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Hundreds of custom LED tubes light up the 27-seat bar.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

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A New Waterfront Grill From the Mi Vida Team Brings South Florida Vibes to the Wharf

The Grill burns charcoal and pecan wood to send out steaks and seafood

Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

A sophisticated new steak and seafood place with a South Florida vibe, a theatrical grill, and an impressive array of martini supplies opens tonight on the Southwest Waterfront. The Grill (99 Market Square SW) comes from chef Roberto Santibañez and KNEAD Hospitality + Design — the same team that runs contemporary Mexican spot Mi Vida nearby.

An open kitchen will attract attention with a Josper Basque Grill, made in Barcelona, that will send out steak, seafood, and vegetable plates cooked over charcoals and pecan wood. Santibañez says the heat gets intense, and he had to get comfortable raising and lowering grates to time out individual dishes.

“It’s a whole dance,” he says.

The grill will send out everything from Ora King salmon, barbecue pork ribs, and grilled cauliflower to naan, charred eggplant escalivada, and pineapple for pineapple upside-down cake that gets drizzled with a ring of caramel.

“You can come and have the black bass and a side salad and it’s a super light and beautiful, fresh meal,” he says. “Or you can go bone-in tomahawk and mac and cheese.”

Bone-in tomahawk for two from Creekstone Farms ($119).
Rey Lopez/Eater DC
Halibut ($38) atop saffron risotto, red wine reduction, and pistachios.
Starters include a three-cheese crab dip, an overflowing bowl of chilled crudites, and “pickles ‘n’ friends” (mushroom medley, shrimp and quail eggs, pickled veggies, salmon rillettes) with grilled naan.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Santibañez is using the Grill to focus on his version of American classics, like mashed potatoes that he sweetens with flecks of roasted apple. Instead of heavy, béchamel-covered oysters Rockefeller, Santibañez is serving one that calls to an old French recipe with lots of tarragon, butter, parsley, and shallots. Seasonal changes will include swapping gazpacho for parsnip soup and snapper for fluke in crudo.

The design also matches the upbeat and as light-as-you-wish menu, drawing inspiration from the KNEAD partners’ time in Miami.

In lieu of thick carpets, there’s a slick ivory floor embedded with colorful stones. Instead of dark mahogany decor, there’s massive gold columns and blush tones throughout. Instead of flickering candles, each table has $200 light fixtures from Belgium that can be adjusted to any color. Outdoor tables will get white waterproof versions.

In addition to the 108-seat space, the restaurant will soon open an 82-seat wraparound patio full of palm-printed lounge seating that faces the water. Massive murals of tropical birds perched on palms overlook diners below. More Miami-style imagery is also splashed across smooth floor-to-ceiling square tiles in its dimmable bathroom.

Sleek wood tables can be pushed together to accommodate large-format groups feasting on its meat plates.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC
The sprawling blush-toned dining room can be carved into two semi-private areas for 40 and 60.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

A list of 100 vodkas and gins help customize martinis. Cocktails on the rocks are stamped with the Grill’s logo.

“We are bringing the martinis back,” partner Michael Reginbogin says.

There’s also a 200-bottle wine selection displayed inside a glass-encased wall. There are 30 by-the-glass selections ($11 to $55). Splurge bottles include a four-figure order of Flying Pig, but most are in the $60 range. Reginbogin says lots of Champagne and roses add to the Miami-style feel.

The 5,400-square-foot Grill plans to take advantage of its proximity to its twice-as-large sister steps away: “We can borrow avocados, limes, and lemons, so it’s perfect,” Reginbogin says.

The polished Mid-century modern look, in partnership with D.C.’s //3877, features plush leather banquettes, neon-lit glass partitions, and dramatic gold-rimmed columns.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

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