Replacing Eleven Restaurant, Saltwood brings an edgier menu to the Midtown hotel.
As far as hotel restaurants go, most play it safe. I get it, they have to cater to so many business travelers, many who just want a burger or some bland chicken dish. That’s why I was surprised and impressed when I took a gander at the menu for Saltwood. Besides locally sourced meats and cheeses on the menu, expect to find Octopus, Pork Belly and offal.
As a foodie, this menu is quite exciting for me, but it is risky to serve such a menu in a hotel restaurant. The meats and cheeses aren’t the only thing that’s local. They’ve also got several local beers available like Orpheus, Wild Heaven and even newcomer, Second Self. I ordered a cocktail, the Saltwood Dog, with gin, pink grapefruit and honey. This could have gone too sweet but the balance of tart and sweetness was perfect. Kudos to Saltwood for not sticking it to guests with low quality, overpriced cocktails, but instead inventive, quality drinks.
Another thing to note is the that the pricing is rather inexpensive, another departure from typical overpriced hotel restaurants. The most expensive dish on the menu is the Grassfed Ribeye ($18). Granted, the idea is sharing and most of the dishes are small plates meant for just this.
Besides seven starters, cheese and charcuterie, the menu includes categories like Bites, Noodles, Healthy and Blood, Guts & Glory (offal). We just picked one item from the starter menu, Finisterre Octopus. Served over Arugula, it makes for a tasty salad. Although it comes with tasty pieces of fried Chorizo, I couldn’t find the pickled beet or candied pistachio the menu promised. Under the bites, the trio of olives, fried chickpeas and pickled grapes (see picture above), were reasonable for just $5 and the pickled grapes were an interesting taste I’d never experienced.
We were given an amuse from the chef of cheese and a couple pieces of charcuterie. Love that it was served on a beautiful Himalayan salt block. We even ordered a couple more pieces of charcuterie, Country Pate and Foie Gras, Spotted Trotter Duck Prosciutto and the Rabbit Terrine (see top image). To my surprise, it was the terrine that was the tastiest of the bunch.
A Red Snapper dish was overcooked, yet not inedible. However, they definitely do meats better than seafood here. The beef tongue (see below), again served over Arugula was mopped up pretty quickly. But we took our time with the Veal Sweetbreads. Fried with an almond crust, and served with scallion and mint jam, this is definitely a winning dish you want to savor.
If there’s any criticism, it is for the service. Our server, while enthusiastic and friendly seemed new to the fine dining scene. She doesn’t drink so couldn’t recommend a wine either. We waited long gaps of time in between courses and had to ask for fresh plates / silverware. Come to think of it the entire staff, with exception of the pleasant manager and chef, seemed really out of place. I think if Saltwood can work on the service, they will be a fantastic addition to the Midtown dining scene.
Disclosure: Our meal at Saltwood was complimentary, but the opinions expressed are my own.