Navy Yard seafood spot Whaley’s is getting a cold weather makeover. From mid-December through March, it will transform into Fuyu (or “winter”)—a modern Japanese restaurant with family-style hot pots, tempura, and charcoal-grilled plates.
The star of the new menu will be shabu-shabu hot pots, where simmering cauldrons are brought to the table for groups of two or more. (Co-owner Nick Wiseman is a huge fan of the lauded Shabu Shabu Macoron in NYC and was inspired by his meals there.) At Fuyu, diners pick a broth—classic dashi or umami-rich red miso—and ingredients to cook in the liquid. In keeping with Whaley’s seafood-centric approach, items lean heavily on the ocean. Expect big eye tuna, wild American shrimp, monkfish, and bay scallops, but also local meats such as slices of dry-aged Roseda Farm ribeye and Bev Eggleston’s heritage pork. All are served with various dipping sauces. Chef Daniel Perron is making hand-cut udon noodles, which will be cooked in the concentrated broth alongside local vegetables for a warming finale to the meal.
The rest of the menu follows Whaley’s format, but with a Japanese twist. Shellfish towers will feature oysters with persimmon mignonette and miso-cod rillettes. Seasonal plates will mostly come from the tempura fryer—hello, crispy oysters—or a custom-made binchō-tan grill. The special variety uses white charcoal and imparts a “clean, smoky” flavor, as Perron describes, to fatty grilled fishes such as black cod and ora king salmon. He’s also having fun riffing on Japanese classics, such as a monkfish katsu sando (fried cutlet sandwich) and a sunchoke okonomiyaki (savory pancake) with Benton’s bacon and kimchi mayo.
“It’s always the delicate balance between not bastardizing it and putting your own twist on it,” says Perron.
Cocktails are getting a new spin, too. Barman Brian Zipin curated a new list of sakes, Japanese beers, and wines for the menu. Instead of a rum cart, the dining room will have a roving Japanese spirits cart for table-side cocktails like Roku gin with shiso and cucumber, or sherry cask whiskey mixed with plums and seven-spice shrub. Decor changes aren’t drastic, but designer Brian Miller outfitted the lofty ceiling with 100 paper lanterns to evoke Japan’s wintertime light festivals.
A exact opening date is TBD, but look for Fuyu to arrive around the week of December 17. Once open, the hours will be Monday to Saturday, 5 to 10 PM and Sundays from noon to 9 PM. Reservations are accepted, and happy hour will still run daily from 5 to 7 PM, with $1 River Keeper oysters and snacks under $10 like tempura sea beans.
Fuyu. 301 Water St., SE.