This column is a continuing series by Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group which runs every Thursday.
Every once in awhile a new restaurant comes along that seems to be the one we really needed! Last summer Saltaire opened in what had been the Willet House Restaurant in Port Chester, N.Y.
The spacious eatery, with its gentle nautical theme and curved marble bar, is beautifully done. What makes Saltaire special is the quality of the raw ingredients. This is a seafood restaurant for people who are serious about the freshness and quality of the catch. The cooking is straightforward and precise.
Sampling a wide variety of both east and west coast oysters as well as Little Neck clams and in season Florida stone crabs, I was blown away by the freshness of all as each item seemed to have been just pulled from the sea. Mussels, presented in the pot they were steamed in, could not have been plumper or more perfectly cooked.
Saltaire is one of the few restaurants in Westchester where the art of whole fish roasting is practiced. I was served a wonderful black bass that was perfectly cooked and presented on the bone with a sorrel verde and olive tapenade. My wife loved her skate wing done with a poppy seed buerre blanc and brussel spouts.
After a few terrific visits to Saltaire, and many to Tarry Lodge, bartaco and several others, I can safely say Port Chester has become a very serious dining destination in Westchester.
Saltaire is at 55 Abendroth Ave., Port Chester, (914) 939-2425, www.saltaireoysterbar.com/ .