If your answer to the question, “Have you been to Blackwall Hitch?” is anything other than a resounding, “Yes, and I love it!” you should check out their new menus. Chris Bassett, a friend of mine from high school (good old West Potomac!) is their Bar Manager and is currently developing their new cocktail menu and revised wine list. Lucky for us, Chris arranged a special sneak preview of Blackwall Hitch’s new spring and summer food and cocktail menus, out April 13th and April 6th, respectively. We had a great time with Chris and executive chef Michael Wagner and truly left without a negative word to say about the place.
First of all, Blackwall Hitch is just a cool place. An array of seating options, including front and back patios that are already open in nice weather, offer views of the Potomac that go from gorgeous to absolutely jaw-dropping when the sun sets. The rustic-chic seafarer décor, with darker hues interrupted by bright blue mason jar water glasses, is simple yet stately. And the place is HUGE! Those of you who have been in Old Town for a while probably remember when it was a food court; well, all those restaurants have been replaced by one giant one that seats up to 533 people!
The new menus are grounded in three concepts: local, seasonal, and creatively simple. Because the restaurant is so big, there is a need for fast execution on the part of the chefs and bartenders, but this doesn’t diminish the quality at all. Inspired by the Chesapeake region, seafood is a staple on the menu. We tried the boiler pot—delicious, the rockfish topped with crab from the Eastern Shore and accompanied by some of the best couscous we’ve ever tasted, and, of course, oysters. The oysters are so, so good, and you can feel good about eating them: Blackwall Hitch recycles its oyster shells, working with a company that puts them back in the Chesapeake Bay so that new oysters can grow on top. Local and sustainable—what could be better? Though we didn’t try it, we hear there is also a mouth-watering flatbread to come!
For cocktails, we tried the Lemon Dill Spritzer, Copper Mug (which will be garnished with peaches when they become available), Pimm’s Cup, Blackwall Shanty, and Hibiscus Mojito (topped with sparkling rosé—yum). They were all great, but I liked the Spritzer the best because it is both refreshing and totally unique. Chris designed them with images of customers sitting outside and drinking all night in mind, so you won’t find any heavy, syrupy drinks on the new menu.
Mark your calendars for April 6th and 13th! Stop in for some Mahi Mahi tacos, tableside cheese flambé, soft shell crabs in sandwich and entrée form, Smith Island Cake, a new German Riesling and new Chianti, and the aforementioned cocktails. In the mean time, enjoy their happy hour, live music four nights a week, and buffet brunch with $1 mimosas and $2.50 bloody marys!