Bonjour Sea Salt! Welcome to Music City.
Above the convivial voices in celebration of the opening of Sea Salt, were more Midwestern accents than usual. Sea Salt is the dream of co-owners Keith Zust and Executive Chef Mike Haggarty, both most recently from Chicago. If you think that they're trying to ride on the coattails of the explosive growth of Nashville, you're not quite right. In fact they landed in Music City serendipitously because it was within the approved radius of Zust's in-laws, who reside in Cincinnati (radius drawn by wife, Monica). But that might have just been the beginning of their good luck with Nashville. With help of good friends and investors Zust not only nabbed a sweet location adjacent to the burgeoning Printer's Alley, he found out that Nashville is in the midst of explosive growth, including the opening (mid 2018) of Dream Nashville, a Printer's Alley boutique hotel, around the corner.
Sea Salt, is decidedly French, promoting itself as a place to go everyday, or "Champagne taste for foodies on a beer budget." So good so far. Sea Salt is inviting and cozy. Exposed brick walls and reclaimed wood tables and other appointments (from an investors own family farm in Iowa) show the care and love that Zust and team have brought to Sea Salt. But the piece de resistance is the illuminated trim made from blocks of Pink Himalayan Sea Salt. Super cool. Soft openings are not the time for full blown critiques, but judging from the smoked trout toasts, crab cakes, bouillabaisse and crab stuffed trout, they are off to a fine start. We would go back just for the Creme Brûlée, which was the creamiest we've had. And the flourless chocolate cake was sublime.
Like any restaurant "worth its salt," Sea Salt is committed to sourcing Tennessee ingredients whenever possible. With full transparency, a blackboard on the way to the restrooms lists their partners, including the new Franklin-based butcher Carnivore. With a simple fresh menu that doesn't make your head spin just to read it, and familiar, comfort French-inspired food, Sea Salt will become a place we frequent. Bonjour Sea Salt!