the ones on the bottom went soggy, the crust, greasy. The accompanying dip, a creamy hybrid of tartar and remoulade, was delicious.

                  My “Lobster Roll” ($23 - yes, $23) was pretty good – a well-buttered and toasted bun stuffed with a generous portion of lightly dressed lobster salad (tiny bits of celery – and mayonnaise, of course – being the only company for the lobster). The lobster had been nicely diced – there’s nothing worse than ill-chopped chunks still strung together, one bite pulling out the entire filling at once. Sadly, the accompanying tangle of fries were limp, though well-seasoned.

                  But I found consolation in a delicious side order of “Coleslaw,” which was more sweet than tart ($5). And the “Marinated Beets,” which were tender and clean-tasting, were also very good.

                  Dessert? Not that we were looking to indulge, but we couldn’t have even if we wanted to. There are no desserts at brunch (I’m not even sure they offer dessert at weekday lunch or at dinner). But a little ramekin of dark chocolate nuggets – replacing the Goldfish – arrived with the bill. It was just the sweet cap that we three were quietly craving.

                  Service was efficient and friendly, surprisingly attentive for a casual establishment.

                  Although we beat the “rush,” I’ve been warned that this place can fill up quickly. They don’t take reservations, but they do accept 20-minute call-ahead seating requests. I called ahead, but arrived at a half-empty restaurant. By the time we left, all the tables were full. Had it been twenty-degrees warmer, you would have found us out on their patio.


                  4 Replies
                  1. re: ulterior epicure
                    MakingSense Apr 6, 2010 02:20 PM

                    Yikes! $23!!
                    Try the new Liberty Tree on H St. They've got a great lobster roll. Market Price. Last time it was $14. Also Lobster Pot Pie at Market Price.
                    I'm not from N. Eng. but my friends who are highly approve. Bun split on top, lightly grilled, etc. The owner is from MA, the chef went to Johnson and Wales in Providence. I think that they know what they're up to.
                    The chef told me that soon they'll start bringing in whole belly clams too.
                    The food at Liberty Tree is really good. Wood-fired pizza oven.
                    They don't serve "brunch" brunch, but they open at 11:30, and if you want lobster rolls, there they are!

                    1. re: MakingSense
                      ulterior epicure Apr 6, 2010 09:13 PM

                      Thanks for the report, Making Sense. Liberty Tree will have to wait for my next visit to the city.

                      1. re: MakingSense
                        BlueRidgePro Apr 24, 2010 01:36 PM

                        I tried Liberty Tree on you recommendation. Lobster Roll was excellent. I'm from New England.

                        Liberty Tree has a good menu, with a lot of excellent New England style seafood. It also served wood-fired oven pizza (an odd combination..), that is pretty good as well.

                        Atmosphere is that of a friendly neighborhood place.

                        1. re: BlueRidgePro
                          MakingSense Apr 24, 2010 09:27 PM

                          The chef told me that later this Spring they'll be bringing in whole belly clams which I understand are highly valued by you New England folks.
                          I think they're doing this right.
                          And, yes! The entire neighborhood seems to be in love!

                    2. m
                      masonuc Apr 7, 2010 07:04 AM

                      Hank's. Not close. Tacklebox not that good, IMO.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: masonuc
                        helenahimm Apr 25, 2010 06:46 AM

                        For Lobster Roll, Hanks a little pricey but delish (the po-boy the caramel bread pudding, the fries, the salad i love Hank's, but Liberty Taverns was darn good and way cheaper for lunch, Tacklebox not my cup of tea.

                        The Liberty Tavern
                        3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

                      2. s
                        Steve Apr 25, 2010 07:57 AM

                        The lobster roll at Kinkead's is the BEST in town, but I don't think it is always on the menu, plus I don't know if it is open for brunch. It is sensational.

                        Kinkead's Restaurant
                        2000 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20006-1812

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Steve
                          helenahimm Apr 25, 2010 03:22 PM

                          Now I have to go to Kinkead's!

                          Kinkead's Restaurant
                          2000 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20006-1812

                          1. re: Steve
                            MakingSense Apr 25, 2010 09:24 PM

                            Before you go saying "best," have you tried the lobster roll at Liberty Tree on H Street? May retire the local trophy.
                            Market price. Last was $14 and worth every penny. New England buddies were in accord.

                          Show Hidden Posts