Kinkead’s, Downtown

Lots of people know about the half-price raw bar deals at Old Ebbitt Grill; relatively few know about the same bargain that can be found at Kinkead’s.

For the first time in my life, I had the pleasure of meeting, and talking with, Bob Kinkead the evening before, and I couldn’t think of a better, more subtle way to show my respect for this great, old-school James Beard Award-winning chef than to frequent his restaurant the very next day (and no, he didn’t know I was coming and still doesn’t know I was there).

Happy hour alert! From 5-6:30 PM, Mondays through Fridays, Kinkead’s is offering half-price oysters in their large bar area, along with a few drink specials. I started off with a draft of Hook and Ladder Backdraft Brown ($5 at happy hour) and put in an order for a Dozen Raw Oysters ($14 at happy hour, normally $28).

I’ve seen happy hour oysters before, in reputable establishments, that are pre-shucked which is a big no-no. Kinkead’s, on the other hand, shucks each oyster to order, and assembles a beautiful platter with the usual accompaniments: half a lemon (with cloth), vinaigrette, and cocktail sauce with a dollop of horseradish. The oyster shuckers at Kinkead’s were taking great care with their product – I saw one of the gentleman take a quick sniff of an oyster (this might sound odd, but it is a very good thing).

Best of all, the dozen came with three different types of oysters (four each): Hama Hama (WA, these are also currently being offered at Hook), Raspberry Point (PEI), and Buzzard Bay (MA). Each of the oysters are presented with half an oyster shell, used as a blackboard, with the place of origin written in black magic marker – this is a really nice touch that I haven’t seen elsewhere.

The happy hour wine was a Central Coast Chardonnay ($8) which I didn’t want with my second dozen (you don’t think I was going to get just one, did you?), so I ordered a 2009 Domaine des Dorices Muscadet ($11 on the menu, $10 on the bill, perhaps because it was happy hour). In the second dozen, the four Raspberry Points were replaced with four Rappahannock Rivers (VA).

A kingly feast at a mere prince’s sum – $28 for two-dozen beautiful, well-shucked and presented oysters. It’s hard to ask for much more than this.

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