If you’re like me, then BlackSalt is one of those places that you’ve heard of, you’ve been told it’s good, but you just haven’t gotten around to visiting yet. After all, it’s been open and excellent for eight years (and on Washingtonian‘s list for four) – where’s the urgency to dine now?
Fortunately for me, this past Wednesday night, my little mission provided the push I needed to finally visit. And I found BlackSalt to be exactly what I expected – high-quality yet unassuming, seemingly happy to continue being quietly wonderful in its nook in the Palisades.
To begin, my husband ordered the clam chowder ($14), a rich stew with house smoked bacon and ipswich and littleneck clams, freshly steamed still in their shells. He paired the dish with an Allagash White draft.
For my starter, I chose the bay spiced peel and eat shrimp ($12). The shrimp were large and dense, and perfectly spiced with what seemed to be the restaurant’s own interpretation of Old Bay. Looking for something light and fruity, I also ordered a Suzy Q cocktail ($12), which was made of Stoli peach vodka, sparkling wine, peach purée and cassis.
For his main course, my husband ordered the atlantic bigeye tuna ($29), which was served medium-rare and accompanied by caramelized pork belly, pickled carrot salad and squash in a ginger-soy broth. I’m not a huge tuna fan, and even I thought that was incredible, the sweetness of the pork belly pairing beautifully with the saltiness of the rest of the ingredients.
The restaurant was very kind in accommodating my desire to turn one of their daily special appetizers into an entree, doubling the portion on the Virginia sea bass ($32). Served with polenta, roasted tomatoes, and crispy spinach, the dish was a really nice combination of light, flaky fish with heartier accompaniments.
By the time that dessert came, we were fairly stuffed, so we opted to share the butterscotch pot de crème ($11). The main part of the dish featured butterscotch pudding topped with chocolate and Dewars vanilla milkshake, and it was served with two butter shortbread cookies. We weren’t big fans of the pudding part, finding it overpowered by the alcohol in the milkshake, but the shortbread cookies were really extraordinary – basically just flour and sugar lightly laced together with butter. Yum.
Overall, BlackSalt is definitely worth a visit, if only to confirm what you probably already suspect – that the restaurant is serving quality, dependably-tasty food and not being overly flashy about it. We did, and it was a delicious experience.