This tapas restaurant strikes a balance between excellent flavors, comfortable atmosphere and knowledgeable service.
Saltyard, a tapas restaurant from Nick Leahy opened nearly five years ago. The menu is divided into sections – bar snacks, raw/ cured, charcuterie, bruschettas, biggie smalls (entrees), veggies/ salads, hot smalls and desserts. It sounds daunting but it isn’t at all. There are a good variety of things covered here. However, there are so many appealing dishes, you may have to make two trips to taste everything you’d like. Pictured at the top is the salmon (completely sustainable!).
The specialty cocktail list is short, yet creative. A Step in the Right Direction (gin, cucumber, st. germain, mint and lime) is refreshing and delightful, but you’re doing it wrong if you don’t order some wine. There’s lots of wines by the bottle but even the wines by the glass are well thought out to pair with the many offerings. I especially enjoyed a Priorat. Better to go and share a bottle.
If the brussels sprouts appetizer is available, nab it! The leaves of the sprouts are oven roasted with bacon and honey on top for a touch of sweetness. The menu at Saltyard changes often, maybe even more than seasonally, Chef Nick tells me. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find something delectable at all times. A smoked beet salad with feta and curried pine nuts is served over a carrot puree, and is one of the menu standouts.
Another take on a common dish that I loved was the octopus. Sliced like a sausage, it made it easier to share than so many other spots do and the verdant green from the cilantro sauce and bright pink from the onions were an elaborate way to present it.
We were just beginning to meander through Saltyard’s meaty menu. Did you know there are tons of gluten free options at Saltyard too? About sixty percent of the menu is gluten free. While I don’t have a gluten free allergy, I know many who do. And one of the struggles is having options when you dine out. At Saltyard, that’s not a problem for the gluten free diner or the person sharing plates with them. You won’t miss any of the flavors, I promise.
Speaking of gluten free, one of the my favorite dishes of the evening that happened to be gluten free is the crispy duck with mustard. Though it doesn’t look it, the cabbage is so much more than a splash of color. It’s fried and gives even more crispiness to the already perfectly crisp skin on the duck leg. When the plate was set down in front of me, I worried the mustard seeds would overpower it, but no chance. It was divine.
A couple items are ordered in quantities like the scallops. I really like this idea. Scallops are those items that I just want to have one or possibly two but not a full meal. A threesome of this dish was perfect for our party of two.
The shrooms on toast never leave the menu and I get an order each time I visit Saltyard in Buckhead. The shrooms are served over sausage on bread in a brandy cream sauce. It’s one of the few items that remains on the menu, year after year. I fear that regulars would revolt if this beloved menu item were removed.
All through dinner we were treated to incredible service by our server, Sean. He knew the menu inside and out, despite it’s formidable list of items and the fact that it changes often. He was also able to recommend some excellent red wines to go with the dishes we ordered at Saltyard.