It is a spectacular setting. The Salt Line (79 Potomac Ave. SE) sits right on Diamond Teague Park, between Nationals Park and the Anacostia River.
The restaurant is really two concepts in one, says Jeremy Carman, a co-owner of the spacious restaurant. There is the outdoor bar with casual dining. Here, patrons can get a drink around the large, rectangular bar set in the middle of a stone deck next to Diamond Teague Park. The location offers a spectacular view of the Anacostia River on one side and Nationals Park on the other. The outdoor bar offers cocktails on draft —including a Cape Codder G&T, with gin, lime juice and a house-made cranberry tonic, or the frozen ‘Del’s Shandy,’ dispensed from a slushie-style machine.
But the interior of the Salt Line is also beautiful, with salmon and green-colored banquets under modern brass-and-orb light fixtures in one room, and a canoe hanging from the ceiling of another room that is shingled floor and ceiling to evoke a harbor-side fish shack. The indoor bar has a separate list of wines and cocktails. It is a great place for dates, birthday dinners or a leisurely experiment at the raw bar sampling a variety of oysters. A sit-down dining area on the patio, separate from the patio bar, offers dining along the Anacostia River.
Carman is one of four owners, including Chef Kyle Bailey, formerly head chef at Birch & Barley. Carman says they have tried to tailor a menu that will be friendly to both the neighborhood and the ballpark. Bailey’s menu is centered on fresh seafood and creative entrees. The restaurant is a partner with Old Line Fish Co. in Annapolis through Dock-to-Dish, a farm-to-table concept —but for water—that connects small scale fisherman to restaurants. The catch dictates elements of the menu, because the fishery sends the restaurant what they catch rather than what the restaurant orders.
But while its name suggests a seafood restaurant, Carman describes the menu as ‘New England meets Chesapeake,’ offering seafood but also a New England Smash burger, with cheese and a secret spice blend. Other options include a grilled beef rib eye, and a half chicken with a cool watermelon-cucumber salad.
The Salt Line is already getting a lot of buzz for its amazing views. The outdoor bar is indeed a great place to visit Friday afternoon, where you can look out over the river vista with an after-work drink in the foreground. But don’t think you know the place if you have only visited the patio bar. On Saturday, come back for date-night in the restaurant—and a whole new dining experience.