Food Quality: 3 1/2 Stars
Service: 3 Stars
Ambiance: 3 1/2 Stars
Overall Rating: 3 1/2 Stars
Note: Four star Rating System from 1/2 star = poor to Four stars = Best in Class
Noise Level: Moderate - Loud (depends on seating)
Dress: Upscale casual
Recommended For: Diners who enjoy fresh, creatively prepared, and artfully presented seafood in an upscale, trendy setting.
Not Recommended For: Budget conscious diners who prefer a traditional seafood menu, in a casual family setting.
Recommended dishes: When available; The Charred Octopus; The Wild Potato Crusted Halibut: and The Seafood Tower (to be shared)
Alcohol: Full service bar with a good selection of specialty cocktails, craft beers, and reasonably priced, mid range wines by the glass and bottle.
Located in the spot formerly occupied by Panico's Restaurant, The Salt Seafood and Oyster Bar, opened in September. 2018, is a high end, upscale restaurant that has quickly become one of New Brunswick's top dining spots. This new addition to the New Brunswick dining scene is popular with diners who come for a date, a family gathering, a special occasion, a business meeting, or even to meet up with friends for cocktails and and a bite to eat.
The Salt Seafood and Oyster Bar is owned and operated by General Manager and Executive Chef Christian Graciano.
Chef Graciano received his formal culinary education at The Institute of Culinary Education in NYC. He later honed his culinary and restaurant management skils at the Hamilton's Grill Room in Lambertville, and The Big Fish Seafood Bistro in Princeton. Prior to opening The Salt Seafood and Oyster Bar, Chef Graciano served as Executive Chef at the The Witherspoon Grill in Princeton while also teaching culinary classes at Princeton University.
Chef Graciano serves a well executed menu of fresh seafood, meats, and vegetarian options.
His talent lies is in creating, unique, high end dishes on-the-fly.
Unlike many Jersey Shore mid range seafood restaurants, Chef Graciano, will not serve mass produced, traditional broiled or fried seafood platters. His dishes are prepared using fresh, farm to table local market ingredients. Chef Graciano has a penchant for detail and personal attention given to selection of in-season, fresh locally caught seafood right off the boats. Such as from Captain Rob Burcaw. off the Capt. Bob in Sea Isle, NJ.
For that added special flare, Chef Graciano also uses less common and often more costly ingredients, such as lion's mane and king oyster mushrooms. Other special ingredients may include pea tendrils, black garlic, Holland leeks, fresh ground horse radish root, and Peruvian sweet drop peppers.
Upon request, Chef Graciano is open to preparing traditional dishes.
His signature and high demand dishes are the Charred Octopus, the Wild Potato Crusted Halibut, and the Fried Calamari.
The ambiance at The Salt Seafood and Oyster Bar has a NYC vibe. With seating for 150, it's comfortably elegant with an attractive, brightly lit contemporary interior. All of the woodwork is crafted out of pieces from an antique market, with doors built from scratch. Most of the original building structure remains intact, including the original exposed brick wall behind the bar, providing a soft rustic look,
A unique feature is their tri -fold windows that open in nice weather where diners can get an up close views along Church Street. The casual bar area, with high table top seating, can be viewed through the front windows by passers by, often times drawing in curious onlookers who are attracted by the ambiance and music.
The more formal dining area in the back is done up with white tiled walls, wood tables, and hardwood flooring.
The raw bar, located in the center of the main dining room, is attractive and set-up with a large variety of fresh oysters, crabs, clams, lobster, shrimp, and mussels on ice. It's also where the Seafood Towers are assembled. Here you can order fresh raw seafood, or just observe. Guests can be seated at the Oyster Bar and order either dinner from the menu or a signature cocktail, and if curious, can ask the staff questions.
The photography and artwork on display has been taken by local photographer Kate Booth, with the original artwork created by Erika Iris.
The wait staff is friendly, welcoming, and professional with a good knowledge of the menu.
There is a convenient parking garage across the street.
They are open six days/ week. Monday 5:00 pm–9:00 pm. Tuesday –Thursday 11:30 am–10:00 pm. Friday & Saturday 5:00 pm–11:00 pm
For Lunch Monday –Friday 11:30 am–3:00 pm. Happy Hour Monday – Friday 3:00 pm–6:00 pm
(updated: July, 2019)
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