James and I ate a late-night meal at the new restaurant Wild Salmon by Jeffrey Chodorow, he of food-fight-with-Frank-Bruni fame.
In the Times recently, Bruni took the high road and reviewed the new place fairly. He didn't like it that much, and neither did I. This is a deathwatch on the joint, which I don't think is long for this world.
Nearly no patrons occupied the restaurant when we dined (admittedly late, 9pm). It is a gigantic space, and was so empty it kind of seemed like an airport hangar. Indeed, while the salmon passed through a hangar on its way from the Pacific Northwest, that doesn't mean the salmon's final resting place should evoke United.
I sat down to a dirty water glass, which I had to send back. Our waiter was out of it. The flat bread, served in lieu of a bread basket, dusted with olive oil, sea salt, and rosemary, was crunchy on the outside and really soft on the inside, and performed well the function of being my appetizer, since I wasn't hungry enough, or intrigued enough by the appetizers on the menu, to order one. The problem was this: I'd heard the cured salmon platter was a great starter, but if I ordered that, what would I order for my main, since this was, afterall, a salmon joint? And alas the hostess-recommended dish, the black cod, was finito for the evening.
I ended up ordering cedar-planked salmon, which Bruni recommended. It was good. The cedar plank smells delightful, awakening your taste buds. The pinot noir morel sauce accompanying it was buttery and super rich and slightly funky from the morels. Three asparagus spears decorated the fish.
Fine. But that was $30. And that was the cheapest of the salmon options (I ordered coho, but one could request sockeye or king). I'm not n the mood to pay thirty bucks for an average-sized piece of fish with no accoutrements. Especially when I recall the $16 I paid for the supremely incredible snapper at Momofuku that came equipped with remarkable sides, assembled with mucho care. From the assemblage of my fish at Wild Salmon, I get the sense Chodorow's target audience wouldn't know a pickled ramp from an exit ramp.
Speaking of average, isn't salmon the chicken of fish? I like it, but who ever thought to build a restaurant around it?
Won't be returning, and by the empty looks of the place when I went, other patrons feel the same.