It’s been a long time since Dayton has gotten this excited about a new business opening, but if the over 500 guests that packed out the VIP Grand Opening Reception for Salar Restaurant and Lounge on Wed are any indication, this Oregon District Restaurant will be a hit. Chef/Owner Margot Blondet has created a menu inspired by Mediterranean, Peruvian and French cuisine, the interior has been remodeled and the cocktails have gone upscale, courtesy of three star Michelin rated mixologist Brian Van Flandern.
While I usually am the first one to say “never judge a restaurant in the first few weeks“, we celebrated my friend Nicole’s birthday last night at Salar, on the first night they were open to the public. It always takes a while for the staff and kitchen to learn the ebb and flow of the restaurant. Seven of us arrived with anticipation and excitement, and since most of the group have worked in restaurants we agreed not to judge too hard. Other than a few timing issues, we all were quite impressed with the feast of flavors we shared.
We started with a few appetizers to share:
Shrimp Wonton’s with a spicy peruvian chili pepper and passion fruit dipping sauce
crispy rings of fried calamari, marinated in smoked paprika served with roasted pepper garlic aioli, Peruvian Empanadas- beef tenderloin filled turnovers with a Peruvian kick, Chorizo in Sherry – chorizo onions and red bell peppers served with a sliced baguette and an old favorite I was glad to see on the menu: Seafood Pizza- shrimp, scallops, mozzarella and provolone with fresh basil and baby spinach- or ask my friend Karen said when I posted this picture on Facebook- Seafoodorgasm!
The portions were plentiful and we all decided to move right into entrees, agreeing to each order a different meal and share. Words can ‘t do the food we enjoyed justice, and these photo’s don’t really convey the beauty on the platings either. Remember, we were celebrating a birthday and not really there to review Salar, but we wanted to share, because so many people have been asking.
We also had a Pork Filet Mignon, but for some reason I don’t have that picture. The Cabernet Sauvignon reduction served with the Duck Ravioli and the Chardonnay and Saffron sauce that was served with the Salmon were so good, we asked our waiter to bring us bread so we could dip and enjoy the sauces, after we’d devoured our meals! Our server Benjamin was great and very helpful, keeping our waters full and replacing silverware as needed. Great attention to detail this early on is a great sign of good staff training.
And of course a great meal is not complete without sampling desserts. We orded each of the desserts listed on the menu. As a group we all agreed our favorite was the Lucuma Croustillant – a pecan pavloca with lucuma mousse topped with chocolate ganace (served in a martini glass). The Chocolate Shades mousse cake came in second followed closely by the Passion Fuite Tres Leches cake. We all agreed the Volador was our least favorite, the combination of thin crackly pastry with creamy dulces de leche. It was just a little dry and might benefit from a cream anglise or fruit sauce, but that was the only miss of the entire meal!
Salar is open Monday – Saturday starting at 5pm. Reservations are most definitely suggested- you can call 203-3999 or reserve online with OpenTable. For now Salar is just serving dinner, lunch will be added soon. Kudos to Chef Margot, Harry and the staff- you’re off to a great start!