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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