PHOTO: SALT Restaurant tops an already wonderful stay at Marina Del Rey Hotel. (Photo courtesy Marina Del Rey Hotel)
The hope for any hotel restaurant is to offer fresh food while highlighting the best features of the property in which you are located. Marina del Rey Hotel’s SALT Restaurant & Bar certainly accomplishes that feat.
The hotel was nice enough to allow me an opportunity to sample its dinner and weekend brunch menu — both powerfully eclectic lists that sate both the carnivore who wants to devour succulent meat amid the marina breeze and the fish lover who wants to savor every last vestige of amazingly fresh fare while watching the ripples off the water.
Executive Chef Mark Gold was nice enough to offer thoughts on the highlights of this particular location: “Located right on the water, SALT offers the freshest seasonal fish available. The Avocado Hummus is a guest favorite, served with farm fresh veggies and Paratha bread. For main entrees, our ironic dishes include the Alaskan Halibut, served with matsutake mushroom and smoked apple dashi, and the Nantucket Bay Scallops, which is warmed in French butter and yuzu, potato purée, and white truffle. Another must-try dish is our Clam Chowder, made with fresh clams, a little sherry, and a healthy dose of bacon.”
Now, before I get to the delights I uncovered, we might as well tackle the true charm of this establishment, which is the way it’s nestled cozily between both sides of the hotel, offering pristine views of the marina on either side.
The flow from left to right is as accommodating as the staff at Marina Del Rey’s culinary jewel.
Gold continues: “SALT Restaurant didn’t exist prior to the hotel’s redesign. The space offers a marina-inspired ambiance, especially with its doors open and the ocean breeze flowing through the dining room. SALT’s atmosphere is simple, relaxed, and modern.”
It’s elegance without the need for a stuffy necktie. You can enjoy items like cote de boeuf or Maine lobster pasta without feeling like the meal itself has to be an elaborate event. Because of the soothing water nearby, charming décor and amenable staff, there is a certain ambiance of comfort that comes with the meal.
As for the previously mentioned clam chowder, it’s certainly a notable dish -- one I am eager to measure against others. It’s buttery and highlights the immense clams that stand out ready to be devoured.
The avocado hummus, a first for myself, was like guacamole’s long lost brother come to play for the night.
Both the lobster pasta and bucatini pasta were equally delightful, but it was brunch that really sold SALT as the kind of location that could cater not to just the couple out for a date night but also the family that wants to meet before hitting the pool.
The entire menu will have you considering your next plan of attack for several moments. We might put in a good word for the steel cut oatmeal, which is delivered with whimsy as a breakfast Brule.
I definitely see a return visit for the steak and eggs, which was a solid all-around dish – nicely prepared and a wonderful way to start the day.
Gold concludes: “The restaurant aims to provide a delicious restaurant experience right on the water, sourcing the best ingredients available. Since the redesign, we have crafted our menus around the look and feel of the space, taking into consideration the clean lines and the modern look to the restaurant. SALT continues to offer a more upscale dining experience to Marina del Rey, without being pretentious.”
Yet it doesn’t feel like a “hotel” restaurant. It’s truly a spot even a local would love.
Andrea Murray, General Manager of the Marina del Rey Hotel: “Since opening, SALT has been very fortunate to be able to attract a very loyal following with the locals, as you can catch Chef Mark Gold talking to the restaurant’s crowd nightly. We believe that it’s our innovative menus, friendly service, and stunning views that continue to exceed both our locals’ and guests’ expectations.”
Time will tell whether SALT will call to me all the way from Venice. I have to say, though, it left a lasting impression on me that I truly hope some of you on holiday can share in time.