As a coastal state, New Jersey is one of the best places to order seafood. But when it comes to seafood restaurants in the area, you have to be great if you want to succeed. However, the further you move from the Jersey Shore, the fewer seafood spots there are. For those in the New Brunswick area, though, Salt Seafood & Oyster Bar is a terrific option.
Salt Seafood & Oyster Bar caught our eye as soon as they were open. In fact, we put it on our list of The Best Trendy Eats in Downtown New Brunswick. But 2019 marks the restaurant’s first time participating in New Brunswick Restaurant Week (July 13-27); so we thought it was time to stop by and see how things are going. The short answer is, they continue to live up to our ranking as a top restaurant in the area.
Fresh Catches & More
What makes Salt Seafood so good is their fresh menu. To start, they make their own horse radish and other sauces fresh daily, in-house. Their Raw Bar offers both East and West Coast oysters, which are delicious for different reasons. You can also find shrimp and crab cocktails, clams, a seafood salad & more. Their small plates (great for sharing) include clam chowder and lobster bisque, grilled octopus, plus steamed mussels and clams. I highly recommend the clam chowder, it was my personal favorite.
When it comes to dinner, standout highlights include the King Salmon and Seared Scallops. After enjoying both, I would say the scallops suit my preference. Other choices include a 2lb Maine Lobster and Filet Mignon as well as their Salt Burger. Finally, for dessert, you can choose between Creme Brule Cheese Cake, Apple Crumb Pie, Chocolate Cake, and a few others. The cheesecake is a crowd-pleaser, as they use a kitchen torch to create a top layer of burned sugar right in front of you; it actually smells like cotton candy as they serve it.
Simple and Clean
One of the most appealing aspects of Salt Seafood is the decor and design. The restaurant offers a modern look and gives off a clean and upscale vibe, despite the fair price range. Executive Chef and Owner Christian Graciano also tells Best of NJ the place is a total DIY project. The space was rebuilt and hand-crafted to meet the vision of Chris and his wife, Tammi. (She handles marketing and events for Salt.) Chris actually did much of the manual work himself.
Another important part of what makes Salt Seafood such a great choice for dinner is the location. The restaurant is across the street from the Stress Factory Comedy Club, and a five minute walk to State Theater. There are also many bars on the surrounding blocks (though Salt has plenty of drink options of their own).
I actually find the story behind Salt as interesting and unique as the place itself. As Chris tells it, the couple bought the space before they knew what type of restaurant they wanted to open. As soon as they visited the area, though, they were sure the menu would be seafood. (The surrounding eateries nearby all offer other types of food.) Of course, the dream of every culinary student is to open their own restaurant, and the same goes for Chris. However, the difference is he never had a specific type of restaurant in mind.
All Images: © Salt Seafood & Oyster Bar