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Tackle Box, M Street in Georgetown - Inexpensive, Quick-Serve, Rustic-Style Seafood Shanty

Georgetown Seafood Quick Serve Lobster Pot

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#101 MMM

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 02:01 PM

We went to the Tackle Box on Connecticut Avenue last night to use a Groupon purchased last spring. My husband had fried scallops, cole slaw and hush puppies and could barely eat any of it. The scallops turned out to be bay scallops (tiny) accompanied by heaps of fried batter nuggets and were greasy and unappetizing, cole slaw was soggy and the hush puppies dense and tasteless. I had fried haddock which was good but the accompanying side salad was a mass of soggy lettuce and dressing. Sorry to be negative, but the meal was really pretty horrible.

On another note, we were told that the Georgetown location should open next week.

#102 Barbara

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 08:18 PM

We went to the Tackle Box on Connecticut Avenue last night to use a Groupon purchased last spring. My husband had fried scallops, cole slaw and hush puppies and could barely eat any of it. The scallops turned out to be bay scallops (tiny) accompanied by heaps of fried batter nuggets and were greasy and unappetizing, cole slaw was soggy and the hush puppies dense and tasteless. I had fried haddock which was good but the accompanying side salad was a mass of soggy lettuce and dressing. Sorry to be negative, but the meal was really pretty horrible.

Don't be sorry for the negativity, because you are hardly alone. Was there a couple of weeks ago and was deeply unimpressed with the clam chowder and caesar salad. My companion can report herself on the fried oysters and fried green tomatoes. However, neither of us sees a need to return. Too, too unfortunate.

#103 The Doctor

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 11:46 PM

Don't be sorry for the negativity, because you are hardly alone. Was there a couple of weeks ago and was deeply unimpressed with the clam chowder and caesar salad. My companion can report herself on the fried oysters and fried green tomatoes. However, neither of us sees a need to return. Too, too unfortunate.

Ok, I had a similar experience in the middle of September but didn't know if it was a fluke. This was my first time having a full meal at the CP location. The whole meal was a major step down in quality from the last time I had been to the Georgetown location, especially the clam chowder. I had it on my first visit to the Georgetown location almost three years ago now, and remembered it as one of the best renditions I've had. The one at CP was a gloppy mess, and I even found a few glops of some kind of thickening agent. The Georgetown one I'd had previously was very thin but still great. And the beet/goat cheese salad was mostly bland beets with very little cheese. The potato salad had some flavors I couldn't even identify. Most of the hot items were only warm by the time they got to our table, too.

#104 hopsing

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 05:27 PM

I guess I'm just piling on, but my colleague and I had an awful meal a couple of weeks ago at the CP location. I had the lobster roll. Not much lobster and what there was didn't even have a lobster taste. My friend had coleslaw that was sort of algae-colored. He ate some of it and declared it inedible. The hushpuppies tasted like sawdust. The only decent-tasting item was the french fries. We agreed that we would never return.

#105 DonRocks

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 12:27 AM

My friend had coleslaw that was sort of algae-colored. He ate some of it and declared it inedible. The hushpuppies tasted like sawdust.

The algae color could just be tarragon, and the sawdust could just be a tactile impression because of cornmeal.

But other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln? :blink:

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#106 porcupine

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 08:45 AM

I guess I'm just piling on, but my colleague and I had an awful meal a couple of weeks ago at the CP location. I had the lobster roll. Not much lobster and what there was didn't even have a lobster taste. My friend had coleslaw that was sort of algae-colored. He ate some of it and declared it inedible. The hushpuppies tasted like sawdust. The only decent-tasting item was the french fries. We agreed that we would never return.

The algae color could just be tarragon, and the sawdust could just be a tactile impression because of cornmeal.

When we went early last summer, the lobster roll was excellent. But the hushpuppies really were that bad. Like little oily sawdusty bricks of compressed corn-like substance.

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#107 DiningInFrederick

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 07:52 PM

We also rolled in with our Groupon in hand and had my first negative experience with Tackle Box (one previous visit to CP and probably 5+ in Georgetown). My wife's clam chowder was decent (though she thought it was very salty and not as good as Freddy's) and the fish tacos were tasty, but my trout was overseasoned, the fries were clearly frozen Sysco thick cut fries, and the side of macaroni and cheese was either straight from the Kraft box or they borrowed that contraption used in the Simpsons to deconstruct the Flaming Moe. Though it was included in my Maine Meal, the thought of paying $5 for a full side of that glop would be pretty infuriating. One thing I'll give them credit for is that the server and manager came around multiple times each to check on us. One time I asked the manager when they had changed their fry recipe and he said it was about a month or so ago. I told him the previous fries were better. He responded honestly, "Much better." He said in January they were going to retool the whole menu, simplify dramatically, and try to get back to the basics of the original vision. He expected the fries and other things to improve then. I appreciated the honesty, but this place will turn people off until that time. The Groupon is still a decent deal for a budget-conscious family, but if it was someone's first time eating there I can see why they wouldn't return. I'll be back after January with fingers crossed.

