Taste Test: Blackwall Hitch
Melissa Groth | Jul 15, 2015 | 11:00AM |

Blackwall Hitch is a lovely addition to the Old Town Alexandria waterfront. It’s huge (315 seats, plus 105 additional patio spots), nautical, patio-ed, and has an impressive menu featuring lots of seafood. A “blackwall hitch” is a type of sailor’s knot. There are many sailing-related motifs in the design of the restaurant, including, but not limited to, an upstairs bar/lounge area called the Crow’s Nest. The entire restaurant, but particularly the Crow’s Nest, has killer near-360 views of the surrounding area, from the Washington Monument to National Harbor. Decked (heh) out with blue sea glass mason jars, refurbished antique chairs, wood tables and other nautical flourishes, dining at Blackwall is like being on a ship without the seasickness or killer ankle-breaking dolphins. It’s a nice place to dine. I am not usually impressed by Old Town establishments, but this is a nice place.

The food is good. The antipasti salad has a satisfying amount of meat, and a good tangy dressing. The softshell crab is very good, served with a lemony butter sauce and parsley tabbouleh. I don’t like parsley, but if you like parsley you’ll like the tabbouleh. The point of the dish is not the tabbouleh, though; it’s the softshell crab, which is delicious. The lemon-butter sauce compliments perfectly. Put the sauce on the tabbouleh, too. Get a side of the sauce and put it on everything.

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They serve Diver scallops over mushroom risotto but I’d skip this dish. The crab is much better. The braised beef short rib is tender and tasty if you want to skip seafood altogether. It’s served over mashed potatoes as it should be, and topped with crispy onion straws. Nothing not to like there.

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For dessert, the apple dumpling is a sure thing. It’s like apple pie but baked inside puff pastry, a beautiful thing. It’s served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Classic, simple, good.

Blackwall Hitch also offers Sunday brunch, a gluten free menu, oyster bar, and live music Wednesday through Sunday. Go and enjoy the view.

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