Phillips: Fresh seafood on the waterfront

June 27, 2005, midnight | By Alex Hyder | 19 years ago

Restaurant offers wide selection of Maryland fare

Nestled on the waterfront in Southwest DC, only a few blocks from the L'Enfant Plaza, Phillips Flagship offers a hearty meal, a casual atmosphere and views of both the Potomac and the Capital Yacht Club that serve as the perfect complement to the restaurant's offerings. The location is convenient to the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station, and its proximity to the Mall and many of the District's monuments and museums make Phillips the perfect place to dine after a day spent touring DC.

Frescoed in stained glass, with art deco furnishings, hardwood paneling and tiffany lamps, the décor and the wait staff's dress lend a 1920s ambience to the place, marred only by the all-too-modern R and B that is played a bit too loud over the restaurant's speaker system. Parents of small children might want to hide their tyke's eyes on the way in, as a bare-breasted mermaid statue greets visitors passing through the front door. Still, one must applaud the proprietors' decision not to festoon the walls with the tacky nautical paraphernalia present in many seafood restaurants.

The service, however, is unexceptional. Although customers are seated promptly, the quality of service varies from day to day and shift to shift. Often, one's waiter is cordial, engaging and eager to assist. However, one is just as likely to receive someone who is aloof, inattentive and unacquainted with the menu, not to mention basic arithmetic.

The Phillips chain is reputed for its seafood selection, and the waterfront location does not disappoint. In addition to a typical seafood menu, comprising such Maryland favorites as crab dip, several kinds of crab soup, crab cake sandwiches and crab legs (hey, that's what we eat in this state), Phillips offers a spectacular buffet. Prices are a bit steep, with a cup of soup going for $3.99, but, as with every item on the Phillips menu, the quality of the food is such that customers get what they pay for.

The buffet offers an amazing variety, and is a bargain at just $14.99. Those who are willing to spend $10 more can augment the buffet selections with all-you-can-eat crab legs, brought, freshly steamed, to their table. Diners can chose from southern standards, like succulent fried chicken and spicy jambalaya, New England fare, like clam chowder, or the same local favorites (read: crab) that appear on the menu. Exotic offerings, such as shrimp dim sum, serve to accommodate the more adventurous palate. The buffet also includes a spectacular dessert bar, with a wide selection of cakes, brownies, and cookies, as well as 6 flavors of hand-served ice cream, served by hand, just like at Baskin-Robin's. For those willing to splurge, a sushi bar is also available during dinner hours, as is a full-service bar, complete with television sets tuned to local sports.

Phillips Flagship is located at 900 Water Street, SW Washington, DC 20024. To contact the restaurant, call 202-488-8515.

Alex Hyder. Hyder, as he is affectionately (or, as is often the case, not-so affectionately) known, is thoroughly enthused about his position on SCO. A junior in Blair's Magnet Program, he is too lazy to write a more extensive bio but nonetheless finds the energy to write … More »

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