Saltyard, and the urge to splurge with small plates

Rating: ★★★★★

One of the best meals I’ve had since coming back to Atlanta from college was on the Sunday after the Fourth of July, at dinner with Josh at Saltyard.

Saltyard is a small plates restaurant, offering delicious and well-prepared food in a serving structure that grew in popularity around the turn of the century.

Like Greek mezze, Japanese izakaya, Italian antipasti and Spanish tapas, small plates dining allows for lighter portions that are perfect for sharing, letting you order more dishes overall.

Going with just one other perfect creates the optimal ratio of number of mouths to food, because you still get more than one mouthful of each plate.

Additionally, the dishes come out as they’re ready, not all at once, so you don’t have to wait very long.

Josh and I only waited about five minutes for our first round of dishes. FullSizeRender (57)

Our steak tartare ($11) was topped with an egg yolk and served with charred toast. The tartare was a gorgeous magenta, the beef was of a pleasant consistency, and the horseradish was delicious. It’s not overpoweringly spicy when made fresh. The large salt granules sprinkled on the egg yolk were the final detail in a well-planned small plate. Worth the price? Definitely.

This dish was part of the “raw/cured” section of the menu, which also included tuna, oysters and salmon, around $10-$15 each.

FullSizeRender (56)We also ordered oxtail croquettes ($9) off of the specials menu for that evening. These fried balls of ground cowtail mixed in a fluffy stuff sat on a tangy, orange sauce and were scattered with a sprinkle of green onions. While delicious, these croquettes were not worth the price, at $3 each.

IMG_1593Topped with fried shallots and freshly chopped herbs, the deviled farm eggs ($5) were both picturesque and delicious, but at the price of $2.50 each, this dish didn’t warrant the price tag, in my opinion. The deviled eggs were just one of many in the “bar snacks” section, along with other scrumptious-sounding munchies like cheddar biscuits and stuffed peppers, ranging between $4-$6 a plate.

FullSizeRender (58)The grilled octopus dish ($13) has become a new favorite of mine. The octopus, perfectly cooked, was not overly chewy yet had a pleasant bite. It was mixed with fennel and other greens, drizzled with a slightly creamy vinaigrette, and plated over a creamy hummus-like sauce that tied the whole dish together. The quality of the octopus made this dish well worth the price.

Other small plate options from the “hot/smalls” section included grilled lamb loin, pork empanadas, fish tacos and duck confit.

FullSizeRender (60)Cauliflower is one of my all-time favorite vegetables. Saltyard’s version of the veggie was roasted until nicely charred and crispy on some parts, served in a steaming hot cast iron serving dish and topped with a chevre (goat cheese) sauce and green onions. Worth the price? Yes, but call me biased.

In the “veggies/salad” section, green beans, kale, flash fried brussels and more are offered for $7-$10.

FullSizeRender (59)Our sixth and final small plate, fresh-made pappardelle pasta ($10), came mixed in a delicious prosciutto-infused cream sauce. The pasta was evidently freshly-made and the mushrooms in the sauce tasted so fresh and flavorful that the small portion just might be worth it.

The menu also offers bruschetta options as well as entrée dishes like steak frites and braised pork for the traditional-at-heart, roughly $20 each.

Though Josh and I were both full, the dessert menu looked quite tempting. $6 gets you a delicious-sounding dessert like the “chocolate nemesis” with vanilla cream, a “sorghum-pecan pie” with bourbon-ricotta ice cream, a “butterscotch pot de crème” with candied pecans and mascarpone and more!

And I can’t forget to mention their alcohol options, including a long list of wines, cocktails, beers and more for those over 21.

I was happy to splurge and pay $30 for my half of the meal.

For one, the service we got from the wait staff was phenomenal. Our waiter, Ruben, bent down to fix the wobbly table for us and came back frequently to refill our drinks and check on our meal. He smiled at us a bunch and helped make us college kids feel pampered for once.

The restaurant got its name Saltyard from the ancient belief that salt was a rare good representing hospitality and friendship, with the potential to create a bond between a host and his guest. This restaurant aims to carry on that belief through its food and service.

source: thrillist

Moreover, the restaurant’s décor gives off a “casual but ambient vibe”, as stated by Saltyard’s website. The metal chairs and exposed rafter provide an industrial look, but the sun-bleached reclaimed wood and open kitchen create a certain aura of elegance.

source: Atlanta Style Blueprint

So bring your family and bring your other loved ones. This restaurant is perfect for any dinner occasion, big or small. The quaint but inviting outdoor patio optimal for warm summer evenings.

Most people who diner here are older, in their late twenties and on. This place can get quite busy and lively later in the night, especially on the weekends.

If you want to psychologically justify customers splurging at your restaurant, you must pamper them with amazing service and precise, thoughtful presentation.

Oh, and of course, delicious food.

1820 Peachtree Road NW Atlanta, GA


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