On my second night in Shelter Island, I dined at SALT Waterfront Bar & Grill, which is located on Menantic Road overlooking Menantic Creek.
SALT is known as a slightly upscale bar and grill that is an ideal spot for big groups, late nights, and hanging out.
I dined here with just one other and we had an 8:15pm reservation for dinner. By the time we sat down, we were pretty ravenous, so we decided to forego appetizers and went straight for entrees instead.
I had the Bang Bang Chicken, which they note takes about 20-30 minutes to prepare. The dish consists of crispy, semi-boneless chicken served over fried rice with sprouts, egg, and peanut. The chicken is topped with bang bang sauce and scallion.
The sauce was slightly sweet with a kick, the chicken was juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside, and the rice was cooked perfectly.
My cohort ordered the lobster roll (claw, knuckle, and tail meat combined with fresh tarragon, dill, arugula, lemon, served on a grilled New England-style roll), which came with a heaping side of French fries. The lobster was delicious (the fries were too!), but the nature of this lobster roll made it a bit difficult to eat. Most of the lobster meat was situated on top of the roll, rather than packed inside. So, a bite was either all roll or all lobster.
Either way, I’d eat either of these items again tomorrow if I could.
SALT also offers sushi, fish tacos, burgers, salads, fish and chips, and even Korean barbecue.
In keeping with the island theme, most of SALT’s cocktails are tropical. Patrons can find a Dark & Stormy, as well as two other rum-based cocktails. The bar also offers a jalapeno margarita (which my cohort ordered), a Bloody Mary, a caipirinha, and The Botanist: gin, elderflower liqueur, cucumber, dill, lemon juice, and club soda.
The bar boasts a lengthy wine list as well as a small selection of beers by the bottle, can, or on draft. I ordered their own beer, SALT Waterfront Wheat on tap and was pleasantly surprised with how refreshing it was. All beers on tap come in either a “short” size or by the pint.
Unfortunately, we were less than enthused with the service at SALT. It was a busy night, but I’ve been made to understand that most weekend nights are that kind of busy for the restaurant. Nevertheless, our table wasn’t ready when we arrived for our reservation and, after waiting for about 15 minutes, we were led to a different table away from most of the hubbub.
Typically, this small misstep wouldn’t bother me much, especially because the hostess was apologetic. But, once we were seated, our waitress treated us a bit like we were inconveniencing her just by being there. She was rude when my cohort questioned the spiciness of the jalapeno margarita; “It has jalapeno in it,” she said, as if we don’t know what a jalapeno pepper is. (It actually wasn’t spicy at all, but that’s okay.)
Then, after we ordered our drinks and entrees, she proceeded to pass our table for just over 20 minutes before we received our drinks (no apology, either). Our food followed only a couple minutes after that. We might have had a second drink if they’d been served a bit sooner.
Less than mediocre service aside, the ambience was quite lovely, actually. As I said, our table was situated away from the hubbub. We were disappointed by this at first, but we wound up with a great view of all of the boats on Menantic Creek and the few tables near us did fill up.
All in all, dining at SALT was a nice experience and I’d certainly go back. The food was delicious, the drinks were good, and the ambience was rather pleasant for a late summer night. That said, when I return to SALT, I may very well request not to be waited on by the same woman.