December 7, 2010

Quick, First-Bite Review: Salt of the Earth

The long-awaited and much-hyped Salt of the Earth -- well, long-awaited and much-hyped in certain circles of food-obsessed freaks like myself -- opened several months back. Since its opening, Salt has received some exceedingly glowing reviews from the official food media, and on the various nonofficial outlets, it's also been described (mostly) with adjectives that suggest the people really liked it.

Salt of the Earth on Urbanspoon

I (joined by my wife and several other friends) finally managed to make it there on Saturday. And I have to say that it lived up to its billing. Everything I had, from the cocktails to the food, was excellent. I won't go into too much detail, but it included:

Drinks: My vodka cocktail (Boyd & Blair), and the sip or two of my friend's gin cocktail (Bluecoat) were really good, but I think the gin was better. Then there was the beer "cocktail," which blew away me and the two others in our group who also got it. Never has a chocolate stout been used in such genius fashion

Appetizers: Octopus (me) and salt cod (wife), both of which were delicious, the perfect size, and perfectly prepared. The octopus was ridiculously tender. Man was I glad it was still on the  menu.

Entrees: Duck breast (me) and pork loin (wife), broken record territory, but prepared perfectly, great flavors and textures, and perfect portion sizes.

Dessert: Only two options to choose from, and only one that is sweet, so went with the sweet: little squares of chocolate pudding, a scoop of coconut ice cream topped with some type of foam, a few roasted hazelnuts and this goji berry glaze smeared on the plate. Hit all the right notes. The chocolate and coconut really like each other. A great way to end the meal.

The space is very cool. The massive chalkboard wall with the menu is almost daunting, if not kind of hard to read, depending on your angle. I suspect I could sit at the bar along the open kitchen for 3-4 hours and not get bored in the least, particularly if I had a few of those beer cocktails.

Our group was large enough that we sat at one of the big reservation-only tables upstairs, which are isolated just enough for the group to be able to talk without feeling like we'd been banished to another place entirely.

The service was warm and the food came out at just the right clip.

Overall, a great experience, and I hope to make it back in the not-so-distant future. Well done, Salt of the Earth.

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