The other night I had the indescribable pleasure of dining at SALTS in Cambridge, MA. Reservations are required for the sole reason that this is a very small, very intimate and charming restaurant nestled in the heart of Cambridge. Salts is described as a “magical space of tranquility and elegance,” and that couldn’t be more accurate. This small, one room, dining room gives you the feeling of eating in someone’s home, and yet the hushed voices and muted tones create a sense of privacy.
The menu at SALTS is “French influenced contemporary American cuisine.” They work closely with farmers and fisherman and have their own organic farm located in Canterbury, New Hampshire. Because Salts is a little on the pricey side, I decided immediately that I was only going to order an entree (and possibly save room for dessert). Therefore, I was more than delighted to be treated to an “amuse bouche” compliments of the chef. Gazpacho! I’ve never had gazpacho (I will admit I have a very limited palate but am working on rectifying this immediately) and was absolutely enchanted by what is essentially a cold, vegetable soup. I have never before eaten a soup that was as delicious as the one presented to me. What a perfect way to kick off the meal!
I debated between ordering the Free Range Chicken (served with petite garden carrots, baby zucchini, white asparagus, grapefruit and darjeeling tea) or the Painted Hills Beef Ribeye. The ribeye won. It was served with the Salts farm sunchokes, horseradish gremolata, bone marrow custard and potato. Talk about perfect execution. Everything on my plate worked in perfect combination. The horseradish and carmelized onions, eaten with the rib eye, created the perfect balance and brought out each flavor, respectively. Having never in my life tried (or seen) bone marrow, I was more than curious. While it wasn’t something that I would be inclined to order again, it was interesting and had me going back for more. It tasted like a slightly salty custard or rice pudding. And that brings me to the salt! Our meal was served with three salts, a black salt from Cypress, a pink Australian salt, and Fleur de Sal from France. The black salt was intensely strong and added an amazing flavor to the meat. There was also a side of potatoes, thinly sliced and stacked, that worked as a perfect addition to the meal.
And finally, for dessert, the Chocolate Cremeux. Essentially this was a deconstructed chocolate cake. Very rich and decadent but with a playful aspect to it. Eating this dessert became a game of how to create the perfect combination of sweets.
Overall, I was so pleasantly surprised by my dinner at SALTS. As someone who rarely ventures off the beaten path of mainstream, chain restaurants, SALTS opened my eyes to a whole new world of dining experiences. I am now recommending it to everyone and hoping that they dive into a new culinary delight.