Phillips Seafood (Flagship)
900 Water Street SW
Monday–Thursday & Sunday, 11am–9pm
Friday & Saturday, 11am – 10pm
Weekend Brunch, 11am – 2:30pm
Overlooking the Washington Channel on the Southwest Waterfront, Phillips Seafood (Flagship) is reputed to be the only all-you-can-eat seafood buffet in Washington DC. A large buffet of fresh seafood selections, as well other cooked and dessert specialties, make up an glutton friendly display. A traditional a la carte menu is also available. For those coming by car, you can swing below to an underground parking garage (complete with a man standing by the payment machine to help speed up the process at dinner time when the line can get long). Its a pure tourist destination however, so be warned…
The choice for this massive group dinner was left to someone who’s been here before and thought the simple venue and dining style would be conducive to our party – filled with a bunch of big strapping fellows associated with a certain active military outfit and accustomed to big eating of the seafood variety (as they are based on the west coast). I wasn’t particularly thrilled but decided to chalk it up to one of those unfortunate outings when one’s interest in eating well (and perhaps in more moderate quantities) was thrown to the wayside in the greater interests of group harmony and wasting time arguing about where to eat. I guess I can be accommodating to a fault.
Striving to make the best of this dinner, I headed straight to the area where there were a bunch of boiled/steamed and even breaded/deep fried seafood items. Mussels, clams, whitefish, shrimp, crayfish/crawfish and crab legs were the features this evening, and I got a hearty scoop from the man behind the counter of each. I thought it odd it wasn’t a serve yourself kind of set up like all the other areas were just to the right of this scene above. They were especially stingy with the crab legs, as each time I returned, I had to ask for another set of legs. With not much meat to the skinny appendages, this was a must, just to get through this otherwise unspectacular meal. Too watery, diluted flavors, a lot of empty shells, that kind of thing just shouted out all-you-can-eat-disappointment. Resigned to just getting my fill (even though the bill was not headed my way for any of this), I must have returned at least three separate times to this same area just to indulge in low quality protein.
On those trips, I only asked for the crayfish/crawfish once. I really detest breaking these tiny bodies and trying to find any meat to them. Too much work for not enough treasure I say. Wonder if anyone else feels the same? And for some reason, I associate dirty, muddy waters for these creatures, thus causing them to be less appetizing as well. Am I wrong to connect crayfish/crawfish in this way?
So you’ve probably got a sense from the lack of descriptors of the food about what I felt about coming to this place and my eventual meal. Next time, I have to try and be less of a nice guy and voice my opinion after hearing all-you-can-eat…