Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lunch Break: Tackle Box

So about a month ago I intended to do this segment maybe once a week or so and since then, regretfully...crickets. But my recent lunches have not warranted a write-up: Lean Cuisine is hardly even food, and the commonplace jaunt to Potbelly or Chipotle, while satisfying, seemed to fall short.

Friday I took a much needed day off. As part of this escape, I planned a stop in Georgetown at Tackle Box, one of my favorite lunch places. While I prefer company at dinner, there is something rejuvenating about taking time by myself at lunch to relax, read, and think while enjoying a good bite.

Tackle Box is owned by creators of its more upscale neighbor Hook and bills itself as DC's only lobster shack. The interior is filled with red picnic tables for communal eating with a long counter along the far side of the space perfect for solo dining. The chalkboard menu consists of the standard New England clam shack fare, but the true stars are the fish selections, prepared grilled or crispy with a choice of house-made sauces. Sides range from asparagus and broccoli to sweet potato fries.

The prices aren't cheap, and the portions aren't huge, but the food is fresh and flavorful. A Tackle Box meal with a fish, side, and sauce is $9 or for $13 the Maine meal includes an additional side.

On Friday, I had the crispy calamari with spicy marinara sauce and a side of macaroni and cheese. The calamari where thickly cut rings and tentacles served with a smattering of hot peppers. They were tender with a nice crisp too them and a lot of heat between the peppers and the marinara. I find the macaroni goes from good to great with a few shakes of the Tackle Box seasoning. I really enjoyed both while watching foot traffic along M Street from my perch in the window.

The crowd on this day was decidedly Georgetown with its mix of amazingly svelte moms and a slew of nannies and baby carriages. Mercifully all the kids were pretty well-behaved. On weekends the crowd skews older with more professionals, tourists, and a few students, and it is much more crowded.

My one complaint about this place is the temperature. In the summer this place is about ten degrees too hot and in the winter so cold that you have to keep your jacket on. My hunch is this is intentional to keep people moving, but it does take away from the overall experience.

Lunch with a perfectly carbonated fountain Diet Coke (I fancy myself a connoisseur of fountain Diet Coke) was $12.50.

Tackle Box on Urbanspoon

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