By Debbie Critchley
ALEXANDRIA,VA- Have you visited Whiskey and Oyster in Carlyle district? Don’t wait! You don’t want to miss all of the amazing choices available to you. The interior reflects the ingenuity, time, and effort of the team from HomeGrown Restaurant Group and Alexandria restaurateur “Mango Mike” Anderson. The ceilings reflect the industrial trend popular today but the rest of the rooms feature thoughtful touches. The rooms reflect the ocean with wavy finishes on the walls and silk screen fish on the soffits. You find yourself surrounded lovely fish sculptures and silver sculpture of fish above the open kitchen.
There is a separate area devoted to the ubiquitous oyster adjacent to the dining area. The bar is large and well appointed. Where is the whiskey, you ask? It’s in the converted dry cleaner’s carousel that was part of the original dry cleaner tenant. Mike wanted to sell it until it occurred to him that whiskey carousel might just be a better use – a whiskey a-go-go! The bartenders are always happy to show how it works if you ask. With a push of a button, the conveyor goes ‘round and ‘round and stops above a small circular staircase where the bartender can grab his choice.
We visited during Restaurant Week were given a wide variety of choices. I would die for the right to finish the last piece of Kung Pao Cauliflower! The menu description does not do it justice. Chunks of cauliflower florets are covered in Chinese spices and baked to tenderness. The bowl of veg is covered in peanuts and shaved celery. The dish designer should get five starts for innovation and flavor. A close second are the sautéed scallops. A properly cooked scallop is a thing of beauty – and flavor. The sear on the outside leaves a perfectly cooked inside.