Arlington Standby Captures Shore Flavor
Along with warm weather and tourists, a pile of steamed Maryland blue crabs piping with old bay is one of the tell-tale signs that summer has come to D.C. This past weekend, I went to Quarterdeck in Arlington and could hear summer cracking to the tune of happy mallets and busy bottle openers.
Transporting all the salty dog charm of a seaside crab shack to the Fort Meyer neighborhood, Quarterdeck offers those who’d rather be on a beach the total experience with an expansive sunny deck, buckets of beer and bushels of Chesapeake’s finest. On the walls you’ll find a nice variety of tidal kitsch, plastic fish, captain’s wheels and artistic renderings of steamed crabs clutching cool brews. Lacking all class and completely comfortable with itself, Quaterdeck has the look of every great seafood dive and could have easily once been located in Bethany Beach or Rehoboth and washed up here after being swept out to sea.
My friends and I ordered three dozen crabs, two dozen steamed shrimp and, as a necessary palate cleanse, french fries. While waiting for the food, we watched the crabs coming into the kitchen by the crate load. Kitchen staff popped off the lids to reveal a snapping tangle of claw and blue, culling the big guns from the little guys with tongs. While four sizing options (regular, medium, large and jumbo) are usually available. Mediums were the largest that day, but they did not disappoint.
We had some expert pickers in the group and not a lump was left for the seagulls. Crabs had a healthy dosing of Old Bay, and the fleshy crunch of shrimp gave a nice counter-taste to the sweet crab meat.
The Quarterdeck makes accessible the famed crab shacks of Annapolis and the Delaware Shore to DMV residents who are stuck in the city for the weekend. Next time you’re feeling crabs but not the trip, check out Quaterdeck.
Richard is a freelance writer who enjoys building a healthy appetite with long runs around the city. When not logging the miles, he can be spotted training the palate at brunches, happy hours and food trucks.