By Emma Barhydt
In the heart of Port Chester, nestled within the century-old historic grain warehouse along the picturesque banks of the Byram River, lies the culinary treasure that is Saltaire Oyster Bar & Kitchen. Saltaire is a culinary experience that pays homage to the finest seafood and artisanal drinks. I had the privilege of exploring its charms during a visit to their Oyster Lounge (located just across the foyer from the main dining room) for their Wine & Brine Happy Hour.
Saltaire in their Oyster Lounge boasts an impressive marble oyster bar that showcases the widest selection of pristine oysters in the tri-state area. This is a place where oyster enthusiasts can embark on a delectable journey through the briny delights of the sea. Whether you’re a seasoned oyster connoisseur or new indoctrinated, Saltaire’s diverse and ever-changing oyster selection is a delightful exploration of some of the best Oyster varieties in the world.
Saltaire’s new Wine & Brine Happy Hour is a fusion of small plates and big flavors with all the right vibes. The Spicy Salmon Crispy Sushi Rice with Pineapple Marmalade started off my evening with a bang. I love a good crispy rice, I think it’s the superior way to eat sushi honestly so I was really excited to try Saltaire’s take on the dish and I was not disappointed. The combination of crispy rice and succulent salmon, elevated by the bright notes of pineapple marmalade, was an interesting and well-loved departure from the typical salmon crispy rice flavors.
The Happy Hour Crispy Pork Belly with Braised Red Cabbage and Apple Mustard was hearty and rich, but very pleasantly so. As the weather turns cooler, the rich and tender pork belly paired with the apple mustard and Saltaire’s signature old-fashioned, The Saltaire utilizes a homemade Apple-Cinnamon Infusion was an exemplary combination. The balance of sweet and savory flavors as well as the variance between bright and acidic vs rich and umami was a take on pork belly that I will not soon forget, but will soon be enjoying again!
The Tempura Shrimp with Sauteed Bok Choy and Thai Relish was good as well. The tempura shrimp had great flavor and crunch without being heavy. The best thing about tempura is how light the batter is, but unfortunately, that tends to mean it gets soggy quickly as well. I’m happy to report that there were no soggy shrimps in this establishment and that the batter held up well over time. The Thai relish was great too, adding a burst of acidity and a little spice but not overpowering the flavor of the sweet shrimp.
Now, let’s talk about Saltaire’s dark horse – their House Cut Fries (and the Truffle Fry variety). These fries are, without a doubt, some of the finest I’ve ever had the pleasure of utterly demolishing. Perfectly seasoned and irresistibly crispy, they also have a beautiful flavor as well which isn’t something you typically think about with french fries. It’s a culinary triumph in how to do simplicity perfectly.
And then, of course, there are the beautiful, delicious oysters. All oysters are served with house cocktail sauce and mignonette and for their Wine & Brine, Saltaire features select oysters at 50% off regular price. I got into oysters just this summer and I can’t seem to get enough of them! Saltaire not only satisfies any oyster cravings I have but also their selection is perfect.
Saltaire’s oyster selection is a testament to their dedication to freshness and variety. From the Maritime Provinces in Canada to Maine and Massachusetts, all the way to the Chesapeake, and pulling seasonally from the West Coast, their oyster offerings span the entire spectrum of flavor profiles, sizes, and textures.
Saltaire is more than just a culinary gem; it’s an experience. The restaurant’s ambiance seamlessly blends a refined nautical charm with a vibrant, lively atmosphere. Whether you’re seeking an intimate dinner in the formal dining room adorned with nautical charts, or looking for a more casual outing in the Oyster Lounge, Saltaire has something for everyone. Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the flavorful world of Saltaire. You won’t be disappointed.