Union Market has an openness and serenity that no New York CIty marketplace can replicate. We made a trip into the DC area Sunday morning, and to our surprise, we could roam the stalls within this warehouse without throwing a single elbow.
We even walked straight up to open seats at the Rappahannock Oyster Bar.
But before I get into that, we gave TaKorean a shot — bulgogi, tofu and chicken marinated korean style, stuffed in soft tortilla. Jay wasn’t a fan, but there’s an Americanization to it that makes it so that you shouldn’t compare it to authentic korean food. Sort of like what PF Chang’s is to chinese food. The flavor are bold, ingredients fresh.
But what you come to DC for is the seafood. So the Rappahannock Oyster Bar is where you should spend most of your time in this market. The menu is concise but wide-ranging.
I had oyster chowder, with fresh oysters and bacon blocks in a light chowder, not salty at all. Jay had the seared tuna and quinoa, a really earthy taste free of any fishy flavors. Paige got an amazing crab cake, packed tighgtly with a mayo-based sauce. But the simplest dishes were still the best — the grilled oysters, heated just enough to keep it nearly raw, served with a seaweed butter, and boiled clams with one of the most intense seaweed broths I’ve ever had.
Union Market’s a real DC gem. While it doesn’t stand up against NYC’s Chelsea or Essex markets in terms of variety or selection, all you really need with markets like these are vendors that are the best at what they do — be it seafood, fresh vegetables, pickles, tacos, coffee, soap. And it’s refreshing to be able to soak it all in without all the hustle and bustle.