The owners of Lalime's in Berkeley, Haig and Cindy, Krikorian opened Sea Salt over two years ago, but tonight was my first time to dine here. The emphasis at Sea Salt is on fresh fish.
Located in a quiet part of San Pablo Avenue, the restaurant serves lunch weekdays, weekend brunch, and nightly dinner. The ambiance is casual, the food fresh; the menu changes daily.
To start, I ordered a salad of Roasted Baby Beets which was garnished with a tahini lemon vinaigrette, mint, yogurt and sumac. Jim's starter was a bowl of White Clam Chowder. My Beet dish could easily have been shared by two. Jim, the New England Clam Chowder expert in our family, declared his chowder to be as good at those served at his other favorite places Walnut Creek Yacht Club and Yankee Pier.
For our main courses, we both chose from the Smaller dish part of the menu. Jim's Steamed Prince Edward Island Mussels were served in a stainless steel bowl. There were at least two dozen mussels in a tasty broth with lots of toasted bread.
My Grilled California Squid
was served over Gigande Beans...delicious.
Only I ordered dessert, choosing one of the cheeses...Pantaleo, a goat cheese from Sardinia...It was served with two generous slices with toasted walnut bread, slices of poached pears, and toasted Marcona almonds...this serving also was large enough to share...Jim took a few tastes.Sweet desserts included a Meyer Lemon Tart and a Brownie Sundae.
Sea Salt is a very "Berkeley" restaurant in that most of the clientele seemed to come from the community...many most likely associated with the University.
The menu is small and I expect some less adventurous diners might feel intimidated by it and have a hard time deciding what and how to order. Even I was not ready to risk not liking the Torchon of Monkfish Liver, which our server described as a sort of foie gras of fish liver. Another time maybe. But the Seared Arctic Char, the Grilled Hawaiian Swordfish, and the Fish and Chips all were tempting offerings among the Larger dishes. I know my friend Mort will be delighted to know that they feature Fried Whole Smelts.