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Salts vs. TW Food

I'm planning on bringing my boyfriend to one of these restaurants to celebrate his final day of class at HBS. These are two restaurants that we have yet to try, and am wondering if you'd recommend one over another.

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  1. Oh man, can't really go wrong with either. I just went to Salts for the first time this past weekend and it was truly spectacular, though honestly I'd say I enjoy the desserts at T.W. Food more, but that is just because they are more my style—a little more intense and heavier. I liked the salads better at T.W. Food but I think the main courses were a little more memorable at Salts. I'd say Salts is probably a bit more of a special occasion place, but I really have a soft spot for T.W. Food so I hate to say anything against it. Sorry if this was not at all helpful, but really, they are both great.

    1. Both are great but I would give a slight preference to TW Food, but it's more what you enjoy.

      Both are modern but rooted in classical French technique but TW Food is more contemporary. I found the food at Salts too rich (heavy heavy handed use of butter/cream/salt) whereas TW Food was slightly more contemporary in it's use of acid, a defter hand with butter etc. This is not to say I don't love butter like the rest of us, but there's a point where it's richness blunts the flavor of things. Salts is heavily influenced by Thomas Keller's cooking (he's even quoted on the menu), and while I've had great meals at his places, this style of food, a bridge between classical French and contemporary French is still classically heavy (which is why it's served in three bite portions at FL or PS). All that is to say, three courses of this style for us was just too much, but that's just my opinion.

      The wine list at Salts is more comprehensive than TW Food, but I found it overpriced and I don't believe there was a single bottle under $50. TW Food has a tiny wine-list, BUT the selections are unique and very well thought out. I've found there tiny, well thought out, and often changing list, to be really fun and a good value.

      Atmosphere is about the same in both and service was fine in both. TW Food strikes me as slightly warmer in terms of service, while Salts is slightly more formal in terms of service.

      Either one is a great pick, enjoy!

      1. Seems to me that TW Food is more conversational, if that makes any sense. When I went to Salts recently, the food was lovely, but the chef's presentations of his food were so formal and pompous-sounding that several people at the table had to struggle not to burst out laughing.

        1. Thanks for the feedback -- now I am even more confused :) One thing I will say is that we tend to gravitate towards traditional French, so even though everyone seems to be recommending TW Food, I wonder if Salts might be better for our personal taste. One thing I will say is that neither of us really enjoyed Bondir -- mostly because we tend to gravitate towards rich foods (butter, cream, etc.) and Bondir does lack that.

          All of this being said, we're headed to Menton later this month for a different occasion, so my goal for this dinner is to be a bit different feel (which is also why I've eliminated Troquet which is also on the to try list.)

          1. Definitely TW Food and it's not even close for me in terms of interesting dishes and though TW Food isn't cheap it's also a much better value to me.

              1. I think Salts feels fancier and more intimate. At TW Food you're elbow to elbow with the people at the table next to you. I think the food is more interesting at TW Food and they put together very fresh and seasonal ingredients in combinations you might not expect. But if you prefer traditional French and it's a special occasion, I'd pick Salts. (Your description and preferences also made me think of Bergamot...)

                1. I'm so confused now :) I'm leaning towards TW based on the feedback (also, in one of the bf's very first classes, his professor mentioned that TW is one of his most favorite restaurants) ... but ... looking at both of the menus online, Salts still seems more appealing to me. Am I the only one who agonizes over these things way more than I should? :)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: liza8402

                    If your gut is telling you to choose Salts, then go with your gut. In my opinion, you can't go wrong by choosing Salts. I love Salts and I would expect you to have a wonderful evening there. The feel of the room is nothing like Menton, and Analia is so sweet and keeps the front of the house running so smoothly.

                    Give her a call, tell her it is a celebratory meal, and ask her about the menu, or even better, ask about the tasting menu! I find the Salts tasting menu to be one of the best in Boston, in part, because it is often very creative and is never simply a sampling of a bunch of entrees from the current menu.

                    TW Food is certainly more of a board favorite, but that doesn't make it my favorite or the best choice for you. Hope you have a wonderful time, congrats to your boyfriend, and please post about your experience!

                    1. re: liza8402

                      no you are not the only one, and def not on THIS site!
                      p.s. the older you get you may also see that you are never 'the only one.'

                    2. Thank you all for your input! It's a coin flip for me... I originally had a reservation at Salts, and haven't changed it yet. I'll let you know what my final decision was and how it was. Thank you again! PS - We usually do tasting menus so happy to hear Salts is great. Thank you!

                      1. I really prefer Salts to TW Food. TW Food is more "precious", but I think the food at Salts is better and also seems more suited to your tastes. It's a little unfair to categorize and compare unique restaurants, which each have their own special aspects, but if I had to, I'd say that Bondir is a better version of TW Food, while Salts is a more expensive version of Bergamot.

                        1. Update: We went with Salts and have to say we both truly enjoyed it. We did the Chef's Tasting and although not ever course was perfect, there were a couple that were just amazing. The ambiance was perfect, and the hostess, I'm forgetting her name, was such a sweetheart! Thanks for your help. Looking forward to trying out TW in the future. Thanks!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: liza8402

                            Glad it worked out! Thanks for reporting back.