Our regular dining companions, Sue Anne and Doug are getting married in a week - finally, I mean "Hooray!" :) and so with that comes bachelor and bachelorette parties. Doug's bachelor party actually happened earlier, but we'll get to that in another post as it has a lot to do with food.

So anyway, Danna, my wife, hosted a cocktail party for Sue Anne and a bunch of her girlfriends at our home before heading out to dinner at Dos Caminos and then out and about on the town.

Being effectively kicked out of the house, I decided to grab a bite to eat with Doug at a place on my list of places to try and, which turned out to be on his as well, Salt.

I got there at 8:15, fifteen minutes before our reservation, and sat at the bar, ordered a glass of prosecco ($10) and soaked in the cozy-but-slightly-rough-around-the-edges room waiting for the groom-to-be.

The room is tight, with a series of communal tables and a few two-tops toward the front and a bar with a half dozen stools. There isn't a true wall behind the bar, instead a large cutout looks directly into the kitchen, which was, even with the dining room at full capacity, relatively calm. That probably has to do with the relatively short menu - 7 appetizers and 8 entrees to choose from. Limited menus can be challenging for the average diner, but Salt's seems to have something for everyone on it.

The two apps that looked most enjoyable were the honey-glazed dates wrapped in bacon ($10), which came six to a serving and a steak tartare and eggplant dish with gorgonzola sauce (all told it was almost caponata-like) ($12). Both were very, very good. $10 for the dates might be a little high, but they were very good.

For entrees, Doug ordered the Newport Steak ($26.50), named not after the city in Rhode Island, nor the beach in California, but after, get this, the favorite brand of cigarette of the late Jack Ubaldi of the Florence Meat Market - and, according to my friend Mona on her regular-reading-worthy foodblog, Mona's Apple, a Newport Steak is cut from the triangle (the bottom sirloin steak), and is roughly the size of a filet mignon. It was very good, with the top part (well seasoned) being especially good.

I ordered the duck breast ($23.50) and, like Doug, chose the tomato salad and artichoke puree as the sides to go with it. The duck was cut into six or seven thick slices and served over the puree and greens and cherry tomatoes. It too was well seasoned - at least on the ends, and satisfied without going into new territory. The cherry tomatoes were good...but I'd have like to have seen one more night of using heirloom tomatoes.

For wine, we went strong this evening, at least by the our standards and by Salt's wine list, a $65 Burgundy of which the name escapes me...but the GM came over after we ordered it and claimed it as his baby. I too thought it was very good. Note about the GM, he will be the new GM at EU...if it ever opens. I wish him luck.

For dessert Doug got the pecan pie with spiced whipped cream ($8) and I got the Creme Brulee ($8) both of which were average. We were also mistakenly given an order of humboldt fog, dried cherries and toasted slices of french bread which was okay too.

Overall this was a very good dining experience - I'd certainly go back again. But what I think I liked the most was the overall Salt empire. The fact that they have a little wine bar (Salt Bar) and a little restaurant with similar themes is great and something (2/3) of what I'd like to have for myself someday in the future.


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