SALT RESTAURANT & BAR
GOLD STAR FOR A FRESH TAKE
I’ve always said that I’m a fan of hotel restaurants. Dining in a hotel just makes me feel like I’m on vacation, a feeling I absolutely love. If I can’t be on vacation, well, then the next best thing is feeling like I’m on vacation. So when I had the chance to check out SALT Restaurant & Bar at Marina del Rey Hotel, I jumped at the opportunity.
After a $25 million renovation, Marina del Rey Hotel reopened at the beginning of the year while celebrating its 50th anniversary. The chic waterfront property, which features 164 updated rooms and suites, opened SALT, its full-service restaurant helmed by Executive Chef Mark Gold, to the delight of foodies. SALT features on-the-water, as well as indoor and outdoor seating, and its menu consists of seasonal ingredients sourced from local farmer’s markets serving contemporary California cuisine with a seasonal twist.
Voted Diner's Choice for Best Ambiance and Outdoor Dining on the Westside by OpenTable, I found the ambiance best outside looking out at the water. That’s where you’ll feel like you’re away from the rat race of LA life.
The California approach at SALT includes exploring simple favorites with a contemporary twist like the Avocado Hummus where creamy hummus is complemented with a touch of California avocado creating a velvety spread served with crisp grilled pita and fresh vegetables to dip.
Looking to start with a cocktail as I’m prone to do, the classic Negroni with Bombay Sapphire Gin was a good choice, unfortunately the rest of the drinks on the menu did not impress. The Golden 50 (Absolut Elxy Vodka, St. Germain Liqueur, fresh lemon juice, house made simple syrup, and a splash of Voss Water) was too sweet for my liking, and the La Paloma came across as a bad margarita, while the Old Fashioned suffered from bad booze—sorry, but I’m just not fond of Makers Mark. After my one Negroni, I switched to wine to pair with dinner.
Besides the Avocado Hummus, we started with lovely Oysters on the Half Shell—a great option. Likewise, the Charred Spanish Octopus served with crispy fingerling potato, chorizo, roasted caper berry, and salsa verde was delicious.
We were big fans of the Red Beets and Burrata prepared with organic red beets with Di Stefano burrata cheese, red berries, aged vinegar and wild herbs. This is a great healthy choice and the combination of beets, strawberries and cheese was genius.
The Maine Lobster Roll served Nantucket style in a toasted brioche with your choice of hand-cut fries or coleslaw was solid, but not incredible. I have to admit, after a recent visit to Boston and Maine, I’ve become a bit of a lobster roll snob so I’m expectations are high. Great fries I must say.
Although it wasn’t done on purpose, we did end up ordering mostly seafood, which is a specialty at SALT. And I wouldn’t expect anything less eating right by the water. For an entrée, we had the Lobster Pasta, which was rich and tasty. The pasta was slightly overcooked but this was still a favorite dish as sweet, buttery Maine lobster came on a bed of Udon noodles in a succulent brown butter sauce.
Our first foray to a meat dish was done by way of the Prime Beef “Chateau” Steak served with charred onion, “creamed” spinach, potato and bordelaise. While the steak was a nice cut of meat, it was bland and just not tasty enough. We may have been better off ordering another seafood dish.
If you save room for dessert, the Brown Butter Cake is a nice option. Served with roasted pears and maple ice cream, my biggest criticism about this decadent dish is that there just wasn’t enough ice cream. We actually had to ask for more. Come on!
The deconstructed Banana Split with handmade ice cream, salted caramel, strawberry and marshmallow was inventive and tasted best when everything was mixed together. The salted caramel was delicious.
SALT is a contemporary restaurant that offers an inviting atmosphere, providing an open and airy space, and makes for a good respite in case you can’t really get away on vacation.
SALT Restaurant & Bar is located at 13534 Bali Way in Marina del Rey at Marina del Rey Hotel. Call (424) 289-8223.
Story by Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy of: SALT Restaurant & Bar