Details

Johnny's Half Shell

400 N. Capitol St., NW
Washington, DC 20001

202-737-0400

Neighborhood: Capitol Hill

Cuisines: Southern, Seafood, Modern, American

Opening Hours:
Open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM. Open for dinner Monday through Saturday from 5 PM to 10 PM. Closed on Sundays.

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Nearby Metro Stops: Union Station

Price Range: Moderate

Dress: Informal

Noise Level: Chatty

Reservations: Recommended

Website: http://www.johnnyshalfshell.net

Best Dishes:
Roasted-beet-and-cucumber salad with smoked sturgeon and a caviar parfait; charbroiled Chesapeake oysters; made-to-order oyster stew; gumbo; Maryland crabcakes; lobster with drawn butter and fresh shell beans; coconut cream pie.

Price Details:
Starters, $8.95 to $16.25; entrées, $18.25 to $40. Oysters on the half-shel $2.50 each

Special Features: Wheelchair Accessible, Kid Friendly, Party Space, Outdoor Seating, Good for Groups

Scene: Outdoor Seating

Happy Hour Details:
Monday through Friday, 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM; $5.50 drafts, $8 cocktails, discounts on select seafood items.

Happy Hour Days: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays

100 Best Restaurants 2009: Johnny's Half Shell

No. 39: Johnny's Half Shell

Cuisine: The Big Easy and the Chesapeake both get their due at this classics-with-a-twist fishhouse/saloon, the creation of James Beard Award–winning chef Ann Cashion. So do fine dining and humble plates, from one of the better caviar deals in town—$19 for a jar of red and black with blini and crème fraîche—to a roast-beef po’ boy on a Leidenheimer roll evoking the famed sandwich at Mother’s in New Orleans.

Mood: A couple of years after moving from its quirky Dupont Circle digs to larger, less personal quarters on Capitol Hill, Johnny’s has the look of a place that’s been around forever. The bar, with retro floor tiles and boisterous talk, impersonates a New Orleans watering hole. A jazz trio plays weekend nights, and a piano player holds forth at lunchtime during the week.

Best for: A seafood fix or a respite from the experimental cooking at many of the city’s new dining rooms.

Best dishes: Fried oysters with tart relish; crunchy fritto misto with fried green tomatoes; barbecue crabs (in season); crab cake with slaw and French fries; lobster with drawn butter; at lunch, fried-seafood po’ boy, roast-beef po’ boy, and hot dog with bleu cheese and pickled onions; burger sliders with zippy pimiento cheese at the bar.

Insider tips: Some of the best eating and values are at breakfast (grillades and grits), lunch, and at the bar—happy hour from 4:30 to 7:30 weekdays is big with the congressional crowd.

Service: ••

Open Monday through Friday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Saturday for dinner. Moderate.

See all of 2009's 100 Best Restaurants