Epic Smokehouse's Surprisingly Good Seafood - D.C.

Divert your attention from the meat pages at Epic Smokehouse

When longtime friends Wayne Halleran and Joon Yang opened Epic Smokehouse in Crystal City, their focus was understandably on meats.

Halleran filled his smoker with oak, hickory and maple, and developed barbecue sauce made with apple wine from the nearby Chateau O'Brien Winery. Then the duo set to work on their soy-glazed short ribs ($22), smoked baby backs ($24) and dry-rubbed brisket ($17).  

But Epic's seafood menu threatens to trump the meat. The duo sidesteps fussy preparations, giving the fish hearty flavors. Cornmeal-dipped fried oysters ($8) are briny ambassadors to Buffalo chicken, served with a splash of buttery Buffalo sauce, a flash of blue cheese and diced green onions. Diver scallops ($9) are cold-smoked, seared and served on a bed of heady kimchi.  

Salmon slow-smokes over birch ($19) for a woodsy heft that balances the accompanying dried cherries and bacon-touched Brussels sprouts. Sea bass is coated in chipotle, then stacked over butter-poached mushrooms in a smoky miso broth ($23).

Bar manager Genevieve Ahrens debuted the restaurant's cocktail menu last week. Opt for bacon-infused bourbon, which is a fittingly meaty base for the Old-Fashioned ($10).

Epic Smokehouse, 1330 S. Fern St., Arlington; 571-319-4001 or  epicsmokehouse.com