To celebrate our anniversary we enlisted the aid of babysitters (thanks mom & dad!) and left the house early. After a little bar hopping, we ended up at Sal’s for a romantic dinner with me in a jocular mood. We chose Sal’s because we had a giftcard for a BHG restaurant as a anniversary gift (again, thanks mom & dad!!).
We arrived at Sal’s around 8 on a Friday night. The place was maybe half full. Our server said that ours was his second, and probably last, table of the evening. He said that this was unusual for Sal’s. The dining area was romantically dimmed. We got one of the nice rounded booths that are uber-comfortable. The dining room was lit by white deco ceiling lights that contrasted quite nicely with the dark booths and wood. The open kitchen is a nice design and shows off the money put into the restaurant.
We ordered a favorite appetizer, the fried calamari ($9.00). We eat this at a lot of restaurants and Sal’s is one of the best. The corn breading was light and nicely fried. The calamari was delicate and easy in the tooth. A side of “zesty” marinara accompanied.
We ordered our entrees and received a BLT house salad as part of that. The salad was mainly chopped iceberg lettuce with tomatoes and big pieces of bacon, as a salad called a BLT should be. Tossed in BHG’s signature ranch dressing, it was slightly too wet and heavy.
I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner but I’m not a connoisseur to order anything particular. Luckily, our server, like all good servers, had a wine to recommend. The Joel Gott cabernet sauvignon ($9 for 6-oz glass) was quite good.
I had a hard time ordering. Sal’s used to be an Italian-style chophouse which offered pasta dishes. They have since changed their menu and my favorite dish was gone. A chicken marsala was on the special menu but I went with the filet mignon… I mean, it is still a steakhouse 🙂 The filet mignon was 8-ounces and served with one side ($33). I got the asparagus. The filet had a visually appealing char on the outside but was overdone and at the encouragement of the server, I requested a refire. The second try was closer to medium-rare than the first which I would have called medium-well. I hate sending back food but overcooked steak is inedible to me. The second steak was delivered by the perfunctory manager who seemed satisfied with her performance. Filets are the most tender cut of meat with very little fat. This one did not have that smoothness, that tongue pleasing texture that I expected. The asparagus, which is in season, was overcooked as well, a real miss on taking advantage of May produce.
The real treat on the plate was the delicate bearnaise. A emulsification of butter into egg yolk tinted with tarragon, the sauce was silky, light, almost wispy. I loved it on the asparagus. I think I would love it in the rain or on a train… really anywhere.
My dinner partner had the 18-ounce bone-in Cowboy Ribeye with whipped potatoes ($34). It was too thinly cut to be a great ribeye and was also overdone. The whipped potatoes were good but nothing really special. Indeed, none of the sides was anything interesting, unlike some of their other restaurants.
Our tab was just under $100. For the price of the dinner, I’d rather go to Malone’s who has a better selection of steak and sides.
*Sorry for the lack of pictures in this post. Sal’s interior was too dimly lit to have good pictures of their food with my camera and skills.
Image via screengrab.