This street art was plastered on every panel of a plywood safety barrier in the Dupont Circle area of Washington DC this week, and I couldn’t resist a photo of one of the graffiti equating fish to people. Because during my time on the east coast this last week, I did my darndest to counter the belief that fish are equal to people. And thus the great 2022 SDWC Washington DC Fish & Chips Tour was on, testing out several of the area’s offerings so you don’t have to when you’re in our nation’s Capital.
I actually started with a bonus to the tour last Tuesday as I had to spend a day or so in Boston on personal business, and one of the local places close to the hotel was the Black Rose, which set a high bar with the fish offering:
This was the small lunch portion, which was still a thick chunk of white fish which was just tasty. The chips.. well, krinkle fries, but they were well cooked and stayed crisp. All around a solid offering that I’d go back for and have a dinner portion.. if I wasn’t later heading over to the Barking Crab as we did.
While I had perfectly acceptable fish tacos, which I’m not finding I took a picture for, my wife went with the lobster, which was pretty darned good, and we had a nice relaxing view of the seaport from our seat.
As we flew out to DC the next AM, it was still a little early for fish and chips for breakfast, but I did have a really good lobster roll at Legal Sea Food’s Test Kitchen.
(Sorry, I cut it in half before I snapped a picture of this unbelievably good lobster roll.) And while I wasn’t looking for great french fries at 10 AM, I found them. These seasoned fries didn’t seem frozen, and everything on the plate was absolutely fresh.
From Boston, we were DC bound where we get the official tour rolling. No Fish & Chips on our first night, but we did eat at the Fish Market in Alexandria, where the schooners come straight out of the freezer.
Wednesday, we stopped at the National Portrait Gallery, which if you’ve never been, is one of the places I go back to because there’s just so much of our country’s history to see, and you’re always finding something new, such as this exhibit of fishing decoys. Fish decoys, not lures, which they apparently use to draw in schools of fish for spear fishing.
After a visit to see my daughter’s desk at Congressman Dusty Johnson’s office, we walked down for a late lunch to Bullfeather’s on the Hill. I had wings, but my wife let me try her fish and chips. And after trying them, I’m glad I had the wings:
Chips were good. Lemon Dill Mayo was nice. But bit into a piece of fish.. and wasn’t sure if it was a chicken nugget or fish. It was kind of flavorless. It might be the kind of thing that would work in a fish taco, but by itself it was definitely not something I would make a return visit for. Like I said, if you’re going to eat there, the wings are a much better bet.
On Thursday, my son came to town up from his naval base in Newport News on Thursday where he’s stationed on the USS Montana, and we met up with my daughter Sydney.. which means that dad is going to end up buying dinner. So, if Dad pays, dad picks. And I opted for something that I knew was a sure bet after last night’s disappointment, and just a block down the street from Union Station.. the Dubliner‘s version of fish & chips.
Something I like to see is a high ratio of fish to chips, and these two huge wedges of lightly breaded haddock are always worth returning for. Chips were more authentic than some of the week’s earlier offerings, and nothing to complain about here. Especially paired with an ice cold Guinness Harp lager. Just outstanding.
During the day on Friday, we did a little touring of the US Capitol, and got to sneak out on the balcony of one of the Congressional Office buildings where I snapped this photo..
My son had to head back home, while my wife and daughter went to Hamilton at the Kennedy Center. So, since I was solo.. I headed down the street from our hotel in Old Town Alexandria to a place I hadn’t gone to in a number of years, Daniel O’Connell’s Irish Restaurant and Bar. And it did not disappoint with one of the best offerings of the tour to date:
Well, the chips might have been run of the mill steak fries, but that fresh piece of Atlantic Cod was just beautiful. Hot & crispy and just a nice flavor. I could have ended the tour with this stop and been happy, but I had one more “must visit” fish & chip venue on my agenda.
Before dinner, had to stop at the Biergarten Haus Bavarian beer hall down the street from Capitol Hill and have a raspberry shandy.. just because.
I knew I was having a meal shortly, so I opted for the 1/2 liter, which is hand mixed, and not something that comes in a bottle. And once refreshed, we walked back the block over to the final stop – the Queen Vic British Pub.
The Queen Vic seems like a little hole in the wall pub, with a few tables off to the side from the bar, and an upstairs patio. But the food is tremendous. And there might not be any place in DC that does Fish & Chips better. The description on the menu just advises Fish & Chips with “mushy peas, lemon, tartar sauce.” But despite the lack of description on the menu, this hubcap of fresh fish is what you get.
If you like fish and chips, this is the high-bar you’re going for. Hand’s down, once you have this, you’re going to compare everything else to the Queen Vic’s version. Just perfect.
Sated and satisfied, the tour was officially over, as my days were up, and I was readily done with eating seafood for a while. It’s fun while it lasts, but all good things must come to an end. For the 2022 SDWC Washington DC Fish & Chips tour, there were three solid hits, a strike, and a bonus in Boston to complete the effort.
All around, a great time, no complaints, and a successful return to cattle country.