Restaurant Review–Sea Salt Naples, Fl
|February 1, 2013||Posted by jcogswell1 under Dinner, Travel|
While visiting my parents in Florida last month, we tried a new-to-me restaurant called Sea Salt.
As I understand it, Sea Salt is one of the most popular restaurants in Naples thanks to its fantastic seafood dishes.
Plus, as an added bonus, they seemingly have the exact same lights that I do in my kitchen (just the giant version!).
As for the atmosphere – the restaurant is quite nice. There are both indoor and outdoor seating options, plus a large open kitchen that you can peak into and see what the chefs are up to! I also loved the wall full of salts and spices that was next to the kitchen – maybe one day I will have as many seasonings in my pantry!
Added to the great atmosphere, is the absolutely delicious food. While the food itself is definitely on the more expensive side (as many Naples restaurants are), Sea Salt offers a great “early bird special” that they call their “Pre-Sunset Menu” for $29.99, which is what we took advantage of. The menu is offered between 5-6 PM and while it has limited offerings (option of two appetizers, two entrees and two desserts that do not vary), the food that you get is definitely not short on flavor.
My family and I opted to get a couple of all the dishes so that we could try everything. To start the arugula salad and crispy shrimp:
The arugula salad was fresh and peppery and had tons of lemon flavor – just how I like it. Fresh Florida heirloom tomatoes and a generous portion of shaved parmesan don’t hurt anything either.
I was actually really pleasantly surprised with the shrimp dish as well. I was slightly disappointed when one shrimp on top of a small bed of seaweed came to the table, but by the end of eating the dish, I thought it was the perfect appetizer. First off, the shrimp was huge, so even though I had to split this dish with Sarah, I still got 4-5 decent sized bites. The flavor and textures of the dish were also just so good. While the shrimp was fried, it did not have any greasiness whatsoever. Additionally, the combination of the the spicy-sweet sauce with truffle, while bizarre sounding, was extremely tasty. I give this appetizer a big thumbs up and would gladly order it again.
For our main dishes, we had the choice between Swordfish and Rigatoni with beef ragu. Given that Sea Salt specializes in seafood, my Mom, Sarah and I wanted to stick with the swordfish. Kate and my Dad, on the other hand, wanted to give the ragu a try as well, so they split both dishes. They both loved the rigatoni and were pleased that they got it.
I was able to taste a bite of it too and agreed that it was a very good tasting dish. The ragu seemed like it had been simmering all day (and then some!) and was very rich tasting and full of beefy flavor. The rigatoni was also the perfect noodle for this dish because many of the little beef pieces got caught inside so you ensured that you got a taste of beef with every bite of pasta.
While the rigatoni was delicious, it was not as good as the wonderful swordfish dish option.
As you know, I absolutely love polenta with mushrooms. I often order it in restaurants and even make it at home. Because it goes so well with Italian sausage, I never even considered changing out the protein. Well Sea Salt blew.my.mind when they added swordfish on top of their creamy parmesan polenta. It was an awesome addition to the traditional polenta and mushroom match up. It didn’t hurt that the swordfish was incredibly fresh and perfectly cooked as well.
To go along with the creamy polenta, meaty mushrooms and hearty fish, Sea Salt also added fried wontons (for texture) and sautéed artichokes (and you know how I feel about artichokes). Then they finished everything off with a light, but well seasoned, chardonnay sauce. There was absolutely nothing to complain about this dish. I loved it. So much so that I intend to do a restaurant recreation and if my dish is 1/4 as good as the one at Sea Salt, I will be very happy.
With the sunset menu at Sea Salt, you also get you choice of dessert between a raspberry sorbet and a tiramisu.
I was actually so full from dinner that I only wanted the sorbet, but in the spirit of trying lots of different things, I split the sorbet and the tiramisu with Sarah. This proved to be a good decisions because the tiramisu, while extremely rich, was very tasty. Those “beans” you see atop the dessert were actually coffee flavored chocolate beans and in spite of my fullness, I was able to eat almost every single one. The raspberry sorbet was actually just alright. I tend to like berry sorbet on the tart side, and this was quite sweet.
While the food at Sea Salt was fantastic, we thought that at times, the service left something to be desired. For example, we waited 10 minutes to get our wine and had nothing to drink when our appetizers were delivered to the table. We sat around looking at our salads and shrimp dishes desperately wanting a bite, but holding off because we had no wine. And then half way through the meal, our waiter seemed to vanish and was replaced by an entirely new waitress. While this was weird, the waitress was very attentive and helpful, so we were thankful for the switch.
Overall, I really enjoyed Sea Salt and hope to go back. As I mentioned above, the prices are quite expensive, so it has to be a special occasion to warrant doing anything but the sunset menu.