Salt/Soy is slated to open in February in the Broad Avenue Arts District.
The goal is to get the restaurant at 2583 Broad "up and going before Valentine's Day so we can do omakase, a Japanese tasting menu," says owner/sushi chef Nick Scott. "Usually, the omakase chef comes up with a tasting menu on the fly. This is something we'd set; three or four courses."
Salt/Soy was hosting pop-up omakases Thursdays through Fridays at Alchemy, which Scott also owns. The pop-up events were "mainly a preview for what's to come," he says. They were "a huge success. The lines couldn't get through the door."
- Camille Jones
- McKenzie Nelson, Nick Scott, Alex Moseley, and Brad McCarley
When Salt/Soy opens on Broad, the menu will include vegetarian and pork ramen bowls. The restaurant's general manager, Brad McCarley, who Scott worked with at the old City Block Salumeria, is "curing all the meat in-house. We're fermenting our own miso, our own kimchi. We'll let that inspire the direction we go in. He's got a 'fried chicken and dumpling' dumpling. It's incredible."
There are talks of doing a dim sum brunch on Sundays, but offering it between noon and 6 p.m. instead of earlier in the day.
But Salt/Soy isn't going to limit itself to serving one type of food, Scott says. "We're not pigeonholing ourselves to only doing Japanese. It will be Asian-inspired; pulling from all cultures and melding them together."
And, he says, "I'm also looking for some Pacific inspiration there. We might throw in some tiki stuff. We may do some riffs on classic tiki drinks. We've talked about that. The overall menu — the food menu, the sushi menu, and the cocktail menu — is going to be really fun, exciting, different."
Salt/Soy began as a pop-up in 2018 at Puck Food Hall. The idea was "sushi and seafood with ceviches and different types of crudos," Scott says. And "market-style fish and seafood by the pound.
"The next stage we started looking for brick and mortar. We looked at a lot of places. We knew Lucky Cat [Ramen] went out of business, unfortunately. And there was a lot of talk about it within the industry, a lot of people who wanted to get in there. I had some real estate contacts who lead me in the right direction, and it kind of fell in my lap.
"It was a no-brainer," he adds. "They had everything built out and ready to go. We changed a few things, but not a lot. That happened in October."
The concept for the new location is "less of a market concept and more of an izakaya sushi concept," Scott says. "A Japanese drinking establishment, with Japanese tapas, serving small plates. People come in and have drinks and cocktails."
Downstairs will be "a little more upper-scale dining," he says. "We'll have the patio, which will evolve over spring and summer — a massive patio. And then upstairs will be more of a late-night, rock-and-roll situation. Kind of a little more gritty than downstairs. We've talked about getting a Bluetooth record player up there and playing only vinyl."
Bar manager Alex Moseley came over from Alchemy. McKenzie Nelson, who was at Lucky Cat and High Noon, also will be behind the bar. Both bartenders are "very creative," Scott says.
The restaurant has been given an artful makeover. They repainted the interiors and brought in an artist, David Johnson, to survey the space to determine how he could bring his own creative vision into the mix.
Scott says Johnson outfitted some of the downstairs spaces with paintings that work with the restaurant's new color scheme. "His artwork is black and white with pops of color — and [the pieces] will be for sale."
The restaurant's name already adorns the front door. Scott can't wait for that door to open to the public. "It's going to be a fun place."