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Sea Catch, Seafood in an 1842 Building with an Outdoor Terrace Overlooking the C&O Canal, on 31st and M Street - Georgetown - Closed


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Looks like Jeff Shively's no longer there. Anyone know what's up with changes to the menu and Executive Chef at Sea Catch? The crab cakes are different (still good but different) and the pumpkin/pecan tart is gone.

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They do seem to have a lot of personnel turnover at Sea Catch. But the peacefulness of the scenic canal calms any turmoil. The hit of my lunch last week was the "top neck" clams. What are they? Bigger than little necks, but smaller than cherrystones, the waiter said. But the ones we got were easily cherrystone size, fraught with flavor, briney, fresh, meaty. Got to go back during happy hour and guzzle some more.

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I ate here last night.

I was told that they have just lost their chef and are hiring. So I don't know if this experience is representative of the normal capabilities of the restaurant....

Starter - Steamed Mussels Provencal (with White Wine, Tomatoes, Garlic)

Entree - Seafood Linguini with Jumbo Lump Crab Meat, Shrimp and

Sea Scallops with a Light Tomato

Dessert - Chocolate Dipped Ice Cream Sandwiches (2 Raisin Oatmeal Cookies stuffed with Cinnamon Ice Cream then dipped in Chocolate with a Raspberry coulis)

Starter was very, very fresh, but bland in flavor. It could have used some salt and maybe something else. Not sure what, but something with a bit of oomph would have been a great improvement. I guess the simplicity DID give the freshness of the mussels an opportunity to shine.

Entree was very, very good. Smaller than I had anticipated (which was a good thing.). There was the perfect amount of seafood. Enough to have some seafood in every single bite. The sauce was nice and light and flavorful. I would certainly order it again. (And my boyfriend loved it!!!! He ordered the simply grilled swordfish and it was not bursting with flavor (like I have had at Johnny's Half Shell. And his vegetables were bland and boring. The lemon-thyme vinaigrette that was supposed to come with the fish was barely discernable.)

Dessert was not good at all. the ice cream tasted good and the presentation was very nice, but I would never order it again. They appeared to put the ice cream sandwich together ahead of time and then put it in the freezer. So this makes the cookie very hard and dry and difficult to eat. A bit more labor intensive than I normally like my desserts. his dessert is a good, fun idea in practice but the execution left something to be desired. If you really want ice cream, skip it here and head around the corner to Hagan-Daz.

Service was very nice but not intrusive. The only thing was that it took my appetizer about 5 minutes to come out after my guests appetizers. This was rather annoying. I mean, how hard would it have been to hold their courses while mine was being finished??

The dining room was very elegant.. Very old money type of place. It did get a bit loud, but not enough to disturb the meal.

OVERALL–a nice place to take older visiting relatives who happen to be staying in the Georgetown area and want a nice seafood dinner, but can’t afford Citonelle and want a step up from Tony & Joe’s. Other than that… not worth the trip. I would rather have gone to Café Milano or Mie n Yu or Cilantro.

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I go there every couple of weeks for their top-neck clams. These are the larger version of littlenecks -- does anyody else around here serve them? I was there yesterday and my companion had a dozen sorted oysters. The shucker knows us by now and we seem to get a full complement of plump juicy crustaceans every time. I like their lobster sandwich and their gazpacho when they have it. Yesterday, alas, they didn't.

It's great to sit outside on the terrace in season and watch the mule-pulled barge go by.

They offer 3 hours of free parking.

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Full disclosure: I ran the Sea Catch two years ago. The restaurant aims for pristinely fresh seafood, simply prepared. Is it glamorous and sexy? Not really. More subtle and intriguing. The dining room is elegant and Old World, the deck is fantastic.

Staff turnover is actually minimal. Three GM's in 17 years, now looking for fourth Exec Chef, and the average waitstaff tenure is (was) 7+ years.

