This restaurant looks like a neighborhood bar. But if you don't go in you'll miss some very good cooking. The food is mostly from Louisiana; the plain decor does not presage what is about to come on the dinner plates.
There is a lot of good seafood here. Oysters come raw on the half shell, fried as part of an oyster loaf, deep-fried plain, deep-fried and topped with lump crab and tasso ham étouffée (Oysters Nezpique), and baked with mushrooms, crab, tasso ham, bacon, and a light cream sauce (Oysters Bienville). There is smothered and deep-fried catfish. Fish filets come encrusted with crushed pecans. Both the trout Orleans with a spicy shrimp-and-crab hollandaise and the Cajun grilled loin lamb chops are terrific.
Two recently sampled, more-elaborate dishes showed well: Creole seafood stew with a mélange of fresh seafood, and fish and veal Atchafalaya–veal scallopine with lobster, shrimp, tomatoes, and a Sherry cream sauce. For dessert consider the house-made Key-lime pie or the crusty crème brûlée.
RT's Restaurant, 3804 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; 703-684-6010. Open Monday through Saturday for lunch, daily for dinner. No bathroom with wheelchair access.