Second Helpings

Second Helping: Salt the Bistro

When I reviewed Boulder's Salt the Bistro almost a year ago, it seemed to have unfulfilled potential. "Every detail at this place, so painstakingly crafted to fit perfectly into an ideal rendering of a Boulder restaurant, is fine on its own -- but added together, those details equal exactly a sum of the parts," I wrote, adding, "Nothing more, nothing less. Not a single element acts as an X factor to enhance the magic. There's no flavor-carrier, no salt."

Since then, the restaurant -- which is owned by chef Bradford Heap, who also owns Niwot's stellar Colterra -- has stepped up its game, pushing more creative dishes on its menu, putting together a thoughtful and local wine list and stepping up execution. It's certainly headed in the right direction, and one of its vegetarian entrees recently blew me away.

A carnivore at heart, I rarely forgo the meat in a meal, but since a vegetable tasting was the best thing I'd ever eaten at Salt, I was inspired during a recent lunch visit to order the quinoa and chickpea fritter sandwich. And after my first bite, any lingering second thoughts about skipping the sausage or duck confit vanished.

The herb-flecked fritters, which were fried perfectly crisp around the edges, were hot and soft within, served on a swipe of yogurt imbued with lemon and mint and sided with pickled onions, greens and hot, wood-fired flat bread. Shoving all the elements in that pocket of bread was like making a falafel sandwich -- a really delicious falafel sandwich. But honestly, I could have eaten about a hundred of those fritters with a side of that yogurt for dunking and been totally happy.

I'm glad I gave Salt another shake.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk