As Washington gradually returns to normal, new restaurants are arriving on Capitol Hill and nearby. In the up-and-coming Buzzard Point neighborhood, Washington seafood maestro Greg Casten has unveiled The Point, a sprawling seafood emporium at 2100 Second St. SW.
Why Buzzard Point? “We’re looking at where the Potomac and the Anacostia meet,” he responded, as we munched crunchy Boardwalk fries at his spacious new restaurant.
Casten, 58, is also founder and owner of ProFish (seafood purveyors), Ivy City Smokehouse and Tavern, Tony & Joe’s Seafood Place and Nick’s Riverside Grill (both on the Georgetown waterfront).
Designed by Allison Cooke of Core Architecture + Design, the 12,500-square-foot restaurant is gorgeous. The soaring, 22-foot ceiling is zig-zagged with giant neon crustaceans, sweeping booths and lots of plants. In the ladies room, yellow shoe soles hover overhead.
Executive chef Benjamin Lambert (who cooked at Restaurant Nora), creates fire-grilled seafood clam beignets, whole branzino and “turf” dishes involving duck and chicken. Among vegetarian options is fire-roasted cauliflower shawarma.
Perusing the smaller luncheon menu, Peter and I sat outside on the spacious terrace, overlooking the Yacht Club and passing helicopters. Five fire pits will ward off chilly weather.
Crab aficionado Peter eyed the jumbo crab cake sandwich, listed at “market price.” Crabs are extremely expensive this year, Casten explained. “The highest in my 31 years in the business.” ProFish pays $40 per pound for jumbos. “We absorb some of the price,” Casten said.
At The Point, the crab cake sandwich was $26, and Peter went for it. Nestled in a brioche bun with the fixings, the jumbo cakes were flavorful, moist and filler-free, practically falling apart. I considered the crispy calamari, but decided on mahi mahi tostados. Good choice; firm white fish chunks were arranged atop a crisp tortilla, napped with cabbage, tomatillo-avocado salsa and radish wedges. Ideal for sharing, the $26 Ivy City Smoked Fish board is loaded with salmon, rainbow trout, whitefish salad and other goodies.
Lunch for two—including my glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc—came to $58 before tax. Service, provided by Franny, was excellent. The Point is open daily; call 202-948-2522 or visit www.thepointdc.com.
And, coming soon to Buzzard Point: La Vie (a spinoff of the District Wharf’s La Vie), around the corner from The Point. For updates visit www.lavie-dc.com
In the Navy Yard near Nationals Park, Emmy Squared Pizza debuted recently at 1300 Fourth St. SE. As the moniker indicates, this sprightly pie palace serves square, Detroit-style pizza. Made with King Arthur organic flour, crusts are crowned with “red,” including tomato sauce, pepperoni, house-made vodka sauce and more.
Emmy’s “white” toppings—sans tomatoes—might include smoked Gouda, banana peppers or—a nod to the South—Nashville hot chicken with Alabama white sauce. You can also find burgers, cheesy garlic sticks, eggplant parmesan. Full bar. A nationwide chain, Emmy Squared operates another local offshoot in Shaw.
Navy Yard Emmy’s is open Thursday through Sunday evenings. For more information call 202-290-2810 or visit www.emmysquaredpizza.com.
Wine About it
Another Navy Yard newcomer is Maxwell Park, a lively wine bar at 1346 Fourth St. SE. (There’s another location in Shaw.) The mind-boggling list offers four sizes: a 2.5 ounce taste, a five-ounce glass, a half or full bottle. Complementing the fruit of the vine are victuals including mixed nuts, marinated olives, smoked trout dip, grilled truffled pimento cheese. Navy Yard Maxwell Park is open nightly. For exact hours call 202-792-9522 or visit www.maxwellparkdc.com.
On Barracks Row, Bodegon Spanish Tapas—a spinoff of Georgetown’s Bodega—has arrived at 515 Eighth St. SE. You’d never recognize the space (formerly Medium Rare), transformed into a vision of Madrid or Barcelona. Bullfighter motifs, colorful ceramic plates and paintings line white brick walls. To absorb the Iberian ambience, Peter and I brunched inside.
We sipped Spanish cava rose and a $5 mimosa concocted with house sparkling wine and fresh orange juice. We began our repast with a bowl of Andalusian gazpacho, refreshing on a hot day. Our excellent server, Lilly, anticipated our needs and provided an extra soup spoon for sharing.
Pitted dates were swathed with bacon and deep fried—divine finger food. Crisp-fried calamari rings were fork tender—fresh, not frozen—Lilly explained. “So they are not rubbery.” More tasty tapas arrived: grilled smoked chorizo tidbits. Other options include a plate with jamon Serrano (Spanish ham), manchego cheese, bread and almonds, plus paellas, grilled meats, seafoods and vegetables. For more information call 202-560-5061 or visit www.bodegondc.com.
And, down the street at 713 Eighth St. SE, Crazy Aunt Helen’s has arrived. Watch for details; meanwhile call 202-750-8140 or visit www.crazyaunthelens.com.
Hatoba Hot Dogs
Chowing down on a hot dog in a Japanese restaurant? At Hatoba (Japanese for “dock”), we explored the kitchen’s western twist on Japanese cuisine. I zeroed in on the yakisoba—wieners slathered with noodles, pickled ginger and Kewpie mayo, nestled in a potato bun. I could have devoured two of them.
Among other options are gyoza burgers, ramen, curried fries. Peter chose the crab yakisoba, a tasty stack of noodles, cabbage, onions and bean sprouts but not enough crab. Potent potables encompass canned Coppola wines and chilled (or hot) sakes. Dinner for two with a drink apiece came to $44 before tip. Service was excellent but almost too swift. Located at 300 Tingey St. SE, Hatoba is open daily; for exact hours call 202-488-4800 or visit www.hatobadc.com.
Snip & Sip
Guys needing a stylish haircut and a cocktail (first drink is on the house) might visit Scissors & Scotch, at 1 M St. SE (Van and South Capitol). Part of a nationwide chain, the dual purpose shop offers expert male grooming plus aged scotch and other drinks including beer, wine and coffee. S&S is open daily; for hours call 202-481-3306 or visit www.navy-yard.scissorsscotch.com
New Kid on the Corner
On our way to Mangialardo’s to pick up our hefty “G-man sub,” we noticed a new shop across the street with a freshly painted grey façade: Potomac Tobacco Mini Market, where a Chinese carryout used to be. Located on the corner at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, the spotless newcomer carries chips and other snacks, soft drinks, eggs, pet food, ice, paper goods and cleaning products.
….is a gluten-free bakery, Sweet Smiles Bakery & Patisserie, 1238 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, next door to the Capitol Hill Animal Clinic.