by Sara Mead
I’m sorry to hear that Amanda’s experience at Granville Moore’s came up wanting. It’s a place I’ve been interested in trying out, but it’s sadly been far too long since I’ve made it to H street. That said, folks need to know that, if Granville Moore’s tells you there’s a 2-hour wait, or if Amanda’s review makes you think twice of going there, or if the economy’s making you look for cheaper dining options, then there’s a delicious alternative right around the corner. And let me say, this is one place that does know how to fry things up right.
I’m talking about Horace & Dickie’s, an old-school seafood carryout located on 12th street just around the corner from H street. Sure, D.C.’s hardly lacking in dubious seafood carryouts, but this one is the real deal, folks, and it’s good. Don’t take my word for it, either–Tyler Cowen agrees. There’s nothing fancy here: Just gargantuan portions of fried whiting, as well as shrimp, chicken, and crabcake options. Order the sandwich and you’ll get several giant filets stuffed between slices of white bread from the bag. Or get your fish and shrimp with fries or other sides from a list of tried and true comfort options: collards, potato salad, macaroni and cheese. Regardless, you are not going hungry here–and you can get your fill for well under $10.
But even better than the food might be the experience. The line out the door tells you it’s good. Inside an impossibly tiny space that serves as both ordering counter and kitchen, a handful of workers talk trash and the Redskins with one another and a line-up of customers, all of whom they seem to know, while cranking food out at a dizzying rate. And, while this may have been because they doubted a couple of white kids knew what we were about, when we went there the staff was wonderfully solicitous that we got the food we wanted and the right amount of hot sauce, tartar sauce, napkins, forks, etc. Sure, the beverage options were limited to cans of Pepsi, off-brand grape soda, and water, but that just adds to the authenticity. And what goes better with fried seafood than off-brand grape soda?
There is one downside, though, and it’s a significant one: Horace & Dickie’s is a carryout. So if, like me, you’re someone who primarily goes to H Street for the bars, and want to grab a quick fried fish dinner beforehand, your only real options are to eat in the car (if you drove–and I usually don’t drive to bars) or to down your food standing on the corner like something out of the Wire. Which is exactly what Matt and I did on our last trip, the great amusement of the friends who were meeting up with us for drinks. But, given the weather we’re having in D.C. right now, it’s far too cold to exercise that option.The optimal solution would be to take the food into the Pug, Red & Black, or wherever you’re going, but since all those establishments offer their own, far inferior, food options, that’s probably not something that’s going to be looked upon well.
In my dream scenario, Joe Englert would ditch the food offerings in one of his H Street bars (preferably my favorite one, the Pug), and cut a deal with Horace & Dickie’s to allow bar customers to order their delicious food. Are you listening, Joe?