Pax,
Brian

#108 KeithA

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 03:04 PM

After a pretty bad first time at Tacklebox CP soon after they opened, I decided to give it another try. And I wholeheartedly agree:

....the fish tacos were tasty...

Made with tilapia they were really good and unlike many other fish tacos they weren't breaded and fried so you really got a nice taste of the fish. They come pre-sauced, so no need to get any extra 50 cent sauces (it would have been nice if the cashier told us that before we got 3 of them). Also, had the grilled broccoli again - this time it was only a hint of smoke, not overwhelming like before and rather good. 3 of us all had the fish tacos and thought they were delicious. 2 tacos was a pretty good size portion per person. So I would go back for those. But based on the comments above that continue my earlier experience, I'm still staying clear of the hush puppies.

#109 hillvalley

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 05:52 PM

One thing I'll give them credit for is that the server and manager came around multiple times each to check on us. One time I asked the manager when they had changed their fry recipe and he said it was about a month or so ago. I told him the previous fries were better. He responded honestly, "Much better." He said in January they were going to retool the whole menu, simplify dramatically, and try to get back to the basics of the original vision. He expected the fries and other things to improve then. I appreciated the honesty, but this place will turn people off until that time. The Groupon is still a decent deal for a budget-conscious family, but if it was someone's first time eating there I can see why they wouldn't return. I'll be back after January with fingers crossed.

Pax,
Brian

I talked with the new GM* yesterday while using my Groupon. I had the Cleveland Park lemonade, steamers and raw oysters. All were excellent.

He and the new chef joined Tackle Box right around when the Georgetown location reopened. The chef used to work for Jose Andres and opened the Jaleo in Las Vegas. They are both aware of what needs to be improved and the GM is excited about the plans. Both places are not up to their standards and are working to change things. For those who live in Cleveland Park, keep an eye out for family friendly events. As Brian said above, changes are coming to the menu based on what they are learning from their customers.

*In the interest of disclosure, the GM is a friend of mine.

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#110 darkstar965

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 11:46 PM

<snip> As Brian said above, changes are coming to the menu based on what they are learning from their customers.

*In the interest of disclosure, the GM is a friend of mine.


Would be great to get the GM and new chef on the board here to keep us updated. I, for one, have had a few bad experiences but am totally game to try it again with the new sheriffs when the time is right.

#111 hillvalley

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 12:30 PM

I'm pretty sure that they are both a bit more worried about the restaurants as a whole than focusing on updating members of a website ;)

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#112 Adam23

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 06:59 PM

Supposedly today is the last day Tackle Box will be open in Cleve Park.

#113 darkstar965

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 05:00 PM

Yes, there was a sign on the door to that effect.

I have really mixed feelings about this.

On one hand, it was great to have such a colorful and vibrant (especially from the outside when looking in) restaurant occupy that space so central to one of the city's most vibrant restaurant destinations.

On the other hand, it really seemed somewhat doomed from the start. The quality was too unpredictable or sub par on too many items. The menu seemed too ambitious. Likewise, the space is huge and thus the overhead and variable costs had to have been significant. And, because the quality was so variable, it often felt overpriced. The difference between what Ferhat is doing at Fishnet and what TackleBox was doing in Cleveland Park is vast. Not a fair comparison in some respects I know but, inasumch as both set out to offer good, value priced seafood, Fishnet is knocking it out of the park while these guys, well, clearly they didn't.

Super disappointing. The space is huge and was vacant for nearly ten years since the tenant prior to TackleBox (McDonalds) vacated. I fear now it'll either be vacant for more years or another mass market chain will move in. If only a property owner would take a longer-term view to attract a tenant with more durability with more affordable rent, could be a real win-win for all concerned. I know, that's unlikely when there are too many incentives to just sit on vacant space for years as necessary.

#114 deangold

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 06:34 PM

According to eh owner of the Cleveland Park List Serve, Bill Adler.

Or is Tackle Box not closing?

There is a new sign on Tackle Box's door that reads, "Unfortunately we have a mechanical problem with our exhaust system in our kitchen...We should be able to reopen on Tuesday 4/3/2012 for dinner."

--Bill Adler


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#115 Chris Cunningham

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 05:19 AM

Looks like this "story" wins the Jump The Shark Award....... Makes The Fonz proud ;)

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#116 deangold

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 06:47 PM

Just walked down to Tackle Box and it was open. There was a veryt short paper menu taped to the door with less than a dozen items, none over $10 and a few sides. No evidence of raw bar on the menu. None of their happy hour/special deal item signs are still up, Didn't have time to look and further.

