Food

Seafood Destination the Salt Line Opens in Ballston Today

Find lobster rolls, smash burgers, and a new lineup of crudos.

Salt Line favorites like the waterman's fried seafood platter, lobster roll, and smash burger will carryover to the Ballston menu. Photograph by Jennifer Chase.

The Salt Line has tapped a New Englander to help oversee the seafood-centric menu of its second location in Ballston, opening today. Executive chef Matt Singer has spent the past decade working at French, Mediterranean, and Italian restaurants, all of which embraced hints of New England cooking and ingredients. In his new role, he’s working with chef/co-owner Kyle Bailey to carry over plenty of classics from the Navy Yard flagship along with a new lineup of crudos, seafood appetizers, and other heartier dishes.

Among the staples sticking around: clam chowder, stuffies (baked stuffed clams), the fried seafood waterman’s platter, lobster rolls (dressed or buttered), and the famous smash burger. The restaurant will have the same raw bar program highlighting Chesapeake and New England oysters as well as shareable seafood towers, and is looking to add seafood charcuterie in the near future.

Chef Matt Singer is adding a new lineup of crudos to the Salt Line’s Ballston menu. Photograph by Jennifer Chase.

Singer, who’s been working at Navy Yard since the beginning of the year, is also adding his own touches, including crispy octopus with shishito peppers and chilled seafood salad with fried artichokes and cherry pepper aioli. A new selection of crudos includes raw halibut dressed with avocado, shaved fennel, celery, bay leaf oil, and chopped kalamata olives. Bailey predicted the unusual combination would be the most polarizing dish, but it’s been an early favorite among friends and family.

One expected hit is the house-made bucatini and scallops in a spicy ‘nduja salami sauce with fennel and orange bread crumbs. For anyone looking for non-seafood options, a yankee pot roast is served with garlicky boursin cheese grits and orange-glazed carrots.

For dessert, over-the-top milkshakes are sticking around. The fall menu features a pumpkin-flavored special with pumpkin-spiced toasted marshmallow and a full-sized whoopie pie on top.

The new space seats just over 160 indoors and on the patio. And while it’s not across the street from a baseball stadium, Bailey says they hope to still make it a game day hangout.

Meanwhile, a third location of the Salt Line is headed for Bethesda. “I feel like any place where there’s an All-Purpose or a Chiko is where we keep ending up,” Bailey jokes of restaurants run by his longtime industry friends. It’s set to open next year.

The Salt Line. 4040 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. 703-566-2075.

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Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.