City Desk

Tackle Box Now Open

Good news for all you seafood lovers. Barton Seaver, chef of the acclaimed Hook, has opened Tackle Box. This new joint not only shares the same block of Georgetown as Hook, but it also shares Seaver's dedication to sustainable seafood. But in a more casual setting. From the Web site, the reasoning for opening a second place: "We like summer vacation at the beach. That’s why we decided to open a lobster shack in the middle of the city for those days we couldn’t make the drive." The menu includes such things as clam chowder, oysters, a "Maine Meal," which includes one fish, two sides, and a sauce, and, of course, rolls. And who doesn't love a good lobster roll? Has anyone made it over to M Street to try out the new grub?

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  • mary

    I'm from Boston, so it is perfectly understandable that after reading a preview for the Tackle Box my first reaction was territorial. A lobster shack in Georgetown? That is just not right. The mid-Atlantic is the land of crabs, not lobster. (Not to mention that recreating the ambiance of a beach shack on M Street in Georgetown where Prada, Diesel, and Versace come to mingle is Disneyesque. In my mind, it would be like eating at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville).

    Two things made me decide it was worth a visit. First, the executive chef behind the Tackle Box is Barton Seaver, media darling and chef at Hook, a high-end sustainable seafood restaurant. Hook is on my top ten list of restaurants to eat at in DC. Second, who knows how long it would be before I could visit a real lobster shack?

    My initial instinct to avoid the place was so wrong. Sure, the Tackle Box has an absurd shingled roof (on the inside!), buoys hanging from the ceiling, and picnic tables, but the decor is just enough to say this is a casual joint that serves affordable seafood (lovingly described as crispy instead of fried). It does not feel like a visit to Maineworld.

    More importantly, the clam strips are cooked to perfection: crispy, plump, a little chewy, and accompanied by classic tartar sauce. The “Maine Meal” is $13 bucks; it comes with a seafood choice and two sides (I had coleslaw and mac and cheese). Despite the fact that the staff are still working out service kinks, I think the Tackle Box is worth a visit.

  • maine luvva

    I don't think Mary has been to Maine before, we don't have 'clam strips', at least none of the shacks I eat at, thank god.
    My trip down to the TBox was somewhat disappointing. I couldn't find one product, other than the Lobster, from Maine! I love the idea of a real, Maine restaurant in our nation's city. Everything else is represented. They just havn't done it well. I thought the decor represented Maine ok, but, you can't eat decor! BUY SOME ACTUAL MAINE SEAFOOD!!
    Mr Seaver, on your adventures to Maine, didn't you visit ANY of the shacks up in Maine? Where did you see:
    Hush puppies, sauteed greens? Tilapia?
    I'm from Maine, and have eaten at Many of the good ones: Red's Eats in Damariscotta. Moody's Diner in Waldoboro, none of which have Tilapia or sauteed greens, unless they are Fiddleheads in the spring. I know I sound like I am being very critical, but, it's not fair! I was CRAVING some good, Maine food last Thursday, and this place DID NOT DELIVER. What I had was ok, it just wasn't what I grew up with.
    It's like making a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich with Gouda cheese. Don't open up a shop that says: Maine and give us Maryland ( no offense MD, we just don't use Old Bay in Maine). You can hang all the lobster buoys you want, but, please, give us MAINE! Blueberry Pie needs Blueberries from Maine, not Chile. Clam Chowder needs clams from Cutler, not littleneck clam strips..nasty.
    I will go back though, just to give the place a chance and sit and drink ice tea on the red benches and dream of real Maine seafood.

  • rob

    Tackle Box in Georgetown is unsustainable to families. After working 6 months for Barton Seaver and giving him every recipie for tackle box, I was let go for asking about the pay for my staff. If any press would like to know the truth about Chef Barton Seaver or Pure hospitality(what a joke) please contact ex chef of tackle box georgetown Robert Bechtold. 703 254 7110

  • SE

    I am a New England native and have spent every summer on Cape Cod, as well as many weekends in Maine. New England seafood, therefore, is something I understand quite well and I tend to be very critical of "New England," "Maine," or "Cape Cod" style eating establishments. We went to Tackle Box today and, like Mary, I was quite skeptical. I ordered the lobster roll and thought it was delicious. In fact, it's the best lobster roll I've had outside of New England. The bun was toasted perfectly and dipping the roll in butter from my potatoes was wonderful--for a minute I thought I was back home. True, there was no celery, but some places on the Cape certainly serve their lobster rolls that way. My husband had the fried scallops, which were also very good, accompanied by grilled corn-on-the-cob. However, he did think the corn tasted less than fresh. My only complaint was about the fries. They were good, but didn't taste authentically New England. The seasoning and crispiness seemed more Mid-Atlantic (Jersey-shore) than I would have liked. Maine luvva makes several good points, however, by pointing out that many items on the menu are not Maine-based. Although they may be less popular in Maine, the Cape does have clam strips (in great quantities!), so maybe the owner should consider whether he wants to sell Tackle Box as a "Maine" or a greater "New England" style restaurant. All said, thumbs up, and this homesick New Englander will definitely be returning [again and again].