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The Early Word on Brine in Mosaic District

"Brine has potential but needs to iron out a few wrinkles."

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R. Lopez

Brine in Mosaic District opened last month with "sea to table" cuisine from chef John Critchley and Rappahannock's Travis Croxton. Many Virginia-based fans of Rappahannock Oyster Bar have stopped in to get the same mollusks closer to home. In fact, the restaurant already has 32 Yelp reviews and an overall 3.5 star rating. How does it compare to the popular Union Market spot? Read on for the early word on Brine.

The Spendy News: Prices seemed high for the location, even when diners enjoyed the overall experience. Yelper Wendy S. writes, "The oysters are way too expensive for the suburbs- $2.50/Virginia oysters and $3 for others. I was just in NYC and paid less than that," while Yelper Lee B. calls the raw bar "spendy." Meanwhile, Yelper Kimberly S. writes, "We ended up spending almost $80 on our meal yet we left rather hungry and unsatisfied." Yelper Alice W. was also disappointed when the bill arrived and writes, "Our bill at the end of the night was over $100 and I didn't leave feel ultra full and satisfied. Brine has potential but needs to iron out a few wrinkles." [Yelp]

The Inconsistent Service News: The biggest overall complaints seem to be about Brine's waitstaff. Yelper Sean B. writes, "The server was not rude, but the service didn't fit the price charged. He did not explain the specials, our water drinks were never refilled, he couldn't explain menu items and our whole experience felt rushed." Open Table Diner RLchi had to ask for another menu for a companion while Yelper Kimberly S. feels her waitress ignored her table. Though several diners, like Yelper Brian B., had no problems with the service. He writes, "The entire staff, manager included, were very courteous and focused on our experience." [Yelp, OT]

The Out of Stuff News: On some nights, the restaurant appeared to have problems keeping ingredients in stock. Yelper M.L. writes, "My wife got the VA oysters, which they were out of two of the selections so she just got what was left," and Yelper Chris K. says, "Not everything on the menu was available because they 'ran out.'" [Yelp]

The Heavenly Bread Basket News: The freshly baked bread were extremely popular with diners. Yelper Sandy T. warns, "Don't forget to ask for their complimentary baked rolls (bread). It was so heavenly... Perfectly baked until golden brown and was sprinkled with sea salt."  Yelper DB W. also loved the rolls and writes, "They tasted similar to the sweet water donut-like rolls." Yelper Wilson L. says, "I should also mention the bread basket is awesome - not in terms of variety but the rolls are baked fresh for the table." [Yelp]

The Definition of Umami News: Blogger The Hungry Muse calls the plankton bucatini tossed with clams, preserved limes, brown butter and chili threads as a "must-try" dish, while Foursquare member Erc C. calls it "the definition of umami" and an Open Table Diner calls it "to die for!!!" [HM, OT, Foursquare]

The Not So Jumbo Lump Crab Cake: Many diners expected the same crab cake served at Rappahannock Oyster Bar, but Yelper Kimberly S. says it was actually about half the size. Yelper Alice W. writes, "My crab cake was not what I would call "jumbo" but it was 100% crab meat with no filler." Open Table Diner lasun decided it wasn't even worth eating and writes, "I made a lean cuisine when I went home." [Yelp, OT]

The Dreamy Lambs and Clams News: A soup made of house-made Moroccan lamb sausage, harissa, clams, and bread impressed diners, especially those who didn't expect to see a lamb dish on the menu. Yelper Rebecca K. writes, "All I can say is I dream about the Clams and Lamb dish. It was SO amazing," and Yelper Lee B. calls it "outstanding." Yelper Vandad C. advises, "If you like spicy things, you absolutely have to try it." [Yelp]

The Undercooked Food News: Several diners say their food was undercooked. Yelper Soh P. writes, "Today I ordered fish and chips and it came out uncooked so i had to wait for the second plate." Yelper Doug K. experienced similar problems with shellfish. He writes, "Chilled shrimp were undercooked...Oysters and clams were just undercooked, more gelatinous than firm like a nice broil should be." Yelper Christiane V. also says, "The bucatini was waaaaay undercooked. I mean I like my pasta al dente but this one wasn't even done." [Yelp]

The Superb Cocktails News: Brine's cocktails are apparently a hit with diners. Yelper Sylvie S. writes, "The cocktail was most likely the strongest piece of the visit. I had the spring fling and it was fantastic although took forever to arrive to the table." Yelper Alice W. also calls that particular drink "fantastic." Open Table Diner Daniel, who claims to be critical of cocktails, likes the No Blood No Glory, and Yelper Cyndy K. calls the Passion & Warfare and mint julep "superb." [Yelp, OT]

The Awesome Playlist News: Yelper DB W. writes, "Their playlist was awesome (Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soundgarden) perfect for an after work drink and dinner," and Yelper Karen C. calls the atmosphere "fun and lively." But many diners complained about the noise level, especially due to the open, industrial design of the restaurant. Yelper Sean B. writes, "Love the decor, but they need acoustic paneling to cut down on the noise, and Yelper Wendy W. says, "It sounded more like a cafeteria than restaurant." [Yelp]


1359 H Street Northeast, , DC 20002 (202) 591-1739 Visit Website