This sponsored article is brought to you by Salt Creek Grille – Rumson.
After almost 18 years in business, the Salt Creek Grille in Rumson can still be found bustling with regulars and newcomers. (The restaurant has four additional locations: three in California, and one Princeton.) Once you eat there, you’ll understand why and if you’re lucky, you’ll get a seat next to the wall of floor to ceiling windows overlooking the shores of the Navesink River. Not a bad view if you ask me.
Before delving into dinner, I urge you to have a drink outside by the fire pits or at the lively bar. After you’ve settled in, make your way to a candlelit table and dig into the food that executive chef Bob Belt has created along with regional operating partner Steve Bidgood.
The menu covers everything from Rumson’s Best Cheeseburger (which Bidgood said would “hold up to any burger”) to soy glazed Atlantic salmon, porterhouse stroganoff, roasted squash and ricotta ravioli, and delicious flatbreads. Everyone can find something on the menu, and I can almost guarantee they may lick the plate clean. (That also includes kids – this place has got it covered when it comes to appealing to appetites for all ages).
As for our date night out (it was a Wednesday, but I swear the energy in the building felt like it would on a Saturday – maybe because glasses of wine were half off), we decided to listen to the big guns and order some house favorites. Our extremely knowledgable waiter (who also happened to be a graduate of soufflé school – more on that later) suggested the Resin beer from the craft beer menu, and it turned out to be right on point. Gerard, our waiter, also suggested a blueberry mojito type drink for me – delicious.
To start, we did go a little off kilter and ordered the pork dumplings, which were on special. I have to admit I was torn between the dumplings, the Creek sliders (they’re served on King’s Sweet Hawaiian buns – a weakness of mine), and the stuffed jumbo shrimp (bacon-wrapped and horseradish stuffed), but we went Asian and I’m happy we did. Crispy on the outside, a tasty pork filling on the inside, with a simple soy ginger dipping sauce, it was, as Gerard said, “a dumpling done right.”
As for our main courses, I told you we went for the full gusto. My husband, who enjoys a good quality steak, ordered the coffee-encrusted New York steak, while I went for the grand seafood dish, the Chilean sea bass.
When the food arrived (after a glass of Rodney Strong Cabernet – for half price, I will add), we knew that only eating half of the sinfully delicious garlic, cheese bread for starters, happened to be a genius move on our parts.
Let’s start with my dish first. What may look unassuming to the eye, was delightful to the taste buds. The Chilean Sea Bass, which was pan seared (crispy on the edges, soft as butter on the inside – no need for a knife) was delicately garnished with a champagne lemon butter broth, then served with Salt Creek’s infamous Yukon gold mashed potatoes, and a side of green beans. The dish was so light and fresh that I forgot I had eaten half of the mashed potatoes and should have felt somewhat full by then. Oh and did I mention it’s also gluten free? (And just one of the many gluten-free dishes on the menu).
As for my husband’s dish, I’m not a huge steak fan, but this one made the cut (pun intended). When you order a steak at a restaurant, you expect it to be worth every penny of your hard-earned dollar. If you’re looking for that steak, order this dish. Grilled over an open flame of mesquite wood that Bidgood stores in large quantities just a town away, the dish has everything your taste buds are looking for – sweet, smoky, salty, crunchy, and just downright delicious.
The coffee crust was perfectly seared, creating the perfect bite – crusty giving way to tender. (Before taking that first bite, smear the blue cheese all over that steak.) Another insider’s tip: If you’re not a huge sweet fan, order the bourbon caramel sauce on the side – it’s a sweet and light dipping sauce that when combined with the juicy steak, tangy blue cheese and zippy coffee grinds turns a regular bite into a phenomenal bite. If you love sweets – just go for it and let Chef Belt do the sauce drizzling for you.
If you have any more room, be sure to order the chocolate ganache soufflé at the beginning of your meal. The dish is made to order and takes 25 minutes to get to the perfect state of puffed cake that just collides into molten fudge. As I mentioned before, our waiter also happened to be a soufflé school graduate, so he showed us the insider technique of how to properly eat this dessert. Here goes: take the spoon and poke it in the middle, swirl it around, then pour the chocolate sauce over top, a spoonful of whipped cream goes right into the center and voila – seriously one of the best desserts I’ve had.
Bottom line, the Salt Creek Grille may be an oldie, but it remains a goodie. The food, service, and ambience always impress me and this time was no different. It’s no wonder that it’s a local staple that will definitely continue to excel in their culinary endeavors.
If you’re heading to Salt Creek Grille, be sure to check out the Monday-through-Thursday drink specials featuring everything from half-price bottles of wine, to half-price martinis, and yes, half-price glasses of wine on Wednesdays. If you’re looking to impress your Valentine with your insider culinary knowledge, reserve your table for their “Love Is In the Air” prix-fixe menu and chef-inspired a la cart dinner menu featuring dishes like crab-encrusted grouper and Cajun shrimp pasta this Valentine’s Day.
Salt Creek Grille
4 Bingham Avenue