Most restaurateurs visit their businesses by car or foot. It’s only fitting that Greg Casten, co-founder of the seafood-centric Fish & Fire Food Group, commutes to his brand-new Southwest DC waterfront venture, The Point, by Boston Whaler (and he hopes other river-faring guests will do the same). The massive indoor/outdoor, 500-seat seafood restaurant—the first to open at the burgeoning Buzzard Point development—is perched at the intersection of the Anacostia and Potomac rivers and flanks a large marina. It’s a quick hop by water or land from Navy Yard, the Wharf, and further down the way, the Georgetown waterfront, where Casten and uncle/business partner Tony Cibel have operated Tony & Joe’s and Nick’s Riverside Grill for over 30 years.
Casten’s philosophy: “You can’t go wrong being on the water, unless you serve bad food.”
The Point, which just opened with a limited menu, is the most ambitious project to date for the Fish & Fire—not to mention the biggest restaurant to open recently in DC. The group also operates The Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse, home to some of our favorite smoked fish in the city, and sustainable seafood wholesale business, ProFish. Seafood is naturally at the heart of the sprawling restaurant, whether diners are slurping local oysters on the 150-seat patio, sampling Maryland crab rolls at the indoor sushi bar (slated to open this week), or grabbing cones of fried calamari or lobster rolls from Beside the Point, an adjoining takeout and market near the Anacostia Riverwalk.
A massive 18-foot, wood-burning grill is the centerpiece of the kitchen lead by chef Benjamin Lambert, an alum of Restaurant Nora and 701 Restaurant who most recently helmed the kitchen at District Winery. A wide range of ingredients get their turn on the flames, including roasted Chesapeake oysters with miso-crab butter, grilled mahi mahi tostadas with slaw and avocado salsa, dry-aged ribeyes, or roasted duck “burnt ends” with charred cabbage slaw and plum dipping sauce. Lambert plans to add family-style whole roasted fish dinners, as well as Chesapeake crab feasts on the patio in peak season. For now, guests can get their local crustacean fix with crab cakes or savory “doughnuts” stuffed with creamy crab dip. Other summery eats include house-smoked spareribs and wings from the kitchen’s smoker.
Designer Allison Cooke of Core Architecture + Design is behind the modern-nautical space. Even at DC’s current 25-percent indoor dining capacity, the inside feels spacious with lofty 22-foot ceilings, windows overlooking the water, and six “living green walls” set with hundreds of live plants. Seating options outdoors run the gamut from dining tables to bar seats and whicker chairs for relaxing with a blackberry-bourbon smash or rum punch. There are also five fire pits with seating for cooler evenings. Given the restaurant’s proximity to sporting venues—a block from Audi field and a short walk to Nats park—the patio is also set with four big-screen TVs to cater to fans.
Buzzard Point is the final piece in the new development puzzle linking the the Southwest Waterfront and Navy Yard to the northeast, and is expected to boom in the next few years with space for thousands in new residential buildings as well as more restaurants, boutiques, and entertainment venues. Casten says his group was originally looking at smaller waterfront locations elsewhere but landed on the massive 12,000-square-foot space in 2018. The Point has been in the works since, and was delayed due to the pandemic.
“People ask ‘Why are you doing this?’ I have one foot on the dock, one foot on the boat,” says Casten, who founded ProFish over 30 years ago. “This place is too beautiful not to happen.”
The Point. 2100 Second St., SW. Currently open with a limited dinner menu with brunch and lunch to follow.