I’ve been wanting to try Eat the Rich in Shaw for some time now. It bills itself as an oyster bar, but one glance at the menu let’s you know ETR is so much more. Fish pie in a puff pastry? Pickled mackerel and herring alongside sour cream and potatoes? Yeah, this is some deliciously weird and unique stuff. Fellow urban adventurers Pam and Kelly were more than up for tagging along, so we headed over last night.

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This is what it looks like from the outside. If I were the owner, I’d totally get that little oyster guy tattooed somewhere epic. I am in the background in a very girly chambray sundress.

So, I should probably admit that I’m a bit of a horror when it comes to eating out.¬†As an unpaid legal extern and student, my dollars are precious. I bring my own lunch to work every day and pinch pennies all week to be able to hit up DC’s amazing eatieries, so you can bet when I choose a place it means:

1) I’ve done my research. If this place has been reviewed in a newspaper, online magazine, or on Yelp, etc., I’ve read those reviews. If the restaurant or their exec chef or something has given an interview or has opened other restaurants, I try to get an idea of their style and history.

2) I’ve read the menu, if possible, and I know what I want to order and drink. While I make an effort to get the “best” dish on the menu (read the freshest and most unique) and always ask the staff what the kitchen does best, I like to come prepared and familiarized. It doesn’t do to be overwhelmed!

3) I’ve made a reservation. You can’t make a res at Eat the Rich, but most other times I try to make a reservation and make the guest list interesting. While in DC, it has been a lot of fun to introduce friends from different circles, namely undergrad, law school, and work. I realize what a lucky person I am to have so many kind, interesting, smary, hilarious people in my life and I have to share!

4) I’m going to ask questions. I want to know about ALL the ingredients, sometimes even the cooking process. What can I say, I’m super interested!

So, let’s get to it!

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Yes, the interior is sexy sexy. It’s sort of like a modernized, fiercely decorated ship interior with lots of dark wood and honeyed lights.

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If you can’t find a seat at the bar–a likely happenstance on a friday night past 7:30–there’s a lovely back room with long communal tables. And, that is a walrus skeleton on the wall! More prime tattoo material!

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You can get individual cocktails, but getting a pitcher of the same to split is wildly cheaper. We were all very enthused about the Wildflower, aka gin, chamomile, elderflower. The fragrant orange peels in our glasses (with just a bit of orange meat clinging to them) was a welcome final touch.

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I ordered the Beach and Beans, aka claims, grilled squid, PICKLED MACKEREL, oil-poached albacore, tuna, and black-eyed peas.

You guys, I wanted to put my face in it and just inhale, but I’m glad I didn’t because the dish managed to maintain the unique flavor properties of each sea creature which seems like a pretty difficult thing to pull off. I liked that it wasn’t as heavy as some of the other dishes, leaning instead on vinegar to bring out the natural brine and salt in the food itself, as well as the herby greens. It was $13, totally reasonable for something this singular¬†and delicious.

The bread on the side didn’t come with the dish. We ordered it separately for $2, and I’m damn glad we did because Eat the Rich makes a mean BUCKWHEAT SOURDOUGH, in-house I believe. I LOVED this bread. It sopped up everything and stood alone. They served it singed and lightly buttered. I literally might see if I can order a loaf for myself.

I should also mention that Eat the Rich carries Flying Dog “Pearl Necklace” Oyster Stout, which has oyster juice in the beer. It is EXCELLENT, so briny and wonderful!

The bottom line here: Eat the Rich is a total win. Ideally, go with a big group and order everything everything you can. Prepare for a loud and lively atmosphere.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

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