Subscribe Now »

Special Holiday Deal

Give the Gift of the

Give one person a magazine subscription for $29.95, and get each additional subscription for just $19.95.

100 Best Restaurants 2009: BlackSalt
No. 75: BlackSalt
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli, Rina Rapuano, Eve Zibart
Comments () | Published February 1, 2009
100 Best Restaurants 2012 100 Best Restaurants (2011) 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

BlackSalt
Address: 4883 MacArthur Blvd. NW, Washington, DC 20007
Phone: 202-342-9101
Neighborhood: Upper Northwest, Palisades
Cuisines: Seafood, Modern, American
Opening Hours: Open for lunch Monday through Saturday 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM. Open for dinner Monday through Thursday 5:30 to 9:30; Friday 5:30 to 11; Saturday 5 to 11; Sunday 5 to 9. Open for brunch Sunday 11 to 2.
Price Range: Expensive
Dress: Upscale Casual
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Sweet Nantucket bay scallops atop puttanesca; a salad of bitter escarole, sweet candied almonds, salty bacon, and tart apples; chowder with crisp fried clams; steamed mussels with chorizo and tomato sauce; tart Key-lime pie; butterscotch pudding with a Sc

Cuisine: Jeff and Barbara Black’s seafood-focused restaurant takes a lot of its cues from the fish market out front, where the day’s catches chill atop mounds of ice. If those Nantucket bay scallops look good, odds are they’ll be dolled up on the menu. Will they be fried New England style? Sautéed with pancetta and gnocchi? Slipped into ceviche? With this freewheeling kitchen, anything’s possible.

Mood: Cross a neighborhood bistro with an of-the-moment, ambitious restaurant and you get something like this Palisades destination. Few restaurants serve so many purposes: You can swing by the market to pick up some Old Bay–infused butter or drop $85 on a sevencourse menu in the handsome back dining room. In between is a steel bar with a few walk-in tables and a small leather-and-frosted-glass dining room, both often crowded and loud.

Best for: Seafood lovers—there was only one nonpiscine entrée on the menu when we last checked; little-seen delicacies such as rockfish collar and butterfish are a point of pride for the kitchen.

Best dishes: Salmon tartare atop a crisp rice cake; bigeye tuna tartare over soy-slicked rice; Royal Red shrimp in rémoulade (in season); tangy clam chowder boasting both littleneck and fried clams; fried whole-belly clams with curried aïoli; Casco Bay mussels steamed in Belgian ale and lemon; butterscotch pot de crème with a single-malt-Scotch milkshake; coconut cream pie with brûléed bananas.

Insider tips: Watch out for dishes that sound as if there’s too much going on; there probably is. The Southern-accented Sunday brunch is a relatively inexpensive treat.

Service: ••

Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for brunch and dinner. Expensive.

See all of 2009's 100 Best Restaurant 

Subscribe to Washingtonian
Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 02/01/2009 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews