100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 83 Johnny’s Half Shell

Johnny’s Half Shell. Photograph by Chris Campbell.

In a just world, Ann Cashion’s ode to the cooking of the Chesapeake and Gulf Coast wouldn’t just be busy every night. It would be beloved.

What Johnny’s has, in abundance, is hard to quantify, though we all know it when we see it. Soul. Character. Identity. Things that matter more than we make time to talk about, and that are hard to find in a city of transients and trends.

Add in a terrific crabcake, a great bowl of gumbo, and a half dozen other sure-fire staples and you have a restaurant you can depend on to deliver when you need to please out-of-towners, traditionalists, or palates jaded by faddishness.

Don’t miss:

  • Chesapeake bouillabaisse
  • Crab imperial
  • Trotter Tots (pork croquettes)
  • Wood-grilled wings
  • Chocolate angel-food cake
  • Lemon chess pie

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Anna Spiegel
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.