After having sampled this "tasting room" wares at Union Market in DC, we just had to make a trek to the "mother ship" and we weren't disappointed. We were planning on spending Thanksgiving in the vicinity of the Tides Inn, a Chesapeake landmark, and realized that the Rappanhanock Oyster Company outpost was at Merrior, in nearby Topping. So, off to lunch we went and boy are we happy we got there a little before the lunch crowd descended upon the place.
Don't go for the ambiance, decor, or white table cloths because you won't find any of that. But, for goodness sake, do go for some of the best oysters and crab cakes available anywhere. The building looks like a work shed (but clean) and you enter on the side porch (screened in with heavy plastic during the winter to keep you warm). We sat outside and one of the many picnic tables and had great table service.
This is a kitchen (actually, a flattop and a couple of grills parked outside, under a canopy) that doesn't get in the way of incredibly fresh and fine seafood. We started with the dozen raw oysters (four each of their variety) and they ranged in saltiness and taste, depending on where in the bay they were raised. They were perfect and had us slurping down the remaining brine in each shell less we miss a drop of flavor. The crab cakes (had them in DC as well as here) were the same delicious mass that tasted of the sweetness of the crab and not the binder. I also went out on a limb and had lamb and clams, which was a heavenly tomato broth (hint of spice) with rough cut peppers/onions and ground lamb with about six clams resting on top. Again, the cooks let the food do the talking and we heard them loud and clear. Yum.
If you are ever in the neighborhood, you just have to stop in and have some of the best seafood, service and no-frills experience that money can buy (not too expensive either, for what you are getting).
It might be a little hard to find, but get there and enjoy yourself.
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