We went to Salts for the first time since it changed hands from its previous owners, and though the food was quite good, the entire experience was uneven. We were fortunate to go with friends who are regulars, so we were whisked right in when we showed up for our 8:30 reservation. After being seated for a barely a minute, one of the wait staff came by, asked if we needed to see menus (duh!), but then quickly brought them to the table.
I wasn't sure if anyone would share the duck with me, so I came up with an alternate entree selection--monkfish wrapped in bacon. My hopes were dashed when the waiter informed us that they were out of both the duck and the monkfish. She also informed us that the mache and pear salad was running low, but that she could reserve it if anyone wanted it (we did!). After re-consulting the menu I decided to have the ballotine of chicken, and my husband decided on the tenderloin; but when the waiter came to take our order, she informed us that there was one duck left, so we sprang for it.
We ordered a bottle of wine -- their wine list is ridiculously expensive. We didn't look at the whites, but there was only one red under $40 (it was $35). We ended up with a Cotes de Rhone for $45 -- it was good, but I'd hate to know what the markup was.) And then we waited. . . and waited. In fairness to the restaurant, the bread person came around frequently and replenished our rolls several times. The chef also sent out a complimentary sample of a lovely soup. The pear and mache salad was excellent, and our companions enjoyed their rabbit agnolotti.
Finally the entrees arrived, all at the same time, which was a bit awkward because the waiter needed some space to carve the duck, so our companions' plates had to sit while she divvied up the duck. We enjoyed the duck, but I didn't think it was extraordinary, and I especially didn't like the large chunks of liver in the stuffing (unfortunately for me, a liver hater, I got them all; my husband didn't get any.) No complaints about the amount--we brought home a sizable portion! On the other hand, our companions' entrees--lamb and striped bass--seemed quite small.
The desserts were exceptional, however; we got two orders of the warm chocolate cake, which was served with an amazing cardamom ice cream and a "frappe," which didn't have much taste, or perhaps was just overpowered by the ice cream. The house comped us another dessert - a banana tart--pastry topped with a panna cotta-ish layer and covered with sliced bananas served with a caramel ice cream flavored with fleur de sel - wonderful!
In addition to the two comped treats, the owner/hostess apologized several times for the lengthy wait--I'm not sure how we would have been treated had we gone without our friends. I guess my advice would be not to go on a Saturday night. Although they try their best to be gracious, the restaurant seems not to be able to handle the heavy volume smoothly.
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