The Washington Post

Hank's Oyster Po' Boy

Hank's Oyster Po' Boy 4.000

Renee Comet for The Washington Post; styling by Bonnie S. Benwick

Plate Lab Nov 26, 2015

The fried oyster sandwich served at Hank's Oyster Bar in the District and Alexandria is not a by-the-book rendition of what you'll find in New Orleans -- and it might be all the better for it. The chefs line a toasted, buttered brioche bun with watercress and serve a zippy coleslaw and piquant tartar sauce. The juicy, crunchy seafood is clearly the star; you'll find it surprisingly easy to achieve restaurant-quality results.

You'll need an instant-read thermometer for monitoring the frying oil.

Where to Buy: Italian "00" flour is a soft, white flour that is highly refined; it's available at larger grocery stores and at Italian markets.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • For the coleslaw
  • 1/2 large green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 small red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 small carrot, scrubbed well, then cut into matchsticks (julienne)
  • 1/3 cup plain rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup regular or low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon prepared (white) horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the sandwich
  • 6 to 8 cups vegetable oil or peanut oil
  • 2 cups "00" flour (see headnote)
  • 24 freshly shucked oysters, drained (from a 1-pound jar)
  • 4 lobster-style (split-top) brioche buns
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • About 1 cup homemade or store-bought tartar sauce
  • About 3 ounces watercress, rinsed well and patted dry


For the coleslaw: Combine the green and red cabbage and the carrot in a large mixing bowl.

Whisk together the rice wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mayonnaise, Dijon-style and whole-grain mustards, the horseradish, celery seed, sugar and salt in a liquid measuring cup until emulsified, then pour over the cabbage mixture. Toss to coat evenly; let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Toss again just before serving.

For the sandwich: Heat the oil in a large, deep pot over medium-high heat to 375 degrees. Place a wire cooling rack atop a baking sheet lined with paper towels.

Place the "00" flour in a mixing bowl, then add half of the drained oysters and toss lightly to coat. Use your hands to lift out each one, shaking off excess flour while checking to make sure the oyster is evenly and completely coated. Carefully lower a few at a time into the hot oil; cook for 1 to 2 minutes or just until craggy and golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining oysters; discard any unused flour.

Spread the insides of the buns with the butter. Spread the buns open and place them buttered sides down in a nonstick skillet; toast over medium-low heat until golden.

When ready to serve, place a buttered, toasted bun right side up on each plate. Spread a small dollop of tartar sauce on the inside of each bun, then line each one sparingly with the watercress. Nestle 6 fried oysters in each sandwich. Serve right away.

Rate it

Recipe Source

From Theary So, chef de cuisine at Hank's Oyster Bar in Dupont Circle.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at

Avg. Rating (0)

Rate this recipe

Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (without tartar sauce): 630

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 35g 54%

Saturated Fat: 9g 45%

Cholesterol: 100mg 33%

Sodium: 1150mg 48%

Total Carbohydrates: 61g 20%

Dietary Fiber: 6g 24%

Sugar: 15g

Protein: 18g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

Most Read Lifestyle