When you tire of restaurant “concepts” and of servers who need to “explain” the menu to you, keep in mind Jamie Leeds’s convivial oyster houses—your antidote to trendy pretense. But why think only oppositionally? Hank’s is also pretty great for a light meal after a movie, or when you happen to have brought together a group of varying tastes and needs and find yourself desperate. The selection of oysters changes daily, the clam chowder rings true, the po’ boys overflow with beautifully fried shrimp and oysters, and the crabcakes (at a time, unfortunately, of diminishing returns on the scene) are reliably light and sweet. The best approach is to cobble together a meal from parts rather than order an entrée—big plates are iffier bets—and to drink with gusto (the bartenders know their stuff, and the beer list is stocked with goodies).
Don’t miss: Raw oysters; oyster shooters; Hog Island–style oysters; fried oysters; peel-and-eat shrimp; ceviche; shrimp cocktail.