345A Preston Street, Ottawa – Website
Date of Visit: July, 2017
I chose Salt as an interesting place to visit from their online menu. I made one abortive visit on a Monday, only to discover they are closed that day, and then attended for lunch later that week. Unfortunately I was disappointed on a couple of counts… First, the lunch menu is very abbreviated and, secondly, the dishes I chose, along with the overall service, were not great …
Aside from the outdoor patio, which is very large, with both tables and sofas for seating, the restaurant has two separate dining areas. The one to the rear is designed and lit for evening dining and is very nicely appointed in a plush, rather ornate style.
The front section of the building holds the bar and has several tables for eating along with seats around a grand piano. It is much brighter than the rear section and has large window overlooking the streets on two sides. The décor is also very upscale and the chairs around the attractive marble-topped tables are especially comfortable.
It was unfortunate that the service did not mirror the very upscale surroundings. My server was a very friendly young lady but, despite the place being almost empty, the service in general was very slow. I was particularly annoyed by having to wait some twenty minutes to learn that the first appetizer I ordered was not available. The situation was not improved by the fact that the food, when it did come, was not very impressive…
Scallops in Galician Sauce – The bread that came with this selection was very good but that is the best that can be said. The aioli on the side was singularly bland and might easily have been a plain mayonnaise. As for the scallops, I was a little taken aback to be served with a canned product (still in the can with the label and cloth can-cover included). The following day, I actually saw the same can at La Bottega Nicastro, a Mediterranean fine foods store in Byward Market, selling for $9.99 a can. The product wasn’t a poor one, by any means, and perhaps there is nothing fundamentally wrong with serving a canned product to customers actually still in the can, but it still left me feeling a bit underwhelmed to say the least.
The Salt Burger – My experience with the canned appetizer put me off a little and I ended up just ordering the signature burger to round out my meal. Again, I was very disappointed. It is hard to mess up a burger… and Salt didn’t do that … but what I received was very plain and bland with nothing special to recommend it. It did have some pickles Jalapeno peppers on it that added a little spark, but the patty was barely seasoned and the overall effect was unexciting.
Salt is certainly a nice establishment but the service and the mediocre quality of my lunch left me very disappointed. I have seen some good reviews of the place and would like to think that had I gone for dinner, instead of lunch, my experience might have been very different. That being said, though, when a place holds itself out to be a high-end eatery, it needs to uphold the same standards even during non-peak hours. Salt failed here and I rated them at a 2 out of 5.