My friend Dr. Marc and I have a tradition every nationals where we go out and have a nice meal. For St. Louis, I settled on Salt, a James Beard Finalist. We were the only people there for a 5 PM reservation so our waitress was super attentive. The menu is divided up into small and large plates. We decide to share two large plates; sorghum lacquered duck and duck fat fried chicken, as well as 3 small plates of wild mushrooms, duck fat frites and cassoulet.
Our meal was inconsistent; the highs are quite high but I felt like the restaurant had made a couple of missteps that no restaurant of that caliber should make.
We found the cassoulet good but uninteresting. The fries were extremely thin but crispy and addictively tasty. I enjoyed the garlic aïoli that came with them. The mushrooms were also quite good
As for entrées, the duck was exquisite. I had read about this dish in the St. Louis Magazine's 50 best dishes in the city article. The duck was a rosy medium rare, had crispy skin, and slight sweetness from the sorghum. It came with a side of brussels sprouts and bacon that stole the show.
However, the fried chicken was two shades too dark and one shade away from being considered brunt. I found the white meat dry. However, the glazed baby carrots and the mashed potatoes that came with the chicken were both good.
The most fatal error came with dessert. I ordered the gooey butter cake, which is a St. Louis regional specialty. It has been explained to me as cake with twice the sugar and half the flour. The interior had a texture somewhat reminiscent of cheesecake however the exterior has been overcooked and the crust was so hard that Dr. Marc almost broke the plate trying to spear a bite. No kitchen should be sending that out.