D.C. diners love to treat themselves, whether it be to impress a client or simply indulge. One method to consider: raw bar platters. Seafood is already inherently kind of expensive, so investing in a selection of clams, lobsters and oysters for the table to share can make an occasion seem festive (particularly if some sparking wine is being poured in the process).
Seafood towers have been showing up more and more on D.C. menus for quite some time now (though prices have gone up over the years). Here's our updated guide to plateaus around town that are worth the splurge.
The restaurant: BLT Steak
The location: 1625 I St. NW
The seafood: In the platter for six, customers get 1 Maine lobster, 16 oysters, 8 littleneck clams, 8 Jonah crab claws, 8 mussels, 8 Taylor Bay scallops and 8 jumbo shrimp
The price: $34-$98 depending on size
To note: BLT will customize a tower for any size from 1-10 person. The towers feature items from five stats and three countries.
The restaurant: Le Diplomate
The location: 1601 14th St. NW
The seafood: The Grand Plateau platter at Le Diplomate features — take a deep breath — 9 oz rockweed, four Belon oysters, 4 East Coast oysters, 4 West Coast oysters, 6 Littleneck clams, 12 mussels, 5 Taylor Bay scallops, 1 1.25 lb lobster, 1 uni, 8 oz snow crab, 9 oz King crab, 3 Razor clams, 6 whelks, 16-20 peeled shrimp, 16-20 head on shrimp, 2.5 oz dressed crab, 3 oz mignonette, 4 oz cocktail sauce, 4 oz French cocktail sauce, 3 oz fresh horseradish and 6 lemon wedges
The price: $130
To note: Customers can also buy the petit plateau, aimed at serving 1-3 people, for $70
The restaurant: Old Ebbitt Grill
The location: 675 15th St. NW
The seafood: Old Ebbitt's big-ticket Orca Platter comes with a lobster, 6 Jonah crab claws, 6 clams, 24 oysters, 12 shrimp
The price: $126.95
To note: The Orca platter stretches over two tiers, and becomes a lot more affordable during Old Ebbit's Oyster Hour. It's half off between 3-6 p.m. and from 11-1 a.m. On Fridays and Saturdays, the deal extends to 2 a.m.
The restaurant: Kapnos Taverna
The location: 4000 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, Va.
The seafood: The seafood available on Kapnos' seafood platter can range from shrimp and oysters to crab legs.
The price: It's $75 for a small and $125 for a large
To note: The seafood is accented with such Greek-influenced condiments as harissa hot sauce, tomato-ouzo cocktail, lemon yogurt, mignonette and fresh horseradish.
The restaurant: Fiola Mare
The location: 3100 K St. NW
The seafood: Fiola Mare's plateau includes a mix of East and West Coast oysters, Maine lobster, middleneck clams, head-on prawns, black diamond mussels, tuna tartare and Alaskan king crab.
The price: $75 (1-3 people) and $140 (4-6 people)
To note: The platter is also accented with sea urchin, wakame salad and jellyfish salad.
The restaurant: SER
The location: 1110 North Glebe Road, Arlington, Va.
The seafood: Oysters, shrimp, crab cocktail, lobster, octopus
The price: $20-$80 depending on size
To note: SER's plateaus come with accompaniments both traditional (cocktail sauce) and unusual (blood orange mignonette)
The restaurant: Mastro's
The location: 600 13th St. NW
The Seafood: Options include such seafood as chilled king crab legs, oysters, crab claws and shrimp.
The Price: Varies depending on selected seafood.
To note: Mastro's is the only entirely create-your-own plateau in town, though that means the price is hard to estimate between market variations and what the customers choose.