I stopped in to visit two weeks ago, and GM Andy Hoyle has assembled a beautiful array of 25 or more homemade infused vodkas, rum, and bourbon for specialty cocktails. It's totally unique and really impressive. David and Ivan, the main bartenders, are credits to their profession.

Happy hour is a steal with $1 oysters, usually 8 or more selections with impeccable provenance. IMHO, no other oyster happy hour in town comes close; a hidden gem. I am sure the numerous regulars like it that way.

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I have to say, I do really like passing time with good company on that back deck along the canal (when it doesn't stink). The last time I was there was serveral years ago, but they do have quite a deal on oysters at happy hour, and I remember taking fancy to the glass stirrers that come in the cocktails. Sitting on that porch is particularly nice on an early summer night.

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Full disclosure: I ran the Sea Catch two years ago.

Brian, I actually remember you. You made oyster adicts like me, a Chowhound regular then (not now), feel quite comfortable. The people who replaced you are good and professional, but don't seem to go the extra mile. Btw, it's not clear to me if one has to sit at the bar for HH.

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Happy hour is a steal with $1 oysters, usually 8 or more selections with impeccable provenance. IMHO, no other oyster happy hour in town comes close; a hidden gem. I am sure the numerous regulars like it that way.

I'm sorry, did you say $1 oysters? You're kidding, right? Uh, details please!

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Yeah, it's a great oyster happy hour, better than Clyde's even. They have usually have eight varieties of oysters, with tasting notes for each, and every time I've been the quality has been excellent. I asked last time I was in and I guess you can sit at the raw bar instead of the regular bar, too. Oh, and they have housemade potato chips as bar snacks.

The infused alcohols are fun (and half price during happy hour like all their drinks, including wine), but I have never had very attentive service at the bar here, i.e. on last visit we were made to wait fifteen minutes before ordering drinks despite the fact that there were only a few other customers there, and when the bartender did arrive service was brusque. I normally wouldn't mind much, but the clock was ticking (happy hour is only until 7).

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StephenB said:
Brian, I actually remember you......Btw, it's not clear to me if one has to sit at the bar for HH.

...and I remember you, too! And I am certain Purita recognizes you every time you darken the door at lunch.

Unless the deal has changed dramatically, in order to get the dollar oysters, you must sit at the bar (or Raw Bar). Service will generally be quicker at the main bar (wood) rather than the Raw Bar (marble). Walk past the marble bar, bear right, and you'll see the Main Bar.

Quote
...but I have never had very attentive service at the bar here....

Sorry to hear that. David and Ivan (the main bartenders) are usuually very efficient and friendly. :unsure:

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this place has 'hillvalley' written all over it....

“Build your own Bloody Mary” Bar for Sunday Brunch

At the Sea Catch Restaurant

The bar will consist of 10 different infused vodkas, 6 different juice setups, 20 different added garnishes and condiments. The guest will choose either an infused vodka, at $10.00 a pour, or from one of our many vodka choices behind the main bar. Build your Bloody Mary how you want. Return to the Bloody Mary Bar to recondition heir drink for no additional charge*.

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I haven't polled the other members of the Great Friday HH Expedition, but I think it's safe to say that in the middle of the Months-Without-'R' season, one cannot expect much even from fresh and clean oysters. The liquor was entirely mild, even in the Kusshus which should have been more briny and flavorful than the others. I consoled myself with extra Blue Points, which are mild to begin with. Will have to repeat this experiment after fall arrives.

However, the infused vodkas were promising (their confusion over "infused" vs. "infused with" notwithstanding), and available in tasting flights. Check out the Absolut infused with cucumber and thyme.

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I haven't polled the other members of the Great Friday HH Expedition, but I think it's safe to say that in the middle of the Months-Without-'R' season, one cannot expect much even from fresh and clean oysters.

Correct on the oysters, but you forgot to mention that service was sloooooooooooow. :unsure:

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mdt said:
Correct on the oysters, but you forgot to mention that service was sloooooooooooow. :unsure:

service? you had service?

dude, I clambered over the bar to shuck my own damn oysters and pour my own damn drinks. You must have missed me in your hunt for waitstaff....

