Our early Saturday evening table was ready for our party of four upon our arrival. The service staff were all quite pleasant and attentive without being overbearing. Once you pass the fish market, cafe, and bar area at the front of BlackSalt, a nicely appointed dining room awaits featuring tables and booths. The tables are close to one another, which offers both a chance to meet your neighbor as well as eyeball their dining choices. If you want privacy, request a booth.
BlackSalt offers a wide variety of libations, from standard cocktails to an interesting mix of specialties (http://www.blacksaltrestaurant.com/bar-menu/specialty-cocktails/). Our favorite was the Congress Avenue, a blend of Tito’s Vodka, Lemon, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, and Absinthe). We'll definitely try a Suzy Q for our next visit.
We opted for a tapas-like meal of various appetizers this evening and were very happy with our choices. Lighty battered, crispy, and full flavored Fried Ipswich Clams were accompanied by a Madras Curry Aioli ($15). House-made Fennel Sausage, Spicy Marinara, and Parmesan cheese smothered the Wood Grilled Baby Octopus ($12). Plump Atlantic Day Boat Scallops were nicely balanced with English Peas, Romesco, and Charred Spring Onion Vinaigrette ($16). There's a reason BlackSalt lends its name to the Oysters Rockefeller - they were the best I've ever had - with a perfect topping of Bacon, Spinach, and Chive Aioli ($9). The winner among winners this evening was definitely the Pacific Butterfish nestled among Maine Lobster and Mango Gastrique ($16) - perfection on a plate!
Dessert was BlackSalt's Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Cake featuring a creamy, near cheesecake texture, beautifully presented with Caramelized Bananas, Chocolate Curl, and Peanut Brittle ($11). A three-scoop sampler of House-Made Sorbet ($8) was an ideal closer for our evening.
While this was a pricey meal, the quality of the ingredients, preparation, and presentation stood up to the cost. If you're on a budget, I suggest BlackSalt's happy hour menu, where you can find a less elegant, smaller selection of equal quality for less than half the price. For example, we tried the boutique oysters at our dining room table. There are many varieties to choose. We had the Old Black Salts and they were tasty. At $2.25 per oyster, we could get the same for $1 each if we sat 20-feet away in the cafe area.
Our mile-wide, inch deep dive into the BlackSalt menu was a great experience. Based on our view of the entree choices at neighboring tables, there is much more to explore at BlackSalt. We'll be back for an inch-wide, mile deep plunge next time!
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