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Sunday, March 11, 2012

SALT KITCHEN AND TASTING BAR

SALT KITCHEN AND TASTING BAR
HONOLULU, HAWAII

Waialae Avenue in Kaimuki is loaded with great little neighborhood restaurants.  There is a new one on the scene that should not be missed.  Salt brings a hip, cool mainland style vibe to this family community.  Walking into the lively bar is reminiscent of visiting San Francisco or New York.  The good thing about Salt is that you get the vibe and some good old Aloha Spirit and great service.  We were greeted with a big smile as we entered the restaurant.  The hostess was cute, friendly and professional.  As she led us upstairs to the small dining area, we walked passed the crowded long white bar on the street level that was filled with patrons enjoying cocktails, wine and food. This reminded me of the many long and skinny bars on the mainland where people jam in after work for cocktails and a bite to eat.  Upstairs is more relaxed with comfortable seating and high ceilings with a warehouse feel.  Not warehouse in a bad way.  Kind of urban chic.  We were greeted by a friendly waitress named Jenny J.  Jenny knew the menu and took time to explain what was popular and more importantly what ingredients were used and what the flavor profile was.  I was impressed that all of the employees knew the menu.  When a server brought a new plate to our table, they explained the ingredients of each dish.  If there were six items on the plate, they gave six descriptions of what you were about to eat.  We started our Salt adventure with Smoked Ahi Stuffed Piquillos ($9).  Stuffed Spanish Chili Peppers.  The Peppers are not hot, rather sweet and smokey.  They are filled with an awesome smoked Ahi Tuna.  This was absolutely delicious but really filling.  After a few bites we requested some crackers or bread to spread the Ahi filling on.  It is just too rich to eat in spoonfuls.  We followed up the Smoked Ahi Peppers with the Oxtail Empanadas ($9).  Wow....these little pastries the bomb.  Slow cooked Oxtail meat served with a Tomato and Raisin Chutney.  Some of the best Oxtail I have ever tasted.  So far Salt was 2 for 2 good.  The first two dishes are considered "Snacks" on the menu.  We then graduated to the "Small Plates" and ordered the Roasted Local Beet Salad ($11).  Baby Mizuna, lemon citronette, goat cheese mousse, grapefruit, pepitas.  Loved the Beets and my wife loved the dressing.  Again another great dish.  Salt has there own Charcuterie Chef.  I had to look this one up as I did not know what Charcuterie was;  Charcuterie from Chair' flesh and suit 'cooked is the branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products such as bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, pates and confit, primarily from pork.  Charcuterie is part of the grade manger chef's repertoire.  Originally invented as a way to preserve meats before the advent of refrigeration.

The Charcuterie Platter ($18) is a combination of local Shinsato Pork, Grass Fed Beef and Specialty Meats served with House Pickled Vegetables, home made mustard and sliced baguette.  Our platter was filled with delicious meats, terrine and an incredible liver pate that I could have sat an eaten for an hour with a nice glass of cabernet.  Loved the pickled vegetables and home made mustard too.  After the Charcuterie Platter we tried the "Large Plate" Hook, Line and Sinker Fish of the Day ($28).  On this night it was Pan Seared Onaga with shaved fennel and marmalade.  The fish was cooked to perfection and served on a bed of roasted bell pepper sauce.  We completed our meal with a 3 Cheese Plate ($16).
Pt. Reyes Blue Cheese - this was a rocket of flavor.  Powerful.
Fromager d' Meaux - French Triple Creme Soft Cheese similar to a Brie.
Tomme de Savoie - French Semi Firm, Cows Milk.  Our favorite of the three.
Salt hit it on all levels.  Food and service were excellent.  The entire family cannot wait to return. Jenny our waitress claimed that the burger at Salt was quickly becoming the best in Honolulu.  You can rest assured I will be back to eat it and blog about it.
UPDATE:  THIS RESTAURANT HAS CLOSED


UPSTAIRS DINING AREA WITH HIGH CEILINGS
CHANGING IMAGES ON WALL
HIP AND VIBRANT DOWNSTAIRS BAR
SMOKED AHI STUFFED PIQUILLOS
THE SMOKED AHI STUFFING IS AWESOME AND RICH
LOCAL BEET SALAD WAS A WINNER!
OXTAIL EMPANADAS WERE THE BEST!
HOUSE CHARCUTERIE PLATTER
FRESH FISH OF THE DAY - PAN SEARED ONAGA
THREE CHEESE PLATTER

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