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I have never had very attentive service at the bar here, i.e. on last visit we were made to wait fifteen minutes before ordering drinks despite the fact that there were only a few other customers there, and when the bartender did arrive service was brusque. I normally wouldn't mind much, but the clock was ticking (happy hour is only until 7).

Hey, you were all warned...

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I can't speak for the bar, but our server at lunch earlier this week was quite gracious and enthusiastic. Quality Kumamotos and Malpeques, and I thought the tangy "cocktail" sauce was surprisingly better than the vinaigrette at Hank's. I probably should've gotten the swordfish special but didn't want to eat the accompanying pasta too, and ordered the king salmon instead. It wasn't overcooked by any means but I probably should've asked for it on the rarer side, to the extent possible.

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The ingredients of a great lunch: Beautiful weather. A place in the shade on the deck. The mule-driven barge drifting by. A waitperson with a dazzling smile and radiant eyes. Good company. Interesting conversation, mostly about mutual friends. A dozen top neck clams, a dozen Long Island oysters (actually, a baker's dozen in each case because the shucker knows us). Mignonette sauce. A basket of bread heels. Tomato soup with crab meat. Sautéed calamari in a crisp, long-leaf salad. Buckets of iced tea. Enough time, two hours, to relax.

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On 6/15/2006 at 7:52 PM, B.A.R. said:

Full disclosure: I ran the Sea Catch two years ago. The restaurant aims for pristinely fresh seafood, simply prepared. Is it glamorous and sexy? Not really. More subtle and intriguing. The dining room is elegant and Old World, the deck is fantastic.

Staff turnover is actually minimal. Three GM's in 17 years, now looking for fourth Exec Chef, and the average waitstaff tenure is (was) 7+ years.

I stopped in to visit two weeks ago, and GM Andy Hoyle has assembled a beautiful array of 25 or more homemade infused vodkas, rum, and bourbon for specialty cocktails. It's totally unique and really impressive. David and Ivan, the main bartenders, are credits to their profession.

Happy hour is a steal with $1 oysters, usually 8 or more selections with impeccable provenance. IMHO, no other oyster happy hour in town comes close; a hidden gem. I am sure the numerous regulars like it that way.

You *ran* Sea Catch?! 

Is it safe to assume that this restaurant has tourists as its almost-exclusive target market? It just keeps going and going, but there's no local buzz about the place; I've seen ads in publications that tourists tend to read, however.

(There's absolutely nothing wrong with being a tourist restaurant - Michel Bras is a tourist restaurant.)

On 6/30/2005 at 4:11 PM, hans said:

Looks like Jeff Shively's no longer there. Anyone know what's up with changes to the menu and Executive Chef at Sea Catch? The crab cakes are different (still good but different) and the pumpkin/pecan tart is gone.

Regarding Jeff Shively, he went to Legal Sea Foods on K Street after leaving.

Apr 13, 2007 - "At Sea Catch, Fresh Ideas" by Eve Zibart on washingtonpost.com

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23 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Is it safe to assume that this restaurant has tourists as its almost-exclusive target market? It just keeps going and going, but there's no local buzz about the place; I've seen ads in publications that tourists tend to read, however.

Sea Catch remains a very good choice for a meal in Georgetown, IMO. The oyster happy hour is obviously great, and while you won't find 4-star chefs in the kitchen, you will find high quality seafood prepared with minimal fuss, at a reasonable price.

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This makes me sad.  When I moved here to DC almost 14 years ago, I'd go here with my mom when she came to town for work, and we always loved the oysters.  I hadn't been in years -- this is the type of place that just seemed to get outpaced by other restaurants (also, I loathe dealing with traffic in Georgetown) -- but it was a solidly reliable place to get a bit of a slice of home for me on occasion as I adjusted to life in the Beltway.  

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