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In May a visiting friend joined us for happy hour, dubbed Sunset Sessions, at Salt Wood Kitchen & Oysterette in Marina's Sanctuary Beach Resort.
The three of us settled into comfortable overstuffed seating around a low table in front of the fireplace. The interior's striking. To cut to the chase, the setting outshines the food and service.
Chips and dip, $3, served up leek cream with herbs as a play on onion dip. Instead of the truffled potato chips listed on the menu, this came with thick sweet potato ships as an unannounced substitute.
Fava bean hummus, $3, was downright weird. Watery, sweet, unsalted, grainy hummus, then the fried pita chips were tough, stale and tasted musty. Our server removed this item from our bill.
Rockfish slider, $5, was one of the better items, if seriously oxersauced. The thickish batter was light and crisp despite being over applied and the fish was fresh and barely cooked. The housemade potato chips lacked crunch.
Sweet potato poutine, $5, was enjoyable despite the misnomer. This had no gravy nor cheese curds, which are two of the three elements in poutine. Decent sweet potato fries came with a chorizo-spiked queso-like cheddary cheese dip, a dusting of grated cheese and some cilantro, slivers of onion and fresh jalapeño. This was the most successful dish we tried.
Shrimp cocktail, $7, pulled in Bloody Mary flavors in the spicy sauce and garnish of celery leaves. The "poached" shrimp were still translucent and uncooked, sliced in half and reassembled in a stack.
Since "Oysterette" is part of this establishment's name and this is an oyster bar, I thought oysters might be a safe order.
Baron Point oysters with Bernaise, $4.25 apiece, were plump and juicy, grilled lightly and napped with rich sauce. Not bad.
Blue Point oysters, raw, $3.25 apiece, were the worst shucking job I've ever seen. Stabbed through the mangled bodies and leaking milky fluid, these should never have reached the table. I regret not asking our server to remove these from the bill as well.
We tried nearly the entire happy hour food menu. While some dishes might good, they did not deliver on taste. I wondered if anyone in the kitchen had tasted them. Before visiting, my friends who've been here a few times warned of inconsistencies and those were borne out.
Salt Wood Kitchen & Oysterette
3295 Dunes Drive
Marina, CA 93933
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