The food: Given the restaurant’s name and the tanks of live Maine lobsters at the door, the fish-focused menu comes as no surprise. Hit the marble raw bar for clams and oysters on the half shell (there are usually four varieties of oyster to choose from), peel-and-eat shrimp, ceviche, or the abundantly stocked $75 seafood tower. On the main menu, there’s seafood linguine with crab, shrimp, and scallops tossed in a light tomato cream sauce; bacon-roasted monkfish; and crab cakes with sweet corn and tomatoes. Lobster is sold by the pound and can be had steamed, broiled, stuffed with crabmeat, or even sashimi style. There are a few meat selections such as filet mignon and walnut-crusted chicken breast.
The scene: Stone walls and narrow archways harken back to the cavernous venue’s early days. Built in 1842, the restaurant was once a warehouse for barge traffic along the C&O Canal. The raw bar affords serene views of the canal and its towpath. Or you can dine on a deck overlooking the canal. Farther into the dining room, past tables with oil-burning candles, is another 40-foot oak bar backed by a rough stone wall.
What’s nearby: Situated on busy M Street, the shops, restaurants, and bars of Georgetown are a quick walk (Sea Catch itself is next to the Kiehls store). A block downhill, you’ll find more restaurants and open-air bars on the Potomac River’s waterfront and a multiplex movie theater.
Insider tips: Happy hour, Monday through Saturday 5 to 7 PM, means that oysters are $1 and wines by the glass, draft beers, and rail drinks are half price.
The bar menu features vodkas infused in-house with more than 25 flavorings, including papaya, fresh ginger, Bing cherries, and sundried tomatoes. Woodford Reserve bourbon comes infused with either a mix of summer berries, or orange, fig, and cinnamon. Drinks range from $10 to $12. A flight of four infusions is $25.