12 Epic Seafood Towers Around DC

By Rina Rapuano  |  April 22, 2014
Credit: Charlie Palmer Steak

There’s something about a seafood tower that’s contagious: the minute you see one floating through a restaurant on its way to some lucky table, it’s nearly impossible not to order one for yourself. And it’s all the more alluring if you’re able to devour those cool crustaceans on a patio or with a water view. Here are a dozen places where you can order an opulent array of seafood - and become the envy of all those around you:

Where: A-Town Bar & Grill
What: Three tiers are stocked with a dozen Virginia oysters, a dozen Blue Point oysters and a half-dozen jumbo shrimp served with oyster mignonette, cocktail sauce and horseradish cream.
Cost: $70
Good to Know: On Thursdays only, they throw in a half pound of crab legs. During happy hour - 4-8 PM weekdays - the tower is half price at the bar.
4100 N. Fairfax Dr., Arlington; 703-528-1110

Where: BLT Steak
What: One, two or three tiers of lobster (not available on the one-tier option - only on the two- and three-tier towers), oysters, littleneck clams, Jonah crab claws, mussels, Taylor Bay scallops and jumbo shrimp.
Cost: $34/$65/$98
Good to Know: The steakhouse’s towers are customizable and can serve one to three people - although they are actually large enough to feed more.
1625 I St. NW; 202-689-8999

Where: Carolina Kitchen
What: Three tiers of a dozen Blue Point oysters, eight jumbo shrimp and eight crab claws.
Cost: $59
Good to Know: Accompaniments include housemade mignonette sauce, Creole cocktail sauce, horseradish sauce, Tabasco and fresh lemons.
Rhode Island Row, 2350 Washington Pl. NE; 202-733-1216

Where: Charlie Palmer Steak  
What: North Carolina prawns, an assortment of oysters, poached Maine lobster, Maryland blue crab, lemon aioli, classic cocktail sauce and black onion crackers.
Cost: $38 per person
Good to Know: This tower of power can be enjoyed at the bar, in the dining room or on the patio - and a larger-scale version can be arranged for weddings and events on the roof.
101 Constitution Ave. NW; 202-547-8100

Where: DC Coast
What: The Big Daddy is stacked with a half dozen oysters, a half dozen wild Wellfleet clams, king crab legs, iced jumbo shrimp cocktail and one pound of poached, chilled lobster.
Cost: $80
Good to Know: Sauces include champagne vinegar mignonette, cocktail sauce and drawn butter, and a frozen mini bottle of Ketel One vodka served with a shot glass can be added for $4 more.
1401 K St. NW; 202-216-5988

Where: District Commons
What: The Big Daddy is stacked with a half dozen oysters, a half dozen wild Wellfleet clams, jumbo lump crabmeat cocktail, iced jumbo shrimp cocktail and half a lobster.
Cost: $72
Good to Know: The tower, which can be enjoyed on the patio, is served with Key-lime mayo. General Manager Boo Kim suggests pairing the tower with one of the lighter beers on tap, like Allagash White or Narragansett Pale Ale.
2200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202-587-8277

Where: Fiola Mare
What: The grand platter includes raw East and West Coast oysters; a dozen middleneck clams on the half shell; a dozen meaty steamed mussels on the half shell glazed with their own juices; one steamed Maine lobster tail; two lobster claws; four head-on prawns; and peekytoe crab salad. Passionfruit pink peppercorn dressing, spicy Calabrese mayo and yuzu-espelette dressing put some excitement in the usual sauce offerings.
Cost: $95-$115
Good to Know: A smaller version is available for $55-$60, and both platters include daily additions that change with the season, such as chocolate clams from Baja, razor clams and tuna tartare.
3050 K St. NW (entrance at 31st and waterfront); 202-625-0065

Where: Le Diplomate
What: The Grand Plateau is three tiers of four Belon oysters, four East Coast oysters, four West Coast oysters, six littleneck clams, 12 mussels, five Taylor Bay scallops, a 1.25-pound lobster, uni, eight ounces of snow crab, nine ounces of king crab, three razor clams, six whelks, 16-20 peeled shrimp, 16-20 head-on shrimp, 2.5 ounces of dressed crab plus traditional sauces.
Cost: $130
Good to Know: The Grand Plateau is meant to feed four to six people; there’s also a $70, single-tiered Petit Plateau that serves one to three diners.
1601 14th St. NW; 202-332-3333

Where: Nopa Kitchen + Bar
What: Two tiers of seasonally available raw oysters like Kusshi and Misty Points; raw littleneck clams; cooked and chilled shrimp; cooked and chilled PEI mussels; cooked and chilled Maine lobster.
Cost: $60/$120
Good to Know: Both sizes include some of everything, plus mignonette sauce, cocktail sauce featuring yuzu kosho - a Japanese Chili paste, and fresh lemon wedges.
800 F St. NW; 202-347-4667

Where: Old Ebbitt Grill   
What: The Orca Platter is filled with one pound of lobster, six Jonah crab claws, six clams, two dozen oysters and 12 shrimp.
Cost: $126.95
Good to Know: Order it during oyster happy hour, held from 3-6 PM and 11 PM to close seven days a week, and get it for half price.
675 15th St. NW; 202-347-4800

Where: PassionFish
What: The Big Daddy is stacked with a half dozen oysters, a half dozen wild Wellfleet clams, jumbo lump crabmeat cocktail with Key lime-mustard sauce, iced jumbo shrimp cocktail and half a lobster.
Cost: $79
Good to Know: The oyster selection changes daily depending on what's freshest and in season, and it features both East Coast and West Coast oysters.
11960 Democracy Dr., Reston; 703-230-3474

Where: Range
What: The Shellfish Platter is three tiers of Olde Salt clams, an array of Chesapeake oysters (selection varies by the day), shrimp cocktail, Maine lobster and crab legs.
Cost: $65
Good to Know: The tower is half off during Range’s late-night happy hour, held from 9 PM to close each weekday.
5335 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-803-8020