Words by Logan Hollers
Photos by Jeff Martin
As if we needed another excuse to pregame before Nats home games, Chef Kyle Bailey and the Long Shot Hospitality Group team (including, awesomely, investor Ryan Zimmerman) has opened the newest addition to the Southwest Waterfront: The Salt Line. Billed as a New England-style seafood shack, The Salt Line has one focus: pristine seafood. Based on our recent attendance at a media preview, that focus is well-placed.
But first, that view tho. Just south of Nationals Park, situated along the (ever improving!) Anacostia River, the space is legit gorgeous. A sweeping interior, nautically themed of course, focuses on the huge, u-shaped bar… And on the massive ice shelf packed with fresh local oysters. (FYI: the Beaver Tails from Rhode Island and the Moon Rises from Massachusetts are ridiculous; the former are briny and oceanic, while the latter are small and sweet.)
Massive windows mean views and natural light are abundant, and the back patio facing the Anacostia is sure to be one of this summer’s best seats. And finally, finally – an actual full-service, large bar outside! No more wandering in and out for drinks or having to sit and dine if you’re just looking to enjoy a beer or cocktail.
Those beers are mainly New England-focused, though there are, of course, some D.C. brews represented. A full wines by the glass list includes four different rosés (cheers, fellow basics!), and cocktails include a dynamite Fish House rum punch.
But for real, the seafood here is dope. In an era where everyone is focusing on local, sustainable sourcing, Chef Bailey (an alum of Birch & Barley and Sixth Engine) has taken the next logical step: he’s now working with Annapolis’s Old Line Fish Co. through Dock to Dish, the equivalent of a CSA for seafood. It’s aim is to connect small-scale fishermen to regional communities and local chefs in sustainable seafood sourcing co-ops. The Salt Line will receive a weekly delivery of Chesapeake Bay fish, turning what’s being caught by locals into what’s being served to locals.
Tops so far: literally all of the raw bar. In addition to the pristine oysters mentioned above, The Salt Line’s peeled cocktail shrimp (the size of mini lobsters), potted lobster salad, and (seriously) seafood charcuterie (!) are outstanding. My favorite bite, in fact, was the swordadella, a clever riff on mortadella made with ground swordfish, pistachios, and lemon zest. Feeling baller? Fear not: The Salt Line has two enormous seafood towers, the Kraken and the Leviathan.
Once you’ve grazed, the dinner menu offers more substantial bites from the sea, including New England classic like lobster rolls, chowder, and clam bellies, and more cheffy creations like crispy rockfish or a Nashville hot-chicken-inspired softshell crab.
Listen, this place is gorgeous. It’s on the water. It’s right next to Nats Park. And it’s putting out some of the best, and best-sourced, seafood in DC. This is your new summer go-to.