I've been to the new Salt restaurant in Peoria Heights twice now for dinner. I tried to meet someone there for lunch once as well, but Salt is currently closed on Mondays.
The first time I ate there we stopped in on a whim on a Saturday night to see how busy it was and found the small restaurant booked, but were offered a seat at the bar to dine, which was fine with us.
The restaurant has a contemporary feel and is accented with salt block lights and salt block candle holders.
To start we had their Focaccia bread served with sea salt butter. The salt was distinctive and I found I preferred only a very small amount of butter.
When we placed our order, the bartender suggested we could split a salad, which came topped with cranberries and local Ropp curds along with candied walnuts. It was very good.
For my meal I ordered the pork Porchetta ($26), a slow roasted pork shoulder served with a sweet potato puree.
After tasting my husband's meal, salt crusted beef ($28), a filet cooked under a salt dough cap served with a root vegetable confit, I was envious. The beef was extremely tender and the root vegetables were incredible. You are not meant to eat the salt dough, but on a next visit my friend dared me to try it so I bit off a tiny chunk. Now that's what I call SALT! Makes for a delicious steak, though.
The bartender who served us was very knowledgeable about the menu and wine and was very attentive until the restaurant got a bit busier. He became distracted and though we had asked about desserts he soon dropped off our bill so we paid and figured we'd check it out another time.
On my second visit with friends, there was a mix up about who was serving our table and we ended up sitting for 15 minutes with no water or drink orders, but after that things were fine.
One friend ordered the vegetarian noodles which features noodles made of butternut squash and sweet potato. Another had the Amish chicken served with chicken mozzarella sausage. I sampled the sausage and it was delicious.
I went with the featured fish, a red fish served with asparagus and artichoke hearts garnished with capers and accompanied by a risotto. Again, the vegetables were incredible. I mused that if a chef could make vegetables taste as good as the ones I've tried at Salt, they could certainly serve only vegetables and strike it rich.
This time I did get to try dessert, the salted bacon brownie. Not only was it garnished with a thick slice of bacon, there were bits of bacon baked into the brownie batter and the whole thing was drizzled with caramel. Decadent.
I am looking forward to trying breakfast and lunch at Salt. A friend of mine said she had a salmon burger there that felt like it weighed two pounds and it was served with chips garnished with the salt of her choice.