Saturday, March 15, 2014

Denson's Grocery and R&B Oyster Bar

I've driven by Denson's Grocery in the past when in Colonial Beach, VA, and and I've followed their postings on Facebook, but never had a chance to stop in. However, we finally made plans last Friday to head over and enjoy dinner with a friend. Being a Friday in Lent, some fresh seafood seemed just the ticket.

Denson's is a surprisingly small tiny shop. Upon entering the store, you are greeted by displays of assorted packaged food, and cases of fresh meats and seafood. And several shelves full of craft beer too! That's right, Denson's Grocery and R&B Oyster Bar is also well-stocked with craft beer. We spent a few minutes looking over the beers before taking a seat in the enclosed patio dining area. All of the food served at Denson's is fresh, and most of it local. The menu varies depending on availability and "catch of the day" will often mean "caught that day." I'm told that the locals will come in and pick out their meat or seafood and Rocky Denson will cook it to order. The large selection of craft beer is also available in bottles to enjoy with your meal. Denson's just added a draft line, serving Devils Backbone Vienna Lager, which was my choice for the evening.

Four varieties of oysters on the half shell were available during our visit. We opted for one that Denson's just started offering, called Holy Grail, from Maryland. These small, but plump and salty oysters were very flavorful. Colleen and I shared a dozen, but we both could have enjoyed a serving to ourselves. The oysters were served with Lemon Zest Mignonette, Tulkoff Cocktail Sauce with extra Horseradish, Lemon Wedges, Saltines and Crystal Hot Sauce. I'm a purist though, and ate most of my share without any embellishments.

For our entrées, we all chose the Lenten seasonal special, a traditional "Midwestern Style" Fish Fry consisting of Cod or Haddock, with Seasoned Fries, Creamy Homemade Cole Slaw and Tarter Sauce. We opted to try both the Cod and Haddock selections, for research purposes of course. Colleen preferred the thick, white Cod, while the thinner filets of Haddock won me over. I especially enjoyed the Cole Slaw, the cabbage shreds were large, and coated in a vinegary sauce. Colleen described it a as "sweet & sour." I might have to ask for a double portion next time I visit.

We all enjoyed our meals very much. I'm looking forward to returning to try more of their fresh foods and cooked-to-order meals. Blue crab season starts in just a couple weeks, and I've heard that Denson's does crabs right, so I'll definitely be back for that.

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