Saltbox doesn't disappoint
👋 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.
- So on our team's visit with Lucille and Zach last week, we hopped off the Amtrak in Durham and hustled over to the spot that made Ricky Moore a James Beard Award winner.
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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