Saturday night’s plans included going to see a show at Mercury Lounge (Team Genius and Xylos) so, I decided we’d get reservations for Salt Bar since it’s close by, has a nice menu that looked good for sharing amongst a group, and it had a unique drink menu which I found intriguing.
When I first go there, they went ahead and seated me even though the other three in my party weren’t there. That was unexpected and appreciated. The server was super attentive and kept trying to take my drink order or bring me food while waiting. However once my friends joined me, it was all but impossible to get her attention. And while yes it was later, it still was not very crowded at the restaurant. It was like she was not social enough to be a server – walking around staring at her feet. It was the most bizarre thing I’d ever seen!
We were surprised to see so early in the evening they were out of many basic things. We ordered the haricot vert, and were told “we’re out of green beans”. Okay. We then asked to order the flatbread with Prosciutto, blue cheese, caramelized onion, fig – but inquired as to whether or not we could substitute another cheese for blue cheese. Restaurants in NYC can be quite particular at times about We couldn’t go with the other flatbread as it had mushrooms and half of our table was allergic. She didn’t mind the request since, as luck would have it, they were also out of blue cheese. Really? Anyhow, we ended up with ricotta instead and I liked it – subtle taste to the saltiness of the prosciutto and the sweeter taste of the fig and onion. It was one of my favorites from the meal.
We had the charcuterie plate, which was yummy. They didn’t serve it with bread or much of anything (save a few apple slices, some dried apricots, and a few raisins) – thankfully we had some leftover bread she’d brought out before or else it would have been awkward to eat it. Sort of like digging into upscale deli meat slices solo. Hmmm no. I was pleased we went with the bacon wrapped dates, which were absolutely amazing. I’d read they were one of the highlights of the menu, and I agree emphatically. The only complaint would be that the portion size is on the smaller side, with only 6 per order.
The tartare of the day was tuna. I’m not a big tartare fan, but I did nibble on it enough to say that it was flavorful and fresh, but no I’m still not on team tartare. The hummus was a nice solid option – nothing unique, but not too salty and was the right consistency (lumpy hummus is a pet peeve of mine).
We had one of each of their desserts – a creme brulee and a chocolate bread pudding. It’s sort of a toss up as to which was better. I’d maybe give the creme brulee a slight edge, but that’s just because I’m usually not wild about it and found this one to be nice and more creamy and less gelatinous – muuuuuch better. Although the chocolate bread pudding was nice. Not overly chocolatey. Just right.
The worst part though of the meal was the paying process. They neglected to tell us until the very last minute that their Amex system had gone down. They only take cash or Amex, so some of us were planning on using Amex. I’ve never seen a restaurant inable to process via alternate routes (perhaps call it in somehow?) but they couldn’t. They told my friend to go next door to the ATM, which was outdoors facing the street on the sidewalk, had a **$5** processing fee, and was outside of a sex shop. Um no. She finally was able to scrounge up the money and then it took 15+ minutes of us chasing her around the bar to get the bill paid. Needless to say, I will likely not be back again.
Salt Bar – 29 Clinton Street (at Stanton Street) – 212.979.8471
Reservations recommended for dinner