Salt Air Kitchen

American
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Editorial Review

The owners of Salt Air Kitchen have had a busy off-season: They're preparing to open Salt Air Farm & Table up the road in Lewes, which will supply produce and meat for the Rehoboth restaurant, host farm-to-table dinners and serve as its own retail destination. (The ambitious project, which had been expected to open by now, is still "coming soon.") At the same time, Salt Air Kitchen, which opened in 2009, was closed for several months for a makeover.

Thankfully, the locovore restaurant is not showing any sign of distraction. In fact, it looks better than ever - the tablecloths and trendy Euro accents have been traded for weathered wood, touches of corrugated metal, blocky tables, cluttered shelves and a wide-open floorplan. What's coming out of the open kitchen is satisfying, even if you're only at the sunny bar: The mix of roasted brussels sprouts, salty chunks of thick, amazing bacon and thinly sliced onions is so great that my table almost ordered seconds.

The chorizo and date pinchos, served on wooden skewers, are a sumptuous balance of smoky meat and sweet fruit, while the anchovy "pizzas" - whole marinated fish lying atop layers of goat cheese and chili peppers on roasted bread - didn't quite measure up. Better to turn back to the cocktails and tidy little wine list. Come out of the sun and try a Limon Fresca, which basically a Dark and Stormy with pear-infused vodka standing in for dark rum; a spiked glass of the house-squeeze lemonade; or the new house margarita: tequila infused with pineapple, cinnamon and jalepenos.

-- Fritz Hahn (May 27, 2011)