All these new restaurant openings are really raising the bar this summer. We may have found a new favorite seafood place in Saltie Girl. Between Saltie Girl and Select, the Back Bay is now certainly spoiled in terms of raw bar / seafood type restaurants.
Saltie Girl is fairly small (about the same size and setup as Neptune without being quite as cramped) and they do not take reservations. We went by around 7 last night. They took my # and quoted 20 minutes for a table. They called 2 minutes later and had 2 seats that had opened at the bar. The space is nicely done. Their floor to ceiling west-facing bay window in front really let in a lot of beautiful light to the space.
The menu features seafood prepared any way you like it (smoked, shucked, fried, preserved, crudos, ceviche, raw, etc.). Having been in Spain last month, we really appreciated their anchovy and sardine selections. People were raving about the fried lobster and waffles. I’m sure this is the dish you will be reading about in reviews, but I prefer seafood simply prepared. We tried:
- Crab Toast: This was a large dish, plenty to share. The combination of crab and burrata was delicious.
- Sea Urchin: Simply prepared with sea salt and a dash of EVOO. Delicious. The chef said they will try to always have uni on the menu and will get in live urchin when possible.
- Anchovies: As I mentioned above they have a fantastic selection of tinned fish. We tried some anchovies and they were served beautifully still in the tin on a slate platter with 3 sea salts (black, smoked, flake), pickled vegetables, bread, sea salt butter and jam). Overall a delicious platter of accompaniments. I look forward to trying more selections from the tinned menu.
- Tuna Carpaccio: This was one of the highlight dishes, pickled hon-shimeji mushrooms, and house ponzu. The tuna was expertly cut and complimented well by the other flavors. I’ll get this one again.
- Scallop Ceviche: I’m not a huge ceviche fan. I find the citrus used to cure the fish often overwhelms the flavor of the seafood, and this was no different. My wife loved this though. I would have prepared the beautiful raw scallop to be sliced and served simply with some of the fantastic flake salt they use.
- Lobster Cocktail: Well, it was lobster cocktail. Nicely cooked and delicious as lobster is. Based on this I’d try the lobster roll if I was in the mood for that.
We would have loved to try more, but were stuffed after consuming the above. Some of the dishes we saw being prepared that will be in the lost to try next time include the pickled beet salad and steak tartare toast. The oysters looked to be expertly shucked as well.
The wine list looked good, with lots of light offerings by the glass to compliment the fish; and the cocktails we saw coming out to our bar neighbors looked to be nicely made. We enjoyed their sake selection very much.
While the food was firing on all cylinders after just a month being open, there were a few service hiccups. Our server was extremely friendly and informative, if she didn’t know the answer to a question she asked the chef directly. It’s just that she could have used another hand behind the bar. We ordered one tuna crudo, but the chef presented us with two. When I told him we only had ordered one, he didn’t question and looked at the bar server as if this was not an uncommon occurrence. Similarly after two rounds of drinks, I ordered another for myself but not my wife. We were presented with 2. I didn’t have the heart to send something else back so I drank both. Good thing I wasn’t driving. Also, when they first took my number they offered that we could go next door to their sister restaurant for a cocktail. Ummm, I wouldn’t advertise being affiliated with the Met Bar. Saltie Girl is in a different league.
If you asked my wife her favorite restaurant over the past year, she would have said Select. We both agreed that based on the larger variety of seafood available, we clearly prefer Saltie Girl. We’ll be back very soon. I wish they took reservations.