(Moderators, I hope you will leave this on the DC board as that's its relevance, not chains.)
As is typical on lots of regional boards, chains even higher end ones don't seem to get a lot of love. So when Veggo recommended this on my thread about places to eat, neither he nor I were surprised that it didn't get rousing cheers. But Veg is one of my Chow-buds and he's never led me astray so I went and hoped for the best. And best is what we got! Just an A+ IMneverHO :)
They had a couple of white wine flights and we got the Crisp Dry Shellfish Whites ($7.95) which included generous pours of Chateau de la Ragotiere Muscadet, Verdemar Albarino and Wairau Sauvignon Blanc. We liked all three with perhaps a slight edge to the muscadet tasted described as "spray of sea air, green apple, light spritz."
We shared the cream of crab soup ($6.95) which was better than anything like it I've ever had. She assured me that it was fresh Maryland crab and I believe it. The bowl is brought out with the lump crabmeat sitting in the center of the bowl and the soup is poured from an earthenware pitcher over the crab. The crab was snow white and a pinch sans liquid was perfect. And the soup? There is certainly some kind of health law that would address this. I think the "stock" was basically cream boiled with the shells. It had a really nice crab flavor and was rich as, well, cream. I must try to copy this, using Dungeness which is just starting its season in CA. Glad there was bread for wiping up the absolute last bits cause I would have used my finger (if not my tongue). Then the crab cake ($14.95) which we also shared. This cake is the way a good one ought to be, where you can't tell what's holding it together cause all you can see is crab meat. Again, it was perfect.
We sat at the bar which filled up while we were there and it appeared that the adjacent dining room was full also. And it seemed to be locals.
You have such an incredible bounty of great food in DC so I know there's a tendency not to go to "chains" of any type. But I really do recommend Legal Seafoods. Ya gotta try that soup :)