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Jul 1, 2011 08:27 PM

Salt on Waialae?

Has anyone tried "SALT" the new tapas bar type place at the top of Waialae, recently opened by Chef Hanney from 12th Av Grill? Good reviews on another popular site, but I'm more confident when I hear what chowhounds have to say.

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  1. a friend of mine went, here is his response when I asked him how he enjoyed it:

    Food is good to great. Service was passable. Guy was overwhelmed I think. He forgot 1 dish but charged us for it.

    Also when I asked where the bun for the burger was from he said..."That's a great question" and walked away.

    1 Reply
    1. re: KaimukiMan

      Thanks KMan...will have to give it a try. Hopefully will be easier for a new venue to improve on service when the food is already good than the other way 'round.

    2. Hi, I ate there and thought it was great. The tapas were innovative and unlike those normally seen here in Hawaii. I'm sick of Asian Fusion and this wasn't the same old, same old. I was impressed with them using ingredients that I haven't ever heard of before and from different areas of the world, inclusing locally. I admit that the waiter did seem overwhelmed and the busboy forgot to get us our water, but the waiter was very nice and apologetic. They were slammed that night and so I think that probably explained the lapse in service.
      Definitely try the Arancini, grilled small peppers (can't remember the name-simple, yet delicious), and the Ahi stuffed pepper. I also heard that they are using a local pork supplier that is organic with the Charcuterie supposedly amazing.
      I'm looking forward to going back. It is actually pretty reasonable when you think of other places that sell lesser quality, unimaginative dishes. Also, it's fun sharing the tapas with others and speaking of the unusual combinations.

      6 Replies
      1. re: gourmandgal

        went last night with my lady and afterwards we were both pretty stoked on this place, most things we had were great. place was jammin' at 8:30 on a thursday, we got lucky and they had 1 deuce open for us upstairs.... she had a cocktail that was delicious - their mexican martini, ...margarita-ish, but had some elderberry liquor that changed it up quite subtly, nice stuffs. 9 bucks maybe a bit steep, but house cocktails tend to be 'round here. was feeling low-brow, so got the brown bag beer special - this one was a pint of red stripe in a can, sometimes its a tallboy of 5 bucks its also a bit steep, though i wouldnt blink twice if it were 4 bucks. also had sierra nevada and sam adams on tap for 6 bucks. we got:
        *the beet, chevre, pistacio, arugula salad. i think this was 11 bucks? i was hesitant to order bc this flavor profile is pretty passe, wasnt too excited but i gotta keep the lady satisfied....however, it was a very refreshing dish, beautifully presented on a long skinny plate...3 different beet types (old school red, golden, chiogga) perfectly roasted, wonderfully sweet, lightly dressed. each group of beets sat on a smooth dollop of thinned-out chevre with some roasted pistacios separated by some lightly dressed arugula. enjoyed this quite a bit.
        *the fried egg - this is the only one i wouldnt order again. wasnt bad at all, just wasnt great. panko crusted whole egg....yolk still nice and runny inside. served with an aoili on top of some lightly dressed frisee with grilled bread. $5
        * got the special...grilled quail, medium rare, served on a warm frisee/fingerling salad with a foie gras mustard vinaigrette and house cured bacon lardon...presumably using the fat released from the foie in combo with some olive oil to make the dressing. at $15, maybe also a touch steep, but DAMN this was good. the combo bite with all the elements was seriously, just, perfect. i would have preferred the quail cooked another minute or two, some of the meat didnt come off the bone as well as i'd prefer....waiter agreed.
        *ceviche (kajiki) with kahuku corn creme fresh and dill. served with some ancho (?) dusted crackers...sort of fried wonton-esque crackers. this was fantastic, nicely balanced, refreshing. great only gripe is maybe that besides texture, i'm not sure that the kajiki brought much to the table...a bit overshadowed by the dressing, even though the dressing was quite light. would still totally order this again...think this was 7-8 bucks? nice sized portion
        *dessert was AWESOME: chevre cheesecake with caramel corn. i've seen candied popcorn used as a dessert, but not sure i've seen it used as it was here - intended to be the inverted crust of the pie. the cheesecake was served in a squared bowl, on the creamier side of cheesecake but still had some texture, not too sweet, and just some subtle sourness from the chevre. a big ol' handful of the crunchy carmel corn was on top, and the combo bites of corn and cheesecake were a major winner - they knocked it out on that one. good stuffs. 7 bucks.

        pretty excited to go back and try a bunch of other stuff, especially the house charceuterie and their burgers (we need better burgers in this town!!!!!)...

        the peppers gourmandgal referred to are japanese shishito peppers, very delicious when simply prepped. and the smoked ahi salad stuffed - piquillo peppers are supposed to be tasty, looking forward to trying that one.

        additionally, the service was great last night...maybe they hit their groove...waiter knew what was up, was on top of things, food and drinks were served efficiently...FYI
        excited about this place.........

        1. re: fatstern

          I'm so glad that you enjoyed yourself. The taste combinations are much different from the usual restaurants here in town.
          I can't wait to return there and try the quail and cheesecake that you spoke of. Thanks for the lead as to my next order. The service sounds like they are shaping up which is great b/c it really adds or detracts from the dining experience.

          1. re: fatstern

            I went Friday evening, but alone, and at 5 pm when they opened. Very pleasant ambiance with classic soul playing. Sat at the bar and had a very nice white wine, the pork stuffed calamari, and arugula salad with anchovies... very tasty, and good bar service. Wasn't overly hungry, but that combination was just right. Bill came to $28...not cheap, but good value. The burgers/sandwiches I saw others order would be better choices if you are really hungry. Will definitely go back, but with more company to try more different things.

            1. re: fatstern

              Thanks for the detail. Why not copy and paste this and turn it into a review?

              1. re: scottca075

                Went back Monday nite with 4 friends. We went early to be sure to get a table, as they don’t take reservations, don’t have a lot of tables, and have gotten very popular. We got there at 5 and had wine and talked for about an hour before ordering tapas which we shared. We had:
                A small dish of warmed olives…mainly very small nicoise and gaetas, I think…quite tasty.
                A dish of fingerling potatoes, halved and lightly grilled, with an aioli…not exciting, but good for sopping up some of the sauces in the other plates, and more filling than most of the other small plates.
                A plate of the house charcuterie…4 or 5 small portions of various things like salami, chicken liver pate, coppa , fried head cheese, and some kind of terrine. Not my favorite choice, but what I tried was good. Came with some pickled vegetables and slices of crusty bread.
                A plate with 3 small arancini deep fried balls of risotto stuffed with cheese…they look like little oranges, hence the name…yummy.
                A calamari stuffed with Shinsato pork…sort of a spicy sausage flavor, and delicious…sliced into rounds…same thing I had there before and just as good.
                A plate of 4 small meatballs in a yummy sauce, probably tomato base, but thick and rich…the hit of the night.

                We also shared two desserts:
                A small flan…quite tasty…just one bite when split 5 ways
                A French toast with strawberries…a larger portion, again very good.

                I had a very dry and pleasant rose which I liked very much.

                The bill came to $160, but half of that was wine, so the food portion was only $16 each. Not a lot to eat if you were very hungry, but very pleasant to sample lots of small plates and share them with good conversation among friends.

                Service was very good...server knowledgeable and efficient...some in our party knew her because she had previously worked at Town. We had the upstairs to ourselves for a while, but by the time we left it was full. A nice evening, good food, wine and ambiance.

                1. re: macaraca

                  Nadine Kam did a thorough and very positive review in today's newspaper: