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Pleasantly surprised with Salt House

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Almost skipped out on Salt House tonight based on the negative postings found on Chowhound and elsewhere. We expected the worst and were nicely pleased with great food and good service.

For our dinner, we shared 3 appetizers, 1 main, and 1 dessert.

Appetizers:

Salt Cod Brandade. A generous mixture of hearty Salt Cod and Potato mixture dotted with half slices of Kalamata type olives. Flanked by about a half dozen pieces of toasted baguette slices. Would definitely order this again.

Pork Belly. A 4"x 1" slice of tender Pork served with a side salad of Escarole or Curly Endive dressed with a mustard vinaigrette and lentils. The salad also came topped with a medium fried egg and a few homemade croutons. Nice combination.

Crispy Shrimp. 4 perfectly battered juicy shrimp accompanied a green bean melange draped with prosciutto. A spicy almost pimento like sauce dominated the beans. Not sure if we would order this again, but a very interesting flavor. The shrimp were excellent.

Main course:

Monkfish. A seared piece of Monkfish plated with some sauteed greens (spinach maybe) and Jerusalem artichokes. There was a nice reduction on the plate as well. Very decadent, rich taste.

Dessert:

Pineapple Upside Down Cake with Creme Anglaise. A slight disappointment as the cake texture was a bit mushy for our liking. Presentation was in a small individual black tureen which was unique, but didn't work all that well.

Service:

Very efficient. The plates were spaced apart just right, and the waiter and other helpers were never far. The ambiance was mostly a young and hip 20-30 something crowd. The decor stylish but warm.

Perhaps the restaurant has matured and is now on track, or we just caught it on a rare good night. Nonetheless, we enjoyed our experience and would recommend you give it a try.

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  1. A friend and I tried Salt House for dinner recently. We had a 6 pm reservation, and when we walked in the bar was 3 people deep with young professionals. Fortunately, we were shown to our table right away, which was in the back far from the bar, so we could actually carry on a conversation.

    The appetizers appealed to us the most, so we shared 3 appetizers and one main course. We liked all the dishes we ordered.

    Yellowfin Tuna Tartare (roasted beets, apples, hazelnuts) - a reasonably sized portion, very fresh tasting, the apples especially complemented the tuna nicely, vinaigrette (or maybe just oil?) was very light

    Baked Oysters (bacon, leeks, spinach) - 4 oysters, surprisingly not too rich, quite tasty, not nearly as filling as I expected

    Merguez (lamb sausage, chickpeas, charmoula) - decent portion, sausage was fairly spicy, which I liked, sauce tasted like curry, which I imagine was the cumin coming through, overall very tasty

    Muscovy Duck Leg Confit (rhubarb, english peas) - I actually didn't notice the rhubarb but I guess it was in the sauce - duck and peas were flavorful

    Portions were not huge (although some dishes I saw on other tables were larger), so we had plenty of room for dessert. We opted to share the 3 cheeses that were available: gorgonzola, morbier, and a very pungent goat cheese. Cheeses were served with thin toast slices (almost too thin because they tended to break), a few fruity condiments (kumquat and maybe something else), and more hazelnuts. All cheeses were fairly strong in flavor, which was fine with us (the waiter did warn us). The nuts were especially nice with the cheese.

    I thought the wine list was kind of pricey, with few bottles under $40. However, they offer carafes of their "house" blends, 2 reds and 1 white, which are quite a bargain: $6 for 6 oz, $12 for 12 oz, $24 for 24 oz. We tried the white and one of the reds (the cabernet sauvignon blend) and liked them both.

    Service was fairly good. Our waiter gave us good recommendations and descriptions of the food, our water was refilled often (and I tend to drink a lot of water), food generally arrived promptly, although the cheese took a while to be served. I would definitely return.