When DC Coast opened in 1998 at the corner of 14th and K streets, its location was daringly far east. As businesses and law firms have flocked to that area, the move seems prescient. Located on the ground floor of an art deco office building in a space originally designed for a bank, DC Coast has soaring ceilings, a cozy mezzanine, and an open kitchen. The after-work bar scene is one of the liveliest in town, but the real attraction at DC Coast is the New Orleans/California/Chesapeake Bay seafood cooking of executive chef Jeff Tunks and chef de cuisine Andrew Brooks.
You can start a meal at DC Coast with some of the best gumbo or fried oysters this side of New Orleans, progress to Tunks's signature Chinese-style smoked lobster, and end with pastry chef David Guas's homey rum-raisin cake--courses from three different regional traditions, all executed with confidence and skill.
Other good bets on the current menu are appetizers of Malpeque oysters topped with vodka-ginger ice and a crisply fried chile relleno filled with goat cheese and wild mushrooms, and main courses of a crisp, whole striped bass with a garlic-soy dipping sauce and braised lamb shanks with creamy white beans. Guas's buttermilk beignets with café au lait crème brûleé is a delicious take an a traditional New Orleans treat.