Quarterdeck, first visit (July 2014)
Bunch of people coming from all points around the Beltway. Cantler's is going to be too much of a hassle, plus don't want to deal with lines. So we decide to try Quarterdeck for the first time. Reserved (small place, you really need to reserve) 6 at 6. Parking is a hassle. The lot is tiny - space for only a few cars. The adjacent row appears to be part of their lot but if you park there, a guy comes out of the mini-mart and yells at you. I asked him why he doesn't post a sign on the utility pole at the entrance to the lot. He says he has a sign on his window at the far end of the lot - and maybe he does, among the dozens of signs posted there, Idiot. After he has yelled at a few dozen parkers each week, doesn't it dawn on him to put a sign where it is visible? Many streets later, we find a spot. When we get back to the restaurant, we are seated promptly. Glad we asked for outdoors as indoors is crowded, stuffy, and noisy. Outdoors is noisy only when planes fly overhead. Service was prompt and great. Two baskets each of hush puppies and battered onion rings. The onion rings could have been slightly hotter and crisper, but still pretty good. The crabs arrive - extra-large, fairly heavy. Not a light one in the bunch. Excellent quality. The three crab lovers among us were very happy. One who had had crabs only once before struggled so we picked a couple of crabs for her. The other, new to hard-shell crabs, caught on quickly and was happy with her crabs. Price was high - $95 dozen for extra-large. Then again I don't know the going rate this year. We're basically down to once-per-year on crabs because of the cost. All in all, an excellent meal. Prefer Cantler's for the atmosphere but not the lines and these crabs were better than those we had at Cantler's last year. We had three or four light crabs in our order last year, though if you ask them, they will replace the light crabs. And the sides at Quarterdeck were way better than the sides at Cantler's.
Glad to hear it was a good experience for you. I guess the price has skyrocketed this year..... haven't had crabs since last year. Aside form crabs, it is actually worth eating here for the mesquite shrimp. I imagine it's with a brush-on liquid, but it's a damn good order. Wouldn't really come here for the other menu items.
Street parking is usually the best bet -- around the apartment/condo buildings up there, you can usually find a spot without a major hike.
We always like the quality of the crabs there, and enjoy the experience (seems like it's been the same forever). $95 for extra larges seems to be in line with what we've paid the last couple years there. Although often we are not lucky enough to reserve far enough ahead to get anything but mediums or maybe larges. The prices at QD are not a bargain, but don't seem to fluctuate wildly.
Street parking is the norm at the Quarter Deck, usually never a problem. Never bothered with the sides, just crabs and beer. It's an August ritual for at least twelve of us to do the AYCE crabs, usually around $35-40 a head. Looking forward to it! They do have the best crabs in/near DC, consistently.