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#117 darkstar965

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 08:39 PM

Will be interesting to learn more. I'm not sure whether the one who "broke" the closing news above (adam23) or the one who reacted to it (me) is more the shark-jumper but, irregardless, doesn't change what I posted. We probably visited 7 or 8 times and there were a few things (some oyster specials come to mind) that were good and good values. But, on balance, the impressions above are why we stopped going a few months back. In the lower-priced-yet-decent-or-better-quality seafood segment, options like Fishnet, Freddys, Pearl Dive, Eammons and even Surfside just totally eclipse(d) Tackle Box.

All that said, the menu Dean describes would be a huge departure from the previous model if it represents the future. Do fewer things but do them better? Never say never.

#118 davidphotek

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:38 AM

Just received this in my email this morn.

BANDOLERO TAKES OVER TACKLE BOX IN CLEVELAND PARK

While Bandolero is still under construction in Georgetown, Chef Mike Isabella can wait no longer to share his taco-centric, margarita-laden menu with Washingtonians, so he is taking over Tackle Box in ClevelandPark. Jonathan Umbel, owner of Pure Hospitality LLC and both restaurants, is temporarily closing the Cleveland Park Tackle Box location to make room for a preview of the Bandolero experience. A five-course menu will be offered for $65 (inclusive of tax and gratuity) on select evenings April 19 through May 4. Reservations are available exclusively through CityEats.


CINCO DE MAYO

On Saturday, May 5 Bandolero at Tackle Box will open from 12pm to 1am to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. All food and beverages will be available a la carte, and reservations are not needed. From 5 to 7pm, guests 21 and over can enjoy samples of the Bandolero signature margarita made with Espolón Blanco, Patrón Citronage, blood orange and lime.

#119 DonRocks

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:09 AM

BANDOLERO TAKES OVER TACKLE BOX IN CLEVELAND PARK

While Bandolero is still under construction in Georgetown, Chef Mike Isabella can wait no longer to share his taco-centric, margarita-laden menu with Washingtonians, so he is taking over Tackle Box in ClevelandPark. Jonathan Umbel, owner of Pure Hospitality LLC and both restaurants, is temporarily closing the Cleveland Park Tackle Box location to make room for a preview of the Bandolero experience.


[These pop-ups are challenging the rigidity of our one-thread-per-restaurant concept! :wacko:]

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#120 JuneBacon

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 11:06 AM

I'm so glad my wife bought tickets to the Living Social deal he had back in February for twice that price. Palm palm palm palm palm palm face face face face face. FACE !

#121 dcandohio

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 11:18 AM

I went to the City Eats page and info but the menu for this event just downloads as a blank page. Any insiders or friends of Mike's out there have a menu for the pop-up events? I would love to try the pop-up, but my partner has food allergies and it's very good for us to scan a set menu ahead of the cancellation deadline in case there's not much she can eat.

Shut up and pour another glass of wine, please.


#122 darkstar965

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 11:48 AM

Mike Isabella's Bandolero is taking over TackleBox and installing a pop-up?

This has to be fishing for, rather than jumping, a shark.

Or, I know, despite it being April 5th, it's another April Fool's joke. Has to be. Right?

#123 Chris Cunningham

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 12:10 PM

Fish, Shark, or minnow.... Now we got some kinda expedition going on :) madness!!! Lol. But I wholeheartedly agree that the CP Tackle Box needed to just cut bait and run

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#124 DiningInFrederick

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 07:05 PM

Fish, Shark, or minnow.... Now we got some kinda expedition going on :) madness!!! Lol. But I wholeheartedly agree that the CP Tackle Box needed to just cut bait and run


I'm with Chris. We went back in February to give them plenty of time to reorganize their menu, but while the fries didn't suck as much as the previous experience in December, they were clearly frozen fries that were just fried longer than the previous experience. My fried oyster sandwich was pretty good except that 3 different bites had oyster shells in them. My wife's lobster roll was a disgrace for $19: a paltry amount of diced (yes, diced) lobster meat. My son's mac and cheese was basically the same glop as the previous time but this 2 year did devour it. To top it off, our waiter, who was pretty loud and brash to begin with, yelled to the table next to us, "What?!?! They didn't get you any menus? What, are they RETARDED?" Ding! Ding! Ding! You've managed to push one of my wife's buttons!

After that negative experience, we don't have plans to return to the Cleveland Park location again even though it was one of the few intriguing lunch options coming home from the zoo. It's too bad, too, because we were both fans of the Georgetown location within the first year and Cleveland Park is more accessible to us.

Pax,
Brian

#125 Pat

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 11:25 AM

I ran across this browsing the Prince of Petworth blog: Tom Sietsema tweeted that the Cleveland Park location will reopen as a tapas bar called "Pulpo," from the owner of Floriana. [Correcting the original post to clarify that they're taking over the space on May 7th.]

#126 Ferhat Yalcin

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 04:39 PM

My wife's lobster roll was a disgrace for $19: a paltry amount of diced (yes, diced) lobster meat.
Pax,
Brian


forgive me as I do not know this, is diced lobster meat mean anything bad?

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#127 DonRocks

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 04:54 PM

I ran across this browsing the Prince of Petworth blog: Tom Sietsema tweeted that the Cleveland Park location will reopen as a tapas bar called "Pulpo," from the owner of Floriana. [Correcting the original post to clarify that they're taking over the space on May 7th.]


Keeping up with the Umbel's and Landrum's of the world is a full-time job. -_- <--- That's me sleeping from being so tired.

So let me get this straight:

1) Hook is closed, and becoming Bandolero. Mike Isabella can obviously not be chef at two places, so at this point it is unknown whether he'll stay at Graffiato, move to Bandolero, bounce back and forth between both places, or do something else entirely. I'll take an educated guess and say he'll eventually be "Executive Chef" in name only, and the actual chefs will be people we've never heard of (yet - I'll make sure whoever is running the kitchens, be it Mike or someone else, gets the credit as Chef - there can only be one per restaurant, according to my rules). Sorry José, Michel, Jeff, et al, but that's the way it is (but I do think you guys are wonderful restaurateurs, for whatever it's worth). Bandolero will be owned by Jonathan Umbel's group, and Graffiato by a separate ownership group.

2) The Cleveland Park Tackle Box is now permanently closed. It is currently some pop-up-cum-proving-ground of Bandolero, but sometime in May, it will change ownership and become Pulpo, owned by the Floriana group.

3) The Georgetown Tackle Box is still open, and has made no announcements about future plans. It, too, is still owned by Jonathan Umbel's group.

Is this all correct? I wouldn't doubt it if I've made a blatant mistake - this has been quite the merry-go-round.

Regardless, I wish these restaurants and individuals nothing but success and prosperity.

Cheers,
Rocks

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#128 goodeats

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 05:30 PM

Gosh, this is starting to sound like a telenovela! or Esto está empezando a sonar como una telenovela!*

*Per Google translate.

Taste. Feel. Be comforted.

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#129 Laura24601

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 10:16 AM

Pre-movie, had-to-be quick dinner plans in Georgetown were shaping up, and all signs were pointing to Chipotle. I have nothing against Chipotle, but as I hadn't yet been to Tackle Box, I thought it would be good to branch out a bit and steered our group there. Overall, it was the right decision--everyone seemed happy with his or her choices (grilled zucchini, fried shrimp, rainbow trout, fried calamari among the positive notes), but we left baffled about the hush puppies. As porcupine noted upthread, "Like little oily sawdusty bricks of compressed corn-like substance."

As usual, my feelings on this topic are best expressed in haiku:

A sad day it is
When Captain D's is better
Fried bread CAN be bad
"Saffron? Oh, SNAP."

#130 Anna Phor

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 09:30 AM

Apparently Tackle Box in Georgetown was not paying its workers?

 

Tackle Box Restaurant Pays Up Under Pressure From DC Wage Theft Coalition

 

I visited the Cleveland Park location several times, hoping it would get better (alas, it never did). Now I'm sorry I ever spent my money there.



#131 Michael Landrum

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 03:31 PM

Apparently Tackle Box in Georgetown was not paying its workers?
 
Tackle Box Restaurant Pays Up Under Pressure From DC Wage Theft Coalition
 
I visited the Cleveland Park location several times, hoping it would get better (alas, it never did). Now I'm sorry I ever spent my money there.

 

Perhaps they will also be offered fellowships at Harvard where Barton Seaver can use them as test subjects in developing his symposium on "Sustainable Humans", alongside his Eco-Action Workshop, "How to Use the Ecological Devastastion of Cruise Ships to Promote the Environment...and Yourself!"



#132 zoramargolis

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 01:26 PM

Apparently Tackle Box in Georgetown was not paying its workers?

 

Tackle Box Restaurant Pays Up Under Pressure From DC Wage Theft Coalition

 

I visited the Cleveland Park location several times, hoping it would get better (alas, it never did). Now I'm sorry I ever spent my money there.

 

Workers are such an annoying encumbrance when trying to run a profitable business -;-}



#133 Chris Cunningham

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 02:46 PM

Hope their Fire Insurance is paid up.....his places are quite flammable  ;)


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