Monday, August 27, 2012

BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant

When the cab first arrived to the front door of my next adventure in Washington D.C., I wasn't sure what to expect. The first thing I saw was a full-scale fish market, with everything from Wild Halibut to Rainbow Trout sitting on ice and a  few steps in, there was a raw bar to my left.  It was certainly different than all the other restaurants I had been to in D.C.  As I reached the back of the place, a friendly hostess greeted me and I gave her my name. She walked us to our table, inside the upscale, yet casual dining room; dimly lit and full of conversation. 

BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant, located on 4883 MacArthur Blvd, NW, is one of several award-winning restaurants owned by Jeff & Barbara Black; popular restaurateurs in the D.C. Area. It has been around since 2004 and is a favorite place of Washingtonians not only to dine in, but to pick up fresh, pristine seafood from their market and cook it at home. 

Wood Grilled Sardines
Assorted Breads with Olive Oil
The menu was amazing. They offered a large selection of fish; some of which I love but hadn't seen too much lately. While we decided what we wanted to start off with, the waiter brought us their complimentary basket of bread. I thought I'd mention it because it was really crisp and fresh and the infused olive oil for dipping was excellent! On to our appetizers. We started off with the Wood Grilled Mediterranean Sardines, bathed in olive persillade and drizzled with lemon. If you like sardines, you'll go to town with these. The rich tanginess of the wood smoke brought out the flavor of these tasty treats; keeping them perfectly moist inside while crispy on the outside. 

Pacific Butterfish
Florida Mangrove Snapper
The next appetizer we ordered was a fish I love but don't find often, or has been a hit and miss in other places.  It was the Pacific Butterfish with Maine Lobster and Mango Gastrique. The dish was outstanding!  The tender meat of the fish had a soft texture  that melted like butter in my mouth, accentuated by a rich, sweet flavor. Paired with the chunks of succulent lobster and the sweet and savory mango gastrique, I was in heaven.  Reeling in the pure ecstasy of the two dishes we had tried so far, we ordered one more appetizer: the Florida Mangrove Snapper, with Spanish chorizo, patatas bravas, and salsa verde. Snappers are notorious for their tasty meat, essentially eliminating the need for too much accessorizing,  but the combination of flavors the chef created here was a knockout. The marriage between the spicy seasoning of the potatoes with the savory kick of the chorizos, complemented the light, tender  flakiness of the fish, creating a flavor extravaganza. 

Atlantic Bigeye Tuna

Moving on to the entrees, we started with the Atlantic Bigeye Tuna, served medium rare with Caramelized Pork Belly, Pickled Carrot Salad, Squash, and Ginger Soy Broth. If I had to request a last meal, this would be it. Wow!  The tuna was seared perfectly; absorbing the ginger soy broth and tasting of the ocean. And when I bit into the crispy caramelized pork belly, I think I shed a tear.  The  intensity and boldness of the flavors were surreal and totally challenged my palate with its land and sea pairing. Well done!

Wild Alaskan Ivory King Salmon
Trio of Creme Brulee
Wowed by the tuna, we tried a second entree: the Wild Alaskan Ivory King Salmon, a Special of the Day, served with a nicely seasoned fried green tomato, sweet corn, baby spinach and tomato vinaigrette. Milder in taste than regular king salmon, it was silky in texture and slightly buttery in taste; while the tomato vinaigrette gave it a zesty appeal. The luminous white flesh was interesting, since we are normally used to the red coloring of salmon. For those that prefer a less "fishy" taste when eating salmon, the ivory king is the way to go. It was a delicately flavored dish, accompanied well with the fried green tomato. As a grand finale, I just had to order something sweet to see if we could keep this perfect track record going. I am happy to say, we were. We ordered the Trio of Creme Brulee. I'm sure you can imagine my delight when it arrived by simply looking at the picture. The three creme brulees consisted of Butterscotch, White Chocolate-Raspberry and Milk Chocolate-Hazelnut. Each one was good as the last, with their sweet, creamy texture. It was a mouthwatering ending to a meal that exceeded all my expectations. 

Close-up for your viewing pleasure

Any trip to the D.C. area must include a visit to BlackSalt. The service is wonderful, the ambiance is cozy and the food is a flawless culinary journey to the deepest depths of the ocean. For more information, you can call them at 202-342-9101 or visit them online at

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