For Seafood Entrepreneur Greg Casten, the Point is ‘The Point’
By July 22, 2021 One Comment 309•
Dynamic entrepreneur Greg Casten helms the sustainable seafood company Profish and a bevy of establishments featuring its produce, including Tony & Joe’s and Nick’s Riverside in Washington Harbour. But what he’s eager to talk about is his latest success, The Point.
Located at 2100 2nd St. SW, this massive restaurant on Buzzard Point’s newly developed waterfront “is a really special spot,” Casten exults, with its unique nautical “vibe.” A soaring interior and huge outdoor patios with panoramic vistas are backed by a state-of-the-art kitchen with a wood grill and “all the toys” his talented executive chef Benjamin Lambert (an alumnus of 2941 and Nora’s, as well as top NYC restaurants) could want. Chef Lambert makes good use of Profish bounty, but the kitchen also turns out interesting plates focused on duck, steak and locally sourced produce as well as burgers and wings.
Casten’s 40 years in the fish and food industry began as a teenager, working part-time on a lobster boat. He flipped burgers and set up food operations at concerts, resorts and fairs in New England during his college years. Accounting school provided the grounding for an entrepreneurial style that blends business systems and culinary creativity.
Years of work in family seafood restaurant businesses in Boston and Washington, D.C., taught him a lot about how to source and serve fresh fish. “It’s all about relationships,” he explains. When he and a partner started Profish in 1988, he would “meet sea captains” at the dock and drive to airports to pick up freshly caught lobsters. Among the lessons he teaches: When in doubt about the freshness of a product, “make the phone call.” Nowadays, he says, the “first receiver [of fish or seafood] must have all the information about the catch.” Finding out which boat will have the “wild catch” is key.
Casten’s concern about quality and value translates to his restaurant operations. At The Point, Chef Lambert has developed a menu that features dishes people “want to eat every day.” His wood-grilled crab cakes, fried fish and burgers are the best sellers. And some 700 pounds of potatoes are peeled, cut and fried each week. Dishes involving meat, seafood and vegetables have a “balance of flavor” — such as grilled oysters with blue crab miso butter and anchovy breadcrumbs, and duck with charred cabbage, mushrooms and local jam. House-baked bagel chips and cornbread are also featured.
Feedback from Casten often comes via a marked-up menu, Lambert says. “He wants to be sure we offer good value.” He “looks at the size of portions.” He also scrutinizes the dishes themselves. He took particular pains with the chowder, according to Lambert. Casten wanted it to be “thicker” and to have a remembered New England flavor. The crab donuts — a house specialty — underwent a recent collaborative upgrade to keep them hot and to be sure that every bite had a bit of crab in it.
What’s next at The Point? Possibly a boat traveling back and forth from Washington Harbour so that diners can enjoy several Casten venues in one night. There’s always a new challenge on his horizon.