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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

First Look: Rappahannock Oyster Bar at Union Market

Plaudits: None
Neighborhood: NoMa

The Setup


A few weeks ago we brought you a First Look at the revitalized Union Market. Now we'll look closer at one of its anchors: the Rappahannock Oyster Bar. With me on this trip, Official Sister of DCWD Elle, Official Brother-in-Law of DCWD Phee, and Official Co-Writer/Girlfriend of DCWD Texas.

The Vibe

We talked about Union Market before, and the Rappahannock Oyster Bar itself fits in well with the market's theme. A sleek black-brown wood bar surrounds a small kitchen where anywhere from 5-6 people will be shucking, cooking, or pouring at any given time. Beyond the 16 or so seats around the bar, another bar table sits behind. Sitting front-and-center in the market, it's not unfair to call it the anchor and centerpiece of the renovation.

The Food


On this trip, both Phee and I ordered the lambs and clams: a sizable bowl of Border Springs ground lamb chunks mixed with littleneck clams, sofrito, white beans, and two pieces of sourdough toast topped with garlic aioli. To call this one of my favorite bites of the year would be to do this dish disservice. Everything about it was magical: the tenderness and flavor of the lamb, the light salt on the clams, the richness of the tomato-based broth. Even the aioli and its sharp bite mixed perfectly. I could literally eat this dish every day and die happy.

For her part, Texas ordered a bowl of the oyster chowder, and six oysters (two Rappahannocks, two Witch Ducks, and two Olde Salts). The former was wonderful, more of a soup than the cream-based New England clam chowders I was used to. What this resulted in was a spoonful that was equal parts oily and briny and smooth. The latter were wonderful and clear oysters, with the Rappahannocks far and away my favorite.

The Verdict


A beautiful place to sit down for seafood and charm the pants off your date.

Food Rating: **** 1/2
(out of 5)
Date Rating: 4.5 Hearts (out of 5)
Dress Code:
Casual
Bar Rating:
Hipster Hangout
Vibe:
Chatty to Energetic
Cost:
$$
(out of 5) ($25-$50 for two)
Pairing
: I mean there's a vibrant Market all around you. Walk around, sample some more fresh goods, and bring some home for your next date.

Rappahannock Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

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