Review for Whaley's: DC's Best New Restaurant
Whaley's is the best new restaurant in Washington, DC and it's the perfect addition to Navy Yard. In fact, foodies from all over have a new place to add to their best lists.
I love DGS Delicatessen so you can imagine my excitement when I heard Nick and Dave Wiseman (the brains behind DGS) decided to open a seafood restaurant right here in Navy Yard. (DGS has the best brunch deal in DC where you can get bottomless beverages and a meal for $27.) Originally slated to become the Navy Yard Oyster Company from the Beuchert's folks, plans fell through and the Wiseman cousins saw an opportunity and I'm so glad they did.
A Brief History of Lumber Shed Dining
In 2013, the Lumber Shed opened for business with Osteria Morini and Agua 301 as its first restaurant tenets. Osteria Morini pioneered the way for good food on the waterfront and has been the reigning champ ever since. This Italian sensation put Navy Yard on the food map as they've maintained top 100 status in the Washingtonian and are a regular on Washington Post's Tom Sietsema's lists as well. Since then, the Lumber Shed has added Ice Cream Jubilee and Due South -- and now Whaley's.
Nearby residents owe a special thanks to Osteria Morini's Michael White and David Adler for bringing an elevated dining experience to a fledgling neighborhood. Always innovative and reliably consistent on quality, Osteria Morini has been a great go-to neighborhood restaurant for special occasions, craft cocktails, nice wine and tasty pasta. For the first time since 2013, there's finally a new kid on the block that can hold a candle to Osteria Morini. Welcome to Navy Yard, Whaley's!
Fresh, Sustainable Seafood that Tastes Good
I loved absolutely everything about my visit to Whaley's. With floor to ceiling windows, the restaurant is bright and welcoming. After days of rain, it was refreshing to take in the setting sun over the Anacostia River while eating quality seafood and drinking sparkling wine. Our server Chris went above and beyond to accommodate our table's unique dietary needs. He knew the menu back to front. I am not exaggerating when I say, he was everything you could ask for in a server as he was responsive to our requests, questions and general silliness. Our dinner was an incredible experience thanks to Chris.
We went with a group of four so the seafood tower for 3-4 was an obvious choice. Chef Daniel Perron's tower selections change daily but ours included mussels, oysters, shrimp, lobsters, octopus, clams, uni, kobia, and blue fish. The raw seafood paired well with the Lucien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose ($46/bottle). The day boat scallops were almost dessert-like with the muscat grapes. The clams casino featured Cape Cod clams with chorizo and tiny croutons that gave it a perfect crunch. We also shared the three crispy squash blossoms with shrimp. The seafood risotto with vadouvan was like an Indian paella with generous portions of seafood and a comforting curry flavor.
For dessert, we tried the strawberries and cream along with the ice cream. The seafood meal was so good it was hard for dessert to compare, but that doesn't mean we left a single crumb behind. We were lucky enough to shake Nick Wiseman's hand at the end of the meal and thank him for such a wonderful experience. A humble guy, Nick is clearly enthusiastic about Whaley's.
Gluten-free folks will love Whaley's where the May menu has tons of options. Ask your servers, but we enjoyed the oysters, shrimp, calms, lobster, day boat scallops and they have salad options too!
Cheers to Good Drinks at Whaley's
Brian Zipin nails the drink list with four cocktails, eight beers and about three dozen wines. Two of us started with the "#2", which featured Sparkling Cremant Rose, St. Germaine, Cana Brava Rum and Grapefruit. Like an effervescent sangria, the #2 was well-balanced without being too sweet. Continuing on my bitters kick, I tried the "#4" with Paul Beau Cognac, Angosturra Bittters, and Mexican Fernet. Spicy and even-keeled, I was satisfied, but truthfully, I was jealous of my friends who had bubbles, so next time, I would probably stick with that through and through.
The Battle of the Barges & Commodore Whaley
Cousins Nick and Dave Wiseman decided to name their new waterfront restaurant Whaley's to commemorate Commodore Zedekiah Whaley. Commodore Zedekiah Whaley fought against loyalist pirates in the Battle of Barges during the American Revolution. In 1782, the Commodore died during this epic battle that took 25 lives.
Next Visit To-Do List
I really want to see conscientious businesses like Whaley's succeed in Navy Yard. When I go back, I plan to try the razor clams and the soft shell crabs. I can't wait for the patio to open and look forward to brunch too.
In just over one year of living in this area, almost a half of a dozen places have opened but Whaley's is my favorite.