Initially we were passing through Beaufort on our way from Atlantic Beach to get home as we'd decided to head over to the NC Maritime Museum. We happened to get there about lunchtime and Old Salt was convenient so we decided to pop in. The exterior gave the impression of a little bistro by the sea that we'd probably get a couple of good sandwiches and be on our way.
First of all; to the people who gave a review that the decor was "dingy and old" they obviously have no sense of atmosphere. The entire place is designed to look and feel like an old fish house with distressed wood, floors and mirrors. The ambiance was perfect and I loved that they used old crab pots as candelabra cages. The brown paper tablecloths also came with crayons so my wife, daughter and I were able to entertain ourselves while waiting for our meal and create a fun memory/souvenir of our visit.
Our server was polite and fun and the owner was a gracious host, passing by each table to make sure everyone was taken care of. They made casual conversation and elevated the experience for us.
NOW, let's get to the food.
The Old Salt fries are described as having been rested in a brine solution for 24 hours before being cooked. Now, I'll admit that it didn't sound appetizing at all when it was described but I still was interested in tasting it. Holy smokes! What a great flavor! Their homemade ketchup was the perfect compliment to the delicious shoestring fries. They were not salty, they were flavorful and properly seasoned!
My wife had a grilled chicken sandwich with Old Salt Fries, my daughter had a chicken fingers basket and I enjoyed a fish basket (both with fries).
My wife HATES flounder... however, after giving her a bite of the flounder from my basket she responded with big eyes "OH WOW! That's really good!" so her faith in flounder has been restored!
The breading was perfect, it slid off a bit as I cut each bite with my fork but that's normal; the seasoning of the breading and the cook of the fish could not be more perfect. They have a house made Old Salt Sauce which is a twist on tartar sauce (I imagine) the Old Salt Sauce pairs up perfectly with the seasoning on the fish and the grilled chicken.
Another thing that impressed me was my daughter's chicken basket. I have a finicky 3 year old who loves chicken but is really picky about how it's cooked. Usually she'll eat half of one piece and we'll take the rest home. At Old Salt she devoured the first and went on to the second while we were still in the restaurant! Children's meals are often overlooked and are frequently pre-prepared food that's frozen, tossed in a fryer and then handed out to the kid; Old Salt clearly realizes that this is a poor way to treat kids as these chicken tenders were flavorful and juicy.
My wife's grilled chicken sandwich was sublime, the seasoning paired perfectly with the Old Salt sauce but was also excellent on its own. Everything worked in harmony and she's agreed that it's probably the best grilled chicken sandwich that she's ever had.
The food, the ambiance, the community and the people all combine to make Old Salt a MUST VISIT place for any time our vacation brings us within the vicinity of Beafort. It's worth the drive from anywhere in the area to enjoy great food and great memories.
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