Aug 24, 2022 - Food and Drink

Saltbox doesn't disappoint

fried seafood tray
We ate a lot. Photo: Emma Way/Axios

👋 Hey, y'all. Southern bureau chief Michael Graff here, to talk about fish.

It's dangerous to meet the things you dream about, so I was a little nervous walking into Saltbox Seafood Joint.

  • Wait, you ask, you dream about seafood?
  • Well, yes I do.

Context: My father was a Chesapeake Bay waterman, and I grew up working on his boat. When your childhood is filled with fresh fish, and you wind up living four hours from the coast in a city like Charlotte, you grow weary with restaurants' attempts to church up seafood.

Dear Triangle readers, I must say, you are among the luckiest people in this "goodliest" state.

Why it matters: Award-winning restaurants can feel trite. How many old-fashioneds and appetizers with endless names can you share?

  • But Saltbox delivers a rare combination of all-star food in a simple setting. It reminded me of the countless meals I'd eaten fresh off the boat.

We ordered everything we could — rolls and plates, flounder and shrimp, and of course some of Moore's famous hush honeys, or honey hush puppies.

  • Frying fish can truly damn the taste of it but Moore's version is lightly breaded and generously seasoned in a way that lets the fish remain the main character.
  • My favorite was the bluefish roll, which the server told us was too "fishy" for him, but came out just right for me, a grown-up boy who suffered many a bite from the sharp teeth of a blue.

The bottom line: The joy of Saltbox is that we could sit as friends for an hour at a picnic table, and know that we were eating at the classiest joint in the state.

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