Saltaire Oyster Bar & Fish House: Quite the Catch

by Katie Schlientz
saltaire oyster bar

I could lead in by telling you Les Barnes’ story—how he grew up at the Fulton Fish Market, buying fish with his father for the family-owned restaurant. I could tell you how, in another world, I was already obsessed with Barnes’ philosophy on aquaculture and views on hospitality, dining almost monthly at London Lennie’s, his hot spot in Queens. I could tell you how the Willett House was gutted to the core, how the interior was magically transformed into this chic new spot, with nods to the trendy industrial look, but added elements that make a vibe of its own. I could tell you everything you need to know about Saltaire Oyster Bar & Fish House. But all you need to know is…

You.
Need.
To.
Go.

I’ll wait right here. Seriously! Pick up the phone right now and call (914-939-2425). When you’re ready to peruse the menu, come back to me.

saltaire oyster bar

Port Chester’s new Saltaire Oyster Bar & Fish House is a true gift to Westchester and Fairfield counties, with Chef Bobby Will as the cherry on top. With a true dedication to honoring thy fish, Barnes and Will work closely together to offer a menu where local, seasonal ingredients play a supporting role to the star.

Check out Les Barnes and Chef Bobby Will’s interview on Fork This with IntoxiKate before the restaurant opened in August:

Will is the type of chef to love, and keep him on your watch list. He rolls up his sleeves to expose a grocery list of farmer’s market goodies—carrots, chives, etc.—expertly tattooed with biological style in mind on his forearm. He smiles ear to ear, eyes lighting up as he talks about his food. His excitement is contagious; his humble demeanor very welcoming. A New England transplant who knows fish; a gentle hand with the seasoning. A perfect fit for Barnes, and an incredible fortune for local foodies.

saltaire oyster bar

There’s an oyster bar that will blow your mind, but there’s plenty along the way to distract you before you sit down. Let’s start off with a beautifully designed bar, complete with high top seating, a sophisticated white marble counter, and a sea of brightly-colored bottles in front of you. While these support the incredible beverage program (and a serious wine and cocktail list), there are also glasses of syrups, sodas, fresh juices and more, with the majority created in house.

But let’s focus on the task at hand—a rotating list of oysters from both the east and west coasts waiting to be hand shucked to order right in front of you. But the raw bar doesn’t end there—it’s a seafood smorgasbord of Little and Top Neck clams, snow crab claws {IntoxiKate favorite!}, chilled lobster, shrimp cocktail, and king crab legs. And please don’t forget the raw bar towers, aptly named Hook, Line and Sinker ($45 to $135).

saltaire oyster bar

The dinner menu (which changes daily) proves there’s a focus on both local farmer and fish, but it’s also a testament to Will’s playfulness in the kitchen. The wild king salmon gravlax ($14) for example, is a clear poke at bagels and lox. The salmon, made in house, is served as little rosettes, with a light whisper of cream cheese, citrus, and an “everything granola” that’ll send those tastebuds flying.

The live sea scallop and crudo ($15) was served in a scallop shell with blood orange and frisee. Also add this one to your “must-try” list.

saltaire oyster bar

Will’s innovation doesn’t end there. I’m officially a huge fan of the seared skate wing, which sits a top a sunflower seed “risotto” (my new favorite thing on Earth) and broccoli puree ($28).

saltaire oyster bar

The whole roasted branzini {another IntoxiKate favorite} is served whole with roasted fennel tomato, capers, and Fingerling potatoes, all drizzled in light brown butter ($28). Yes, there are bones to watch, but this dish is well worth it. And I’ve got the photo to prove it… #pickedclean

saltaire oyster bar And if you weren’t convinced of the power of Barnes and Will before you entered your final course of the evening, dessert options will send you over the edge.

saltaire oyster bar

I couldn’t get enough of the St. Germain Panna Cotta ($9): an elderflower and vanilla penna cotta served here with fresh peaches (currently being served with a seasonal pear and dried cranberry compote).

Update:

Starting October 29, 2015, lunch will be served MondayFriday from 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Executive Chef Will will be introducing a lunch menu featuring refined yet inventive preparations of the best catch the Fulton Fish Market has to offer. The seasonally driven menus are printed daily to reflect the moment’s bounty, and guests can look forward to new dishes like the Saltaire Lobster Roll with brown butter hollandaise, pickled celery, and herbs, Tuna BLT with pepper seared yellowfin tuna, smoked bacon, bibb lettuce, and pancetta-sundried tomato jam, Grilled Seafood Sausage Sandwich with tarragon mustard, cauliflower-kraut, and cucumber-caper relish, andLobster Pot Pie with lobster gravy, sherry, cream, carrot, celery root, and leeks. Guests will be able to indulge in the Raw Bar and Hot and Cold Appetizers including Red Snapper Poke and Ahi Tuna Sliders. In addition, guests can warm up with the restaurant’s popular Mussel Bowls, with flavors ranging from Spicy Fra Diavolo to Thai Coconut

{Saltaire Oyster Bar & Fish House:  55 Abendroth Ave, Port Chester, NY, 914 939 2425, saltaireoysterbar.com}

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