Nantucket’s Reef Open Now and Channeling Summer

Feeling beachy? There’s a new Rockville spot for you.

The 146-seat restaurant contains nautical themes throughout, from the color scheme to model boats. Photograph by Christian Ekberg.

Yes, it’s September, but with temperatures climbing into the ’90s, it feels more like the height of summer. Take advantage of the warm weather by checking out the beachy Nantucket’s Reef, which opened last week in Rockville.

Channel the beach with crispy oysters, either in a basket with thin-cut fries and slaw or over salad. Photograph by Christian Ekberg.

Chef Steve Deffineaugh’s family was behind the now-closed Fred & Harry’s Seafood in Silver Spring, which operated for more than 50 years. Deffineaugh and partner Christian Ekberg have gone more New England-focused for their seafood house. The interior of the 146-seat eatery is done up like one you might find overlooking Nantucket Sound, with hardwood floors, pale blue walls, and plenty of nautical touches in form of wooden whales, flags, and model ships. The lunch and dinner menus also lean toward the ocean, with a selection of raw and baked oysters, bacon-spiked clam chowder, classic crab-stuffed cod, and baskets of crispy fish and shellfish. Naturally, New England lobster is also in the mix, with broiled tails, lobster mac and cheese, and classic Maine- and Connecticut-style rolls. A whoopie pie should take you back up North for dessert.

Currently an outdoor patio holds six tables, but look for an expansion come next spring. In the meantime you can post up with a fresh lime margarita or a cold cocktail fashioned from Nantucket Nectar juices. Unlike many places that restrict happy hour to the bar, deals extend throughout the restaurant, meaning you can take down $1 oysters in the great outdoors alongside $3 glasses of wine and draft beers from 4 to 7. Because what says summer like 4 o’clock happy hour?

Nantucket’s Reef. 9755 Traville Gateway Dr., Rockville. 301-279-7333. Open Sunday through Thursday 11 to 10, Friday and Saturday 11 to 11. Happy hour Monday through Thursday 4 to 7.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.