Brine and Dandy
There's plenty to see and taste at the new Union Market.
Once you've made the rounds, snag a stool at Rappahannock Oyster Bar.
Cousins Travis and Ryan Croxton, founders of Rappahannock Oyster Co., are shucking their own Virginia-harvested shellfish for the bar's seafood-centric menu at the tiny counter space.
Start with a dozen oysters on the half shell ($24), ordering a mix of varieties native to the area. There are currently three options, including clean, buttery Rappahannocks, as well as the briny Stingrays. Olde Salts, which are grown in Chincoteague, taste like the ocean, with a bold, salty bite.
Pick up a spoon for the next course. The signature shellfish appears in bowls of thick, creamy oyster chowder ($8). Plump clams ($15) steam in white wine, garlic and fennel, with a liberal sprinkling of parsley and two slices of buttered toast for plunging.
If it's available, the peppery Farmhouse Ale from D.C.'s own Three Stars is an excellent choice. It adds up to a fittingly local meal for the city's new market.
Rappahannock Oyster Bar, inside Union Market, 1309 Fifth St. NE (at Neal Pl.); 804-204-1709 or rroysters.com
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