Dining review: This Upper Fells Point tavern is still worth its Salt

Occupying a corner of a particularly attractive block of townhouses near Patterson Park, the building bearing the sign “Salt” has the come-hither look you want from a neighborhood restaurant: classy, subtle, pristine. The enticement continues inside, where an intimate, understated space has welcomed folks for more than a decade with imaginative fare.

That fare underwent tweaks with the arrival last spring of executive chef Conrad Nieberding, who introduced more small plates and heightened international flavors. Asian fusion flourishes abound — kimchi, lychee, lemongrass, nuoc cham and gochujang are among the ingredients that pop out. Middle Eastern and Latin American influences are part of the mix, too. Clearly, no walls are being built at this self-described “New American tavern.”

A group of us got a diverse, mostly satisfying taste of Salt on a night when business was light, making it seem even more personal. It’s just as enjoyable when the scene is livelier, complete with patrons ensconced at the long, beautifully lit and appointed bar. The cocktails we tried from that bar, including a peach old-fashioned, proved satisfying, if not distinctive. There’s also a concise, nimbly chosen and very reasonably priced wine list.

From the smaller-portion offerings, the crispy-fried bok choy made a great impression at our table, revealing terrific texture and a delectable, slightly smoky taste. The cabbage rested on an assemblage of grapes, smoked walnuts and sumac yogurt, which made for a piquant melding. But it was the veg that really jumped out.

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