I think Meg was a little surprised when selected Rapp Session as the next restaurant for us to try on our Where to Dish Next list. Even though I am a self-proclaimed adventurous eater, there is one kind of food that I am not particularly fond of, and that’s seafood.
There’s just something about the texture and the smell that just turns me off. But I’m trying to come around, and I’ve honestly been dying to try Rapp Session since it opened in February. For me, it seemed like a less intimidating version of the full restaurant Rappahanock, next door.
After stopping by for both breakfast and happy hour, I’m sold. I think I might be on my way to being a converted seafood lover. Okay, maybe lover is too strong of an adjective, but I definitely have a new appreciation for food caught in the ocean. And it is hard not to love Rapp Session with it’s inviting atmosphere, friendly service and attention to detail, especially when it comes to the quality ingredients used in every dish.
The Dish: Rapp Session
Coffee & Pastries
First let’s talk breakfast. During the week, Rapp Session opens at 7 a.m. and it’s the perfect spot to pick up coffee downtown. If I need to get work done before heading into the office, I typically can’t concentrate in a Starbucks —it is just too chaotic and loud for. When I visited Rapp Session on a recent weekday morning, the space was calm and quiet with just a few people popping in for espresso and pastries, perfect for someone who is easily distracted.
I picked up a cappuccino and a plain croissant, a nice weekday treat. The house-made pastries are on point — I’m dying to try the cinnamon bun! If you need a new place to work on a project, or have a coffee meeting before work, definitely try Rapp Session. Stay tuned for updates to the morning menu, there might be a few hot food options on the horizon!
Grab & Go
Not only can you grab a bite to eat or a cup of coffee at Rapp Session, you can also pick up a variety of prepared foods and southern pantry staples. In the cold case you’ll find fresh seafood like oysters, clams and scallops (sold individually and by the pound) and prepared cold foods like tuna salad, house-made pickles and calabrian chiles.
On the large built-in shelves, you’ll also find a variety of specialty items and a nice selection of wine. There are also high-quality dry goods like Carolina gold rice, stone ground grits and demerara sugar all sold by the pound.
Sunday through Thursday happy hour runs from 3 – 7 p.m. Oysters are half off and you’ll also find beer, wine and secret punch deals. Meg and I went on a Sunday night and it was a great end of weekend treat. For drinks I tried the sparking rosè and Meg opted for the secret punch — which changes from night to night.
We had great service at the bar – our bartender/server, Taylor was so helpful and patient answering our rapid fire questions. Rapp Session is preparing to launch its summer menu, but if the food is anything like what’s being served now, your tastebuds will be happy. And what made all of this even more impressive, is the fact that all of the food is prepared behind the bar on two countertop burners. Here’s what we ordered:
- Fingerling potatoes with calabrian aloli
- Raw oysters (Rappahanock and Olde Salt)
- Soup of the day: escarole, red beans and clams in a pork broth with cured pulled pork
- Charcuterie plate with Red Wattle Tennessee ham (aged 12 months)
Now, I mentioned before that I am not a seafood lover. But, I tried the soup, and it was incredible —so flavorful and salty without being overpowering. The fingerling potatoes were so simple, but perfectly seasoned — really showcasing the starchiness of the potatoes.
Meg enjoyed her two oysters, the olde salt was brine and perfectly salty and the Rappahanock had a sweeter more buttery flavor. I was obsessed with the Red Wattle ham and pickles on our charcuterie plate. The whole experience made me more open to trying more seafood and also made me realize that maybe I don’t like it because I haven’t had good seafood.
Now, I’ll be honest, Rapp Session’s happy hour isn’t the cheapest, but it is definitely one worth trying. I’m already excited to go back, especially when the summer menu and new breakfast options are available.