Saltyard, a new tapas restaurant from Nick Leahy opened recently. The menu is divided into sections – bar snacks, raw/ cured, charcuterie, bruschettas, biggie smalls (entrees), veggies/ salads, hot smalls and desserts. It sounds daunting but it isn’t at all. There are a good variety of things covered here. However, there are so many appealing dishes, you may have to make two trips to taste everything you’d like.
The specialty cocktail list is short, yet creative. A Step in the Right Direction (gin, cucumber, st. germain, mint and lime) is refreshing and delightful as is the Short Commute (vodka, cranberry, ginger and lime). While there are many wines by the bottle, it seems there aren’t too many reds by the glass. Better to go and share a bottle.
We skipped the bar snacks and went straight into the raw/cured and charcuterie. Our server, Maggie, recommended the special Brussels sprout appetizer, which she said got chef his job. It was the leaves of the sprouts oven roasted with bacon and honey on top for a touch of sweetness. Kind of reminds of kale chips that have become so popular. While the charcuterie was unique and I loved that they paired each meat or cheese with something else (ie prosciutto with melon), I didn’t think it topped many of the other dishes we had.
We also tried the Steak tartare (pictured below right) and the ceviche of the day. These two dishes were highlights of the meal. The cylindrical portions of steak were topped on one side by quail egg and the other by anchovy. The ceviche of the day, a snapper was tasty and plentiful, not at all skimpy on the portion and a deal for only $8.
We also skipped over bruschettas and biggie smalls in favor of the veggies and small plates. As far as the veggies – the Beet Carpaccio (pictured above left) was the tastiest and most unique. The green apple, fennel and curry vinaigrette play off each other well and it is a great alternative to the goat cheese / beet salad you see on every other restaurant menu. Another hit was the roasted cauliflower. It was one of those dishes that was done so well, you almost don’t care if you have meat or not. Almost.
After reading the menu online, I had my heart set on the octopus. Grilled with potatoes, red onion and cilantro. What’s not to love, right? Unfortunately the octopus was bland and not very appealing at all. However, the shrooms on toast more than made up for this. The shrooms are served over sausage on bread in a brandy cream sauce.
For dessert, our server steered us in the right direction, recommending the polenta cake with meyer lemon and the ricotta zeppolis. Zeppolis come with a trio of sauces – caramel and berry were quite popular at our table. Are you ready for the total? Not including drinks our check was just shy of $100. For all we ate, I think that is a steal. Get your butt over to Saltyard ASAP!