Tag Archives: seafood

Catch of the Day at the Maine Avenue Fish Market

The Maine Avenue Fish Market, a collection of seafood joints located on barges in the Potomac River, is a grimy, fun, hidden gem that features some of the most authentic food and people-watching in the District.  Open continuously since the early 1800s, the market is located under I-395 on approximately 12th and G SW.

A half-dozen vendors make up the market, such as Captain White’s, Jessie Taylor Seafood, and Evans Brothers for dessert.  The main attraction is the wholesale seafood, displayed on ice in copious quantities.  Chesapeake Bay blue crabs (of all sizes and genders) are ubiquitous, and it’s not hard to spot faves like rainbow trout, swordfish, and octopus.  More exotic catches, like gigantic freshwater shrimp and shark, can also be seen.  Be aware that only some of the seafood is local, the remainer being shipped from various other locations across the country and the world—just ask the employees, who are friendly and willing to talk your ear off about fish.

Also entertaining about the market is the fact that you can order up anything to eat right there on the harbor.  Oysters and clams on the half shell are only $1 each, or you can select crabs to be freshly steamed.  A healthy selection of sides are available to suit the non-pescetarian vegetarians amongst us, such as French fries and hush puppies.  And as would fit a true Maryland attraction, there is a comprehensive set of condiments for the seafood that includes large jars of Old Bay.  The price is right, making the market the source of some of the cheapest seafood in the area.

The Maine Avenue Fish Market, which was razed in the 1960s and nearly discontinued, is crowded and smelly, but it’s downright local.  As a friend of mine said, “it’s like Seattle’s Pike Place Market  before it was gentrified.”All different sorts of folks end up at Maine Avenue, with large families in tow on the weekends, and that diversity is the best thing about the place.

To get there:  Smithsonian or L’Enfant Plaza metros, or SW Waterfront Circulator.  Hours unclear, but generally dawn ‘til dusk.


Filed under Activities, Deals and Steals, Local Food, Restaurants

A D.C. Resident Finds Maryland Crabs in Virigina

As strange as it sounds, it’s actually pretty difficult to find Maryland’s famous hard-shell blue crabs in Washington, D.C.  Baltimore and Annapolis, of course, are a whole different ball game, but after much searching I was coming up empty-handed in terms of a great off-the-beaten path crab place in or close to our city.  Luckily, the Quarterdeck Restaurant in Arlington was suggested, and it was just what I was looking for!  Newspaper covering the tables, mallets, and pitchers of beer, this place has it all.

We spent our late summer evening sitting on the enormous patio and feasted on piping hot blue crabs dressed in Old Bay spice.  You can order them by the dozen or half-dozen, in four different sizes, or go all out for the all-you-can-eat “crab feast” for $34.95.  In addition to steamed crabs, the Quarterdeck’s menu has a healthy variety of surf and turf, including a few vegetarian items (though, fair warning, you might be scrounging a bit).   Also highly recommended is the assortment of homemade pies, from key lime to red velvet to an odd yet yummy blueberry cream.  And I would like to note that the Quarterdeck is the only restaurant in my recent memory that has draft beer cheaper than bottled beer.  There’s something to be said for that, right?!

The location of the Quarterdeck leaves something to be desired, as it is nestled between highways in the condo metropolis that is the Courthouse neighborhood, but in some ways the journey out there adds to the fun.  No views of the Bay from this establishment!

I wasn’t aware until I visited that there is actually a season for blue crabs, from April to October (or “Tax Day to Columbus Day” as the website states).  So, this post may be a bit late for the year’s catch, but if you can’t make it this summer, file it away for 2011!

To get there:  orange line to Courthouse, then a 15 minute walk (with sidewalks most of the time).  1200 Fort Myer Drive, Arlington, Virginia.  (703)-528-2722.

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Filed under Activities, Local Food, Restaurants