Photos by Clarissa Villondo, Words by Logan Hollers
Another day, another D.C. crab boil. A few weeks ago, we covered the Fainting Goat’s monthly Picnic at the Goat series. This time, it’s Brookland’s Finest cooking up the crustaceans.
TL;DR: Even though Brookland’s Finest is way the hell up Northeast, the crab boil’s a damn good deal that’s worth the trip.
Brookland’s Finest has a good thing going. They’re a great little neighborhood watering hole with not much around in the way of competition. The rustic interior, with plenty of exposed wood and brick (like Hansel, so hot right now), mirrors the food: rustic Southern-influenced cuisine with a touch of Italian. (The executive chef, Shannan Trancoso, is Italian and spent a big chunk of time cooking in Georgia.) Dishes like a southwest pork chop, fried catfish, and salmon and grits make up the majority of the menu…along with the chef’s grandma’s spaghetti and meatballs, of course.
But the big draw? A new Wednesday night special crab boil, featuring three Maryland blue crabs, roasted corn, and whole red potatoes. Oh, and a glass of Flying Dog’s Dead Rise Ale (made with Old Bay and a great match with the crab). For $25, this is a steal of a meal. We’re not the only ones who thought so, as there were multiple tables also cracking away the night we visited.
As long as you’re here, a few other dishes to keep in mind: the brussel sprout chips and the pretzel bites. The sprouts, salty and cunchy, are a solid start – a little salty, sure, but that’s why you got a beer, right? Those pretzel bites, though…wow. Think how awesome soft pretzels are. Then think how they’d be even awesome-r if you cut them into bites and fried them so you get even more crunchy outsides yielding to a soft, doughy interior. The mustard dipping sauce (whole-grain, of course) is on point. Excellent start.
And that crab. So sweet, super tender, and (for blue crabs, at least) a ton of meat. The spice rub on the outside has a nice heat, leading to a long, slow burn on the lips – Dead Rise definitely required.
I’ll probably say this in every piece I ever write: I don’t like dessert. I don’t like sweets. But I try them for you, you guys! (You’re welcome.) We went with the cheesecake truffle bites with whiskey caramel sauce. The caramel sauce was damn good, the chocolate truffle balls…maybe not for me. Almost like a firm chocolate ganache or pudding, dusted with chocolate. I bet a lot of normal people would like this.
Even though it’s deep Northeast, the crab’s outstanding and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better $25 meal. Head up, grab a crab mallet, and crack away before summer’s over and the crabs skitter off.