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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Thing 71: Oyster Happy Hour at Old Ebbitt

Just between you, me and the Internet, today is my birthday. And I can not think of a more perfect way to ring in a whole new year of my life than with this:

Old Ebbitt Orca Platter
Champagne and oysters? How luxe!

And not just oysters. That picture, my friends, is of the two-tiered raw bar beast knows as the "Orca Platter" at Old Ebbitt Grill. This bad boy consists of one dozen oysters, one dozen clams, one dozen crab claws, one dozen jumbo shrimp and a one pound lobster. It'll set you back $95. Unless you know the secret.

I hesitate to even divulge it. But just between you, me and the Internet, Ebbitt does an oyster happy hour, Monday through Thursday, from 11PM to 1AM when the raw bar goes half price.

Half price.

Oysters are a dollar a pop, and that beautiful display of iced pink and white goodness is only $50. $50 to drown my fears of old age in sweet lobster, meaty crab claws and creamy, briny oysters? Yes, please.

Our bartender, Jason, was just as nice and attentive as you could ever hope for in a bartending professional. No glass sat empty for long, free cake and singing followed our orca platter, and GFD got a good natured ribbing after knocking over my champagne glass when he single-mindedly reached out for sweet, sweet lobster. Jason introduced himself to our party and then felt like part of the party, as though he were a friend we'd known a long time, guests in his house to celebrate my birthday.

Ebbitt is one of those power lunch institutions, adjacent to the White House and full of the martini-and-cigar lobbyist set. Tourists frequent it in the hope spying powerful deals getting done in a corner. But between you, me and the Internet, I've never been particularly taken with the food. It's never bad, but it's never great either. Not particularly adventurous but good for what it does.

Ebbitt's raw bar on the other hand is another matter entirely. It is magnificent. Glorious, even. It is six different kinds of raw oysters from a little bit of everywhere, whatever is fresh and in season. Big, small, salty, creamy, Pacific or Atlantic, they are always fantastic. And the jumbo shrimp are actually jumbo, huge hunks of shrimp, lightly steamed until bright pink and begging for a dip in the horseradish-laced cocktail sauce.

Yes, please.

So here is to a happy birthday, another year rung in in style, with an orca and champagne and dear, great friends. May you find yourself demolishing a midnight orca soon, too.

GFD and his new best friend


Jess said...

What a wonderful way to kick off the next year of your life!