Sala Restaurant, Hercules
Redevelopment has done amazing things for Hercules and it's fun to see the new restaurants popping up. The waiter said they've been open for about 7 months in their current location in the Historic Civic Arts Building, but recently made some changes either to the menu or the location... Wasn't paying that much attention, but they have a gorgeous deck with heated tables overlooking the Bay which may be new.
Cocktails (of course): Sala has a full bar with an interesting list of speciality cocktails (ex: Siam Sunray - Hanger One kaffir lime vodka, Coruba coconut rum, lime juice, chili, kaffir) as well as a list of several different types of mojitos and martinis. Friend had a passion fruit mojito and I asked for a classic with a bit of cucumber muddled in. Mine was light and fresh and friend's was dangerously delicious. I could easily put quite a few of those away while sitting on that patio on a sunny day. They also offer a handful of beers and sakes.
Appetizers: Started with an appetizer platter of fried calamari, pot stickers, and fried tofu. It was a ton of food and the calamari was good, but the other two were not bad, but not special.
Entrees: I tried looking at their menu online to get the exact names of the dishes we ordered, but I guess they were off the specials menu. The first dish ordered was a gai yang-style chicken which was nicely grilled and juicy. The second dish ordered was my favorite - roasted baby back ribs. No point in trying to cut them, fall off the bone, porky goodness with delicious roasty, caramely bits. Really good. Both entrees were also accompanied with rice (jasmine and a basmati pilaf) and veggies.
Awesome service and is at the top of my list of new additions to the area in the past three years.
1991 Railroad Avenue
Hercules, CA 94547
Tel. (510) 724-4044
I no longer recommend the ribs, at all. The last visit they were dry to the point that the ends were hard and mealy, the ribs were covered in an exceptionally sweet basil sauce, and the dish no longer came with the nice basmati pilaf and vegetables. I can cut carrots and zucchini into quarters and sautee them at home. Three ribs, a pile of zucchini and carrots, and a cup on steamed rice is not worth $22.
I will, however, continue to come here as it is the best option in the area and their cocktails and papaya salad are